For many years I have been on the hunt for the perfect peanut butter cupcakes. I adore peanut butter and will eat it with almost anything and quite happily on its own straight from the jar with a spoon. Crunchy or smooth either will do and strangely I am very partial to banana and peanut butter sandwiches… mmm peanut butter and banana, now that could work in a cake!
But back to the subject at hand of peanut butter cupcakes, I’ve tried many recipes before and I have always found them to be too dense or too dry.
And after a day they are almost always far too hard to really enjoy. I don’t know why I never seemed to be able to crack this recipe.
A few times I have been on holiday or working in America and I had visited cake shops and had enjoyed a peanut butter cupcake. They were always amazingly delicious and the supermarket aisles are always jammed pack full of cool peanut butter stuff, especially in the baking aisle. I never allowed this to put me off trying again if anything it made me more determined to crack this recipe.
So recently I decided to take another crack at the fabled peanut butter cupcake. I went through all the recipes I had tried before and even a few American ones for comparison.
Most of the British recipes called for caster sugar but a couple of the American ones called for brown sugar. Brown sugar in cakes can give added moistness, (sorry to keep saying this word but I can’t think of another! Anyway as I was saying…) to the sponge to try and get as much of this in the cake I decided to use dark brown sugar for added punch. And brown sugar always adds another flavour dimension its self.
I also added milk to the recipe to keep the batter a little more liquid in the hopes this would help battle the dreaded dryness. I also used smooth peanut butter in this cake batter, it was a conscious choice, I have both in the cupboard but I thought the smooth might blend in a little better.
The cake turned out perfect; it was light, moist and just the right amount out peanut butter flavour. I was so happy I personally think I had cracked it.
Now there are 1000 and 1 ways to frost these babies! I originally wanted a vanilla buttercream with a strawberry jam swirl through it so I could get the whole peanut butter and jelly thing going on, but I had no strawberry jam at hand. Cream cheese frosting would be lovely; a plain peanut butter frosting would be very nice for ramping up the peanut butter flavour. But I went with another classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate.
These two flavours like all peanut butter lovers know go so well together, it’s like a food marriage made in heaven. I love the classic American PB&J though our jam in the UK is a little different than the American version Jelly so for me, it’s never quite the same.
I used a classic chocolate frosting with a peanut butter swirl through it. It was super sweet and super yummy. Now I could wax lyrical forever about the delights and wonder of peanut butter so I shall stop myself now and get on with the recipe and directions. I hope you give these a go, as they really are so scrummy! Just one word of warning before you go on, this is the worlds best-tasting cake batter and you will find it almost impossible not to scoff the lot before you get it in the oven.
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Yield 12 cupcakes
A lovely combination of peanut butter and chocolate. A light and fluffy peanut butter sponge topped with a chocolate and peanut butter frosting.
For the cupcakes
- 75 grams unsalted butter - at room temperature, (2/3 of a stick)
- 130 grams smooth peanut butter, (1/2 cup)
- 190 grams soft dark brown sugar, (a scant 1 cup)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 grams Plain flour (All Purpose), (1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 60 millilitres milk, (1/4 cup)
Ingredients For Frosting
- 115 grams unsalted butter - at room temperature, (1 stick)
- 60 millilitres milk, (1/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 415 grams Icing sugar (Confectioners sugar), (3 and 3/4 cup)
- 75 grams good quality cocoa powder, (2/3 cup)
- 100 grams smooth peanut butter, (2/3 cup)
Directions for the sponge
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4 and prep a 12 hole muffin tin with liners.
- In a medium size-mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer cream together the butter, peanut butter and the sugar until they are well mixed and light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time whisking in-between each addition. More air in the batter at this time will keep your sponge light and fluffy.
- Once the eggs are well mixed in add the vanilla extract and whisk again for another minute.
- In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
- Add a third of the flour to the mix and gently fold in. Then add a third of the milk and fold in. Carry on this way until all the flour mix and milk are all mixed in and well combined.
- Carefully put the mixture into your prepared cupcake tins, filling each one no more than two thirds full.
- Bake in the centre of your oven for 20 minutes, and if a skewer comes out clean they are done, if not pop them back in for a couple of minutes.
- Once they are cooked, take them out of the oven but keep them in their tins for 10 minutes.
- After those 10 minutes pop them on a cooling rack to fully cool down.
Directions for the frosting
- Beat the butter until it is light in colour, almost white.
- Add the milk and vanilla extract to the butter and mix in well.
- Sieve in the icing sugar and cocoa powder together and add half of it to the butter mixture.
- Once fully combined add the other half of the icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix vigorously.
- Generously fill one side of your piping bag with your chocolate buttercream and fill the other side with smooth peanut butter. You want to have a higher ratio of chocolate buttercream to peanut butter.
- And swirl on top.
Courses Cakes / Afternoon Tea
Serving Size 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24.5 g
Saturated Fat 11 g
Cholesterol 66 mg
Sodium 132 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Sugars 17.9 g
Protein 8.6 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.