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March 31, 2010

I am a perfectionist.

It no doubt frustrates my friends, family, and co-workers to no end, particularly where food is concerned.  Amidst their reviews that something is fantastic, I dissect it.  Maybe this frosting would’ve been a better compliment.  Maybe I didn’t bake that long enough.  Maybe I mixed things too much.

Not these, though.

Mr. S thought he was hearing things when I tried my first one and proclaimed they were quite possibly the best thing ever.  He nearly fell off the couch when I said I’d take one of these any day over a Reese’s peanut butter cup.

It’s true.  These cupcakes are that serious.  This and a glass of ice-cold milk? Pure perfection.  The cake is good, but the peanut butter ball on the inside steps it up a few notches.  But then when you add in this amazing frosting?!  It takes it from just another cupcake to pure, blissful, chocolate-peanut buttery perfection.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Whipped Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Proceed with Caution
Yield: 24 cupcakes (I think I typically ran about this or a few less, depending how much you fill them.)

For the filling and cupcakes:

  • 2/3 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 10 T. (1 1/4 sticks) butter or margarine, softened (unsalted!)
  • 1 1/4 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 T butter, softened (again, please be sure to use unsalted!!)
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 3 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. cool whip

To prepare filling: In bowl, with mixer on medium speed, mix confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Shape mixture into 24 balls using heaping measuring teaspoons. (Balls will be sticky and don’t need to be perfectly shaped.) Place balls on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 standard muffin-pan cups with fluted paper liners.

On waxed paper, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In 2-cup liquid measuring cup, mix sour cream, milk, and remaining vanilla; set aside. In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat granulated sugar and remaining 8 tablespoons butter just until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 1 to 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until ingredients are combined, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

Spoon 1 heaping measuring tablespoon batter into each muffin-pan cup. (You want it to be about 1/3-1/2 full; I should also interject at this point I’ve had issues with fillings sinking to the bottom of my batter while baking, so I did dust all my peanut butter balls with flour.  Not sure if that actually helped or not… but I did it.)  Drop 1 peanut butter ball in center of each cup and top with another heaping tablespoon batter (so the cupcake liners are about 3/4 full or a little more). Bake cupcakes 25 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 23 minutes and they were over-done, so watch them carefully!) Immediately remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

When cupcakes are cool, prepare frosting: In large bowl, with mixer on medium-low speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter until smooth and blended. Add powdered sugar slowly, incorporating fully after each addition. Add cool whip and beat until smooth and creamy. Frosts cupcakes (and then some!!  But who doesn’t love leftover frosting?!?)

I would also like to add that on a whim, I bought some of Hershey’s Special Dark baking cocoa and did a 50-50 mixture of that and regular baking cocoa.  Now I do that, it seems, with just about everything because I loved the end result. LOL

Also a few notes: I’m usually all about using what I have on hand or trying to lighten things where I can, but in this case, I bought full fat everything – milk, butter, sour cream, Cool Whip, cream cheese.  In baking, that kind of stuff matters.  Also, before you start, let everything come to room temperature (or close.)

To make the decals you see in these pictures, I merely melted some Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips, and then drew random swirls on parchment paper.  I put the paper into the refrigerator and peeled the designs off after they’d hardened.  Not really rocket science, but it was my way of copping out of making the pretty chocolate curls TPOX added to hers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stacie permalink
    April 10, 2010 10:11 pm

    These really were the best things ever!


  1. “If at first you don’t succeed, « Paula's Preparations

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