Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I have a secret that I’m about to blab. It’s about me. And it’s a doozie. It’s going to rock your world…

I don’t really like cake…


Can you believe it? It’s the truth. Hard to fathom, with all those cakes that I decorate. Now, don’t get me wrong. I will eat cake. But it pretty much ranks at the very, very bottom of the dessert hierarchy for me. Given options, I would choose pretty much anything over cake. Now, if you’re talking cheesecakes, flourless chocolate cakes, coffee cakes, crumb cakes, and things of that nature, well then that’s a whole different ballgame. But regular cake? Like birthday cake-cake? Meh. It’s just never really been my cup of tea. But what I do love is frosting. And phenomenal frosting can absolutely make my day. Peanut butter or cream cheese frosting? It may as well just be Christmas. As a result, I love cupcakes because I can pile them sky-high with dreamy frosting and enjoy each and every bite. These dark chocolate cupcakes are a dream come true for anyone who is a cake or frosting lover – they are truly the best of both worlds.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

These cupcakes are insanely rich and moist, and are made using the same type of method used for making brownies – melted chocolate is added to a whisked mixture of eggs and sugar, and then flour is stirred in. The resulting batter almost resembled a mousse; both thick and light. It creates incredibly moist cupcakes that also have a light and fluffy texture.

And the frosting. Oh the frosting. Bestill my heart. I have been using this recipe for a couple of years now (how has it never made it on here before?!), mostly as a filling for chocolate cakes. But on top of cupcakes? Where I purposefully try to create a 2:1 frosting to cupcake ratio? A-MAZING. I cannot make this without usually ending up with a stomach ache from nibbling out of the bowl one too many times. It’s irresistible. Sometimes I’m tempted to make it to just have. Smeared on toast? Used as a dipping vessel for bananas or apples? So many possibilities. The “secret ingredient” in this frosting, just as in the Easy Vanilla Bean Buttercream, is the heavy cream. It creates a smooth and fluffy frosting that is easy to slather or pipe on.

Note: To make the swirls of icing, I use a 1M icing tip. I just love the look that it gives the cupcakes; it reminds of a soft serve ice cream cone. Which is another one of my favorite things :)

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

One year ago: Sweet and Sour Chicken
Two years ago: Fresh Strawberry Tart

More chocolate & peanut butter deliciousness:

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Crisp Squares
Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars
Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake
No-Bake Cookies

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active), 45 minutes (inactive)

Cook Time: 18-20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


For the Cupcakes:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup (1.5 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup (4 ounces) sour cream

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup heavy cream


1. To make the Cupcakes: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. (If you are using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.) Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.

5. Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

7. To make the Peanut Butter Frosting: Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

(Dark Chocolate Cupcakes recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Peanut Butter Frosting recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten)


502 Responses to “Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting”

Comment Pages 1 2 3 7
  1. Julia on June 10, 2010 at 1:29 am

    i made these cupcakes ONCE in college (probably about four years ago) and I still remember them like it was yesterday! the dark chocolate cupcake was moist and rich but not too sweet – actually alone it was quite bitter – but it was beautifully balanced out by the sweet, rich, creamy peanut butter frosting. SO delicious!


  2. Tracey on June 10, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I absolutely adore that peanut butter frosting recipe! It’s a favorite in our house and definitely one that has me standing over the bowl with a spoon :)


  3. bakingaddict on June 10, 2010 at 3:18 am

    I love PB and chocolate!! These look amazing, I must try these soon. That frosting is to die for. Thanks for shaeing :)


  4. Erin on June 10, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I feel exactly the same way. I only eat cake for the frosting. I’ve made this peanut butter frosting many times, and it’s fabulous!


  5. Maria D. on June 10, 2010 at 8:25 am

    These look fantastic! I love chocolate and peanut butter together and will have to try out this recipe.


  6. Wendi on June 10, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Those cupcakes look lovely. I may have to make them asap.


  7. Melissa on June 10, 2010 at 8:40 am

    We must be frosting soul mates–I am the one who eats all the frosting excess that my family leaves behind. Cake? Meh. Frosting? Oh YEAH!!! I made that PB frosting to go on the PB Fudge cheesecake. It is lethal. Have a great day! :)


    • abby on July 5th, 2013 at 6:43 pm



  8. Alissa on June 10, 2010 at 8:46 am

    You know, I don’t like cake either. I can walk past a sheet of cake like it was a tray full of brussel sprouts. Hahaha. I do enjoy dark chocolate cupcakes. I have a recipe that I always make that my husband loves. I might try my recipe with your frosting. 😉


  9. Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. on June 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

    3 of my favorite things, chocolate, peanut butter & cupcakes! Can’t go wrong with that combination! These look amazing!


  10. Katrina on June 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I think you and I could throw birthday parties for one another. Like you, I’m not a cake fan either, but I DO loooove icing. This cupcakes look so awesome!


  11. stacy on June 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    *gasp* I have been visiting the site for quite some time and have really enjoyed some of your recipes but… we have just made a connection! lol Cake is at the bottom of my dessert list as well though I will eat it. And, if I have to choose a cake – it is ALWAYS devil’s food with PB icing. But I’ve never made it homemade. I cannot wait to try this! YUM!


  12. Heidi on June 10, 2010 at 11:02 am

    For mother’s day my 12 yo daughter offered to bake me anything in this world. I picked chocolate brownies with peanut butter icing. Yum! Can’t wait to make these for daughter’s day:)


  13. The Housewife on June 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I understand you not liking plain cake! Most of the times, it’s too dry or overly sweet or just badly made! I love frosting too…cream cheese frosting will make me do bad bad things! :) I love your recipe because I heart dark chocolate and my husband loves all things peanut butter… this is perfect for us!


  14. Erin @ CelticHeart Designs on June 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I wish you could come down and make those for us after Sam’s born MMMMMMMMMM. Dark chocolate and PB are two of my favorite things! 😀


  15. Maria on June 10, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I usually don’t like frosting, but I am sure I could eat the whole bowl of this PB frosting! Mmm!


    • abby on July 5th, 2013 at 6:44 pm



  16. Heather (Heather's Dish) on June 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    oh girl, i just gained 20 lbs reading this post…oh, wait, make that 30 because i would totally eat the whole batch :)


  17. JulieD on June 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    These look really good, Michelle! My husband doesn’t like cake but he likes cupcakes too. :)


  18. Debbie on June 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    This is the creamiest peanut butter frosting I have ever seen. I’ll have to try the heavy whipping cream next time!


  19. Melanie:::Adorkable on June 10, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I am TOTALLY with you on the love for frosting! And this recipe is a MUST!


  20. stephchows on June 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    OOO beautiful! And I would think very tasty :) It’s ok you aren’t a cake lover hehe :) means more for me!


  21. Cannellette on June 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Unbelievable that you don’t like cakes! This sounds (and looks) like a lovely recipe – will try it soon!


  22. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on June 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    It’s funny… I was just leaving a comment elsewhere about how I’m not really a cake person. I make plenty of them, but they aren’t my favorite. This looks like a recipe I’d like, though… and I’m sure the rest of my family would LOVE it!


  23. jelli on June 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I made Ina´s chocolate cupcakes with this pb frosting last week. Fantastic! I dont really like cake much either, but chocolate I love and with this pb frosting it was heavenly!


  24. Mary @ Bites and Bliss on June 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Well in a way it’s a good thing you don’t like cake! Otherwise you’d be eating all the ones you had to decorate 😛 These look absolutely amazing, though! Peanut butter and chocolate are a dangerous combo- incredibly addicting!


  25. Cheah on June 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    This is sinful but so tempting! Wish I can sink my teeth into it right now!


  26. linda on June 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    michelle, you inspire me to be a better baker…i love this recipe…thanks & happy baking!
    ps: your website is perfect!!! :)


  27. Fox on June 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I made these today
    OMG they were so good
    I didn’t do the frosting but Im eating them on their own and they are so so so good


    • Michelle on June 18th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      Fox! No frosting?! So glad you’re enjoying them plain (aren’t they delicious and moist?). You must try the frosting next time though!


  28. Magic of Spice on June 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    How amazingly wonderful these look! Funny about your cake thing:)


  29. Julie M. on June 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Those are sinfully delicious looking!


  30. chef Dennis on June 11, 2010 at 6:45 am

    I am in awe of that cupcake!!!! Its funny my post on salmon said the same thing I dont like it…lol….I am going to have to improve my icing skills, that icing looks so impressive sitting on top of that beautiful cupcake!! I guess its time to get the pastry bag out and practice, and of course since you love that frosting I will try to duplicate it!!
    thanks so much for the inspiratation!


  31. Belinda @zomppa on June 11, 2010 at 8:01 am

    You’re so funny. Well…THESE look AMAZING. I can just imagine that frosting….


  32. Holly on June 11, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I shall have to try this, my husband is a pb/chocolate fanatic! Question though, on the icing recipe, wouldn’t it have to be refrigerated with the heavy cream in it? Was looking for a recipe I could put on cupcakes that would be able to sit out all day for co-workers to grab but kinda concerned about the cream on them spoiling. Just wondering!


  33. The Chocolate Priestess on June 11, 2010 at 10:06 am

    It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t like cake. I find that cakes have less chocolate flavor compared to cookies or brownies for example. I always have brownies on my birthday because of that fact. But cakes can serve a lot of people and provide a big space to decorate though a double batch of brownies offers the same surface!


  34. Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes on June 11, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I’ve never made PB frosting but now I’m dying to. And your swirls are so perfect – you should do some kind of a tutorial post, because I am awful! Have a great weekend! xxSAS


  35. Tracy on June 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I am totally with you – I’d pick frosting over cake any day. 😉


  36. Jenny Flake on June 11, 2010 at 11:24 am

    The perfect combination EVER!! Love it!


  37. Michelle on June 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Love peanut butter frosting with chocolate!


  38. Sarah on June 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I actually like cupcakes, but not cake. The only explanation I can offer is the serious amounts of frosting on cupcakes! These look great!


  39. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks on June 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I love everything about these cupcakes. Chocolate and PB is my weak point. I want one of these no


  40. Lauren on June 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Hi! Love these– gorgeous, and I bet they taste great, too!

    I am learning to love dark chocolate, and one of the best ways to make that transition has been to bake with dark chocolate, where the flavor is amazing but not overwhelming… also, peanut butter makes everything perfect…

    — Lauren, Lauren’s Little Kitchen


  41. Jen @ How To: Simplify on June 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Peanut butter frosting?! You have got to be kidding me! These sound and look absolutely delicious!


  42. Jean on June 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Funny, I made a recent confession that I’m not a huge fan of cookies (but I love cakes) and here I’ve been obsessed about making them.

    Your cupcakes look gorgeous, delicious!


  43. Cookin' Canuck on June 11, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I’m right beside you with your love of frosting. If I have the choice, I will snag an outside piece of birthday cake to get a little extra frosting (though I try not to elbow any kids out of the way to do so). This peanut butter frosting looks good enough to stick a spoon into and eat it by itself.


  44. sippitysup on June 12, 2010 at 9:47 am

    This is beautiful. Very deserving of the Top 9. Congratulations. GREG


  45. Chef Dennis on June 12, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Congrats on making the top 9 with those gorgeous cupcakes!!


  46. shannon abdollmohammadi on June 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I am totally a frosting girl. I will get a dozen frosting shots at my favorite cupcake shop and go to my car and eat six of them. I love frosting.


  47. TidyMom on June 13, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I’ve been planning to make this combo……but I’ve been looking for a great PB frosting….can’t wait to try this!! Thanks! ♥


  48. LB on June 13, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I think I just found what “Ill be making for Father’s Day… thank you :)


  49. ChefAimee on June 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Chocolate and peanut butter are the greatest flavor combination ever! I love cake but am picky about what kind of cake, so its not unconditional love! It has to be moist and it also has to not be to sweet or it won’t pair well with sugary frosting! These cupcakes are just divine…


  50. Alyce on June 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    I made these for company this weekend. I did not tell them it was peanut butter frosting and the first bite was a look of suprise, and then OMG these are great!


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