Peanut Butter Cup-Cakes

My all time favorite flavor combination is chocolate and peanut butter – I just can’t get enough of it! So when Tia asked me what I wanted to make for my birthday post we inevitably ended up with a combination of those two flavors! Tia had recently come across this recipe for dark chocolate caramel cupcakes and thought the cake sounded too good not to try.

The cake is great and, believe it or not, it’s vegan! We are not vegan, so we will not be combining this cake with other vegan ingredients (but you are welcome to if you so please). The best way to describe this cake is very light and airy, yet it had a rich, moist chocolate flavor. These cupcakes are also a high growing cupcake, which is something to keep in mind when filling your cupcake pans.

Our second task was to figure out how to get that peanut-buttery goodness into the mix. We thought about a peanut butter buttercream, but I thought I would prefer something a little bit closer to real peanut butter in both flavor and texture. We thought that maybe we could just use natural peanut butter and fill the cupcakes with it, but decided that it could weigh down the cake. We did however like the idea of using a peanut butter filling and making it a cake equivalent of a peanut butter cup (my favorite candy, of course!)

Creative Clue

That’s when Tia had an idea: she suggested we fill the cupcake pan just enough so that after baking, there would still be about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch of space before the top of the liner. At this point we could plunge the cupcakes and fill it with a peanut butter filling. Here comes the best part: we could then melt down some good quality chocolate and pour it into the liner and cover the top! It would look exactly like a large peanut butter cup!

What we decided to try for the filling is a peanut butter mousse recipe, because we thought the texture would be closer to what we were looking for. However we prefer salty natural peanut butter, so we tweaked the recipe by using natural peanut butter and doubling the salt content.  The texture ended up heavier than a mousse but so tasty that we have dubbed it a “Peanut Butter Cream Filling.”

We prefer a good dark chocolate with our peanut butter, but we also tried these using milk and white chocolate on the tops – with milk chocolate coming in at a close second to the dark chocolate in our taste test. The excitement around the results of this peanut butter cupcake experiment had people at work clamoring that we should  “start selling them!”  Needless to say we are quite proud of this winning combination!

Dark White and Milk Chocolate Miniatures

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yields: 18
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup special dark cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and beat until foamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add to wet ingredients and beat until no lumps remain (or very few remain). Pour into liners, filling each with ¼ cup of batter.
  5. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
The original recipe calls for canola oil but we didn't have any so we used vegetable oil. Also any good quality cocoa powder will work, but be careful not to use a drinking cocoa because of the sugar content.