Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I can’t imagine it will take much for me to convince you of how wonderful these cupcakes are.  First of all, there’s the obvious – that ever-winning combo of chocolate and peanut butter.  The cake is a wonderfully dense chocolate cake with a thick creamy batter that bakes up beautifully.  The filling is essentially a buckeye candy without the chocolate coating.  And the frosting – ooooh, the frosting.  It is to die for.  It will now be my standard peanut butter frosting.  The peanut butter flavor is intense, and the texture is silky smooth.  These were (not surprisingly) very, very popular with the coworkers.

I do wish the peanut butter balls inside the cupcakes had been a little less dense – next time I may try adding a bit more butter or a little less powdered sugar.  I also needed to make extra filling balls because the original quantity was not enough for me to fill all the cupcakes.  I’ve indicated my changes below.  I say it’s better to end up with a few extra than not have enough.  You could even make them into buckeyes – that is, if your husband doesn’t wander in to the kitchen and polish them off 😉

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
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For the filling:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

To make the filling, combine the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (at least 24) and set aside on a baking sheet.

To make the cake batter, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together and set aside.  In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix just until incorporated.

Spoon a tablespoon or two of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Place a ball of the peanut butter filling in each cupcake well and top with the remaining batter so that all the cups are filled.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source: adapted from Proceed with Caution, originally from Good Housekeeping

99 Responses

  1. Absolutely drool-worthy. I WILL be making these.

  2. yum yum yum! i love all your recipes, i need to try these and the mocha brownie cupcakes too.

  3. LOVE the innards of that cupcake!

  4. You know I am a huge chocolate and peanut butter fan, so I am going to have to make these very soon!

  5. I tell you what, if that wouldn’t get you a marriage proposal, new car, something, I don’t know what will. Your cupcakes look heavenly.

  6. Oh wow! These cupcakes look sinfully delicious! I love the peanut butter centers, a wonderful surprise waiting inside 🙂

  7. OMG. Now I have to wipe drool off the monitor. Why don’t they make these blogs scratch n’ sniff? Hmph.

  8. I just made my first cookie dough cupcakes a couple of days ago, and can’t seem to get enough of it. Now I really need to give peanut butter balls a go!

  9. Oh my word, these are getting made sometime this weekend for sure! Yum!

  10. Oh man I need one of these right now! The classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate rule once again 🙂

  11. That whipped frosting sounds sooo good!

  12. I want to make this ASAP! I bet this would taste even better with the moist Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe. YUM! Thanks!

  13. Hi Annie,
    Thanks for these amazing peanut/choc recipes – its VERY hard to get hold of Reece’s in the UK and we don’t have PB filled M&Ms so this is fantastic. I have become totally addicted to your site – reading about food is the next best thing to eating it! I have a question – do you have a stollen recipe or would you consider roadtesting one as you seem to have experience with yeast-cakes? I’d really like to make one this year – any help would be very much appreciated. 🙂


    • Hello Hattie,
      I am not familiar with yeast cakes at all. Can you give me a little more info? I could at least research them to see if I can find a good recipe, but I am not quite sure what they are.

  14. Oh. My. Goodness. Those look amaaaaazing! I am positively yearning for them!

  15. Chocolate & peanut butter = match made in Sugar Heaven!

  16. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I can cancel dinner plans tonight so I can stay home and make these instead!! They look SO good!!!

  17. What an eye-catching photo–and tantalizing flavor combination! These look great.

  18. YUM! That peanut butter filling in the middle is haunting my thoughts! I am going to make these this weekend!

  19. Oh, I love this. I have a question regarding the frosting. Does it need to be kept refrigerated or is it stable at room temp?

    • Veronica,
      Good question. I think they are probably okay at room temp for a few hours, but for extended periods of time I would err on the side of refrigeration because of the whipped topping in the frosting. Hope that helps!
      🙂 Annie

  20. My favorite combo! yummy!

  21. mouth watering!

  22. Ooh these look wonderful… I’ll try your recipe the next time I make cupcakes…

  23. One of my favorite flavor combos!! And hey, they’re semi-healthy due to the PB 🙂

  24. Love this combo. Will have to try it with this cake recipe! Loved my first PB frosting when I made it for the Reeses cake.

  25. Wow these look amazing. I love the big ball of peanutbutter middle. Stunning

  26. Would natural peanut butter be okay in this recipe?

    • Hi Holli,
      To be honest, I really don’t know. I have never used natural peanut butter in baking but have heard that it doesn’t quite act the same. I probably wouldn’t recommend it, but I can’t say for sure.
      🙂 Annie

  27. These look great and I can’t wait to make them. What do you use to frost your cupcakes? They are always so pretty!

  28. I finally got to making these cupcakes and they were a huge hit! I didn’t have all of the ingredients for the frosting so I topped them with a Chocolate peanut butter ganache and they were beautiful and delicious. The peanut butter middle was a great surprise to everyone that tried one! I will definatley make these again abd try out the frosting!

  29. These look so delicious! I’m in charge of a cupcake walk this weekend and excitedly told my husband about these. He looked at me like I was crazy and told me they sounded iffy. Then, I showed him the pictures and he asked me if I needed him to pick up anything at the store, so I could start them right away. Thanks for the gorgeous pictures they make my life so much easier!

  30. […]  Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes adapted from Annie’s Eats […]

  31. I only have the reduced fat peanut butter in the house. Do you have any experience using it in this recipe? Thanks!

    • Hi Michele,
      Yes, reduced fat PB is what I used. It really doesn’t have that much less fat than regular so I use it interchangably in baking and have never had a problem.
      🙂 Annie

  32. Annie, the recipe is WONDERFUL. I made a batch of the cupcakes today and they were so so good. My husband had a huge smile on his face after he took a bit. Thank you thank you! Great stuff.

  33. I made these on Friday because I needed a birthday cake for myself. THEY ARE AWESOME! The only thing is that the peanut butter filling kinda melted into the cake, I ended up with a hole in the middle of the cupcakes. I’m thinking that happened because they were a little soft when I put them in the cupcake batter before I baked them. Think that refrigerating them before adding them to the cupcakes would help that out?

    • Hi Christy,
      I do think refrigerating might help with that, and maybe also adding a bit more powdered sugar. Mine were not at all sticky or soft before baking, so I think those changes would help correct the problem.

  34. Annie,

    I made these cupcakes and they were delicious. The only I seem to be having is that my icing comes out really runny. I have to use a spoon to scoop it on. I made the strawberry cupcakes today too and had the same problem. Any idea what I could be doing wrong?

    • Hi Wendy,
      Hmm, I really don’t know why you would have that problem with these cupcakes. Maybe your butter and/or cream cheese were too soft? Not enough powdered sugar? It’s a more common problem with the strawberry cupcakes, as people often add too much puree to the frosting. Sorry you had such trouble, it seems most others who have made them have had no problems so I don’t know what it could be!
      🙂 Annie

  35. Hi Wendy,

    I actually had the same problem of runny icing, because I used cartoned whipping cream instead of frozen whipped, which I didn’t have on hand (I whipped the whipping cream before adding it).

    What you can do is put the whole lot of icing back into the refrigerator for an hour or two, and it hardens up to a nice consistency for piping. I noticed this was what happened with my leftover icing. But you’ll need to serve the cupcakes soon after, while the icing is cold. Very difficult in Singapore weather, but should be less of a hassle in the US in winter =)

  36. Hello,
    I made these cupcakes but my peanut butter ball became hollow. Its almost like it melted.
    What did I do wrong??!!
    I love your website by the way.


    • April,
      It sounds like maybe your butter/peanut butter mixture was too soft. You could try adding a bit more powdered sugar, or chilling the balls before adding to the cups and baking. Good luck!

  37. Is frozen whipped topping cool whip?

  38. I made these this week and they were wonderful! Thank you so much for the recipe!!!

  39. Question: Were these pictures taken with the more dense filling? Happy Thanksgiving! I am making these today for a dessert option incase there is any one who doesn’t like pie. 🙂

  40. I made this 4 thanksgiving and OMG were they good!!!…I’ll never eat a reeses’s again!..Everybody devoured them and my cousin even said it was “the bomb”….lol i’m thinking of making this into a cake!..definetly will make this again!…And again!

  41. I made these for a dinner party my parents had and instead of making the frosting, I just popped the cupcakes in the microwave for 30 seconds then put some vanilla ice cream on top. It was heaven! I def. plan on making these again!

  42. I made these for a work party on Monday (only I forgot to buy Cool Whip so I just made PB Cream Cheese frosting) and had no fewer than three people tell me they were the BEST cupcakes they’d ever had. WOW!! They really are heavenly!


  43. I’m going to make these for my going to be 3 yr olds bday party. I’m excited I hope they turn out well. I’m making a trial run batch first and shipping that off with my hubby for the guys he works with to see what they think. Thanks for the find!

  44. I want to make these for a birthday party but I was wondering how many this recipe makes. There’s not going to be that many people so I only need about 12. Thank You!

  45. I made these up & had the same problem as others (because I forgot to read the comments & add more powdered sugar to my center balls – they were sticky) – they collapsed a bit & it didn’t look like yours in the picture (a nice ball in the center). also i put too much batter in the bottom of the cupcakes so i ran out of batter for the top on the last few. Basically I can’t really judge the cupcakes (they were ok with all the mistakes i made). The frosting though – WOW. I had some leftover & I ate it with graham crackers (normally I just rinse it down the drain). I think I’d make up the frosting by itself if i was short on time & wanted something sweet. YUM!

  46. Hi Annie! I must say that these were DELISH! However, I had the same problem that some of the other cup-cakers did…the peanut butter mixture melted into the cupcake and the tops caved in. But, I made a couple of other modifications that may have lended to the problem. I used mini-cupcake tins instead of normal size, over filled the cups, and used spelt four instead of normal flour. I’m definitely going to try these again with normal sized cups and a little less butter or more pwd sugar in the peanut butter balls. This recipe is officially a household favorite! The nice thing about having a partial success in the kitchen is that I got to eat more of them than I should have 🙂 hehe! Thanks, Annie!

  47. Hi Annie,
    First of all, I am really impressed and inspired by your beautiful blog!

    These cupcakes look absolutely delicious, I must try them some day. However, here in Sweden we don’t have frozen whipped topping. Do you have any suggestions what I could use instead? Would normal whipped cream do?

    Thank you for sharing all your inspiring pictures and recipes!

    • Hi Lena,
      That’s a really good question. Unfortunately I don’t think whipped cream would behave quite the same, but I’m not sure what would be the best substitute. Google can probably help you more than I can in this case. Sorry!
      🙂 Annie

  48. Hi Annie!
    These were a HUGE hit! Absolutely loved how the frosting tasted a bit like Peanut Butter Fudge 🙂 Your pictures are incredibly edible. I keep passing this recipe on!



  49. This was a fabulous recipe! The icing and filling turned out brilliant, and the cake batter was delicious too. The only thing I had a problem with was that you almost have to double the batter to get 24 cupcakes.

  50. I will most definitely be making these…!!!!
    They look so tasty! 🙂
    I have a similar recipe in a Martha Stewart recipe, but I think I will try this one first though! Love the pictures. 🙂

  51. Awesome!

    I made these cupcakes for my husband to take to work, since his team was going to be having a stressful week.

    “Best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten” was heard quite a bit.

    I will be making these again, especially since they are now my husband’s all-time favorite cupcake.

  52. I made these cupcakes for a dinner party this weekend. Since there were only 8 guests I gave away some cupcakes to my neighbors. I am now the “cakeboss” of our neighborhood. Thanks!! These really were amazing! Easy enough for a novice baker like me…yet so impressive! I would like to post the recipe on my new website. Would that be okay? Thanks for a great recipe!

  53. Just made these and WOW. Thanks for the great recipes.

  54. These look fabulous! Can’t wait to give them a try!!!

  55. These looks delicious! I bake a lot for my boyfriend, who is still in college, and his friends. They all love my treats! I will be testing these out this week!

  56. Hi Annie! I posted a little while ago about partial success in the kitchen and that I was going to try the recipe again…so I did! I still LOVE this chocolate cake recipe….it’s finger-lickin’ good! However, the peanut butter filling failed me again. I used a natural peanut butter “Adams” I believe…could this be my problem? I nearly doubled the amount of powdered sugar and even added a little flour to the peanut butter balls, but they still melted out the bottom of the cupcake and left a hole in the middle. Does peanut-butter-ball-success mean using a brand like Jiff or Skippy?

    • Hi Sophie,
      That peanut butter may be the problem. I always use Jif in baking and have never had problems, but I have heard of others having trouble with the natural variety. I just made these cupcakes again a week ago and the centers were perfect, no melting or anything.

  57. Annie-
    I made these for a coworker’s bday today and there were a SUPER BIG HIT! I often have missteps in the kitchen, but I followed your recipe to a “t” and had no issues – my icing was delectable (best I’ve ever had??) and the PB in the middle stayed solid (and stayed in the middle).

    Thanks for the great recipe!!

  58. Thanks, Annie! I made some more last night with Jif and it worked great! I also completely disregarded the butter just in case. I think I’ll try it again next time with the butter. LOVE THIS RECIPE! Thanks for the reply!

  59. My daughter just said that I will have to make these for her birthday every year. She said it was the best thing I ever made…I gave you all the credit Annie! Fabulous cupcakes.

  60. Oh, my God! I Just made them, the frosting is amazing, so delicious that I almost ate it, before decorating the cupcakes 🙂

    You can see my result here:

  61. I made these last night and they are fantastic but I do have a quick question, how do you keep the cupcakes from getting a little crunchy on top. It isn’t anything drastic but is general I have a hard time keeping the tops soft. Thanks so much for this website!! I plan on makong the triple chocolate cupcakes next!

    • Ashley, I’m not really sure what to suggest. I’ve made these several times and the tops have never been “crunchy”. My guess is that you are overbaking them, but I’m not sure.

  62. Thanks! I will try and pull them out a little earlier!

  63. Hi Annie,
    I’m a HUGE fan of your website!
    Just wanted to ask you what icing tip you used on these cupcakes…
    Thanks a lot!
    -Kanika S.

  64. I made these cupcakes on sunday for Mothers Day and my mom and I LOVED them! All of the recipes you post are amazing a easy!
    HUGE HUGE fan.. THANKS!!!

  65. I’m trying out cupcakes to make for my daughter’s 1st birthday and this is the second one I’ve tried (the first were your strawberry cupcakes – yum!). Everything turned out just right except I think I may make the centers a bit smaller next time or maybe use some peanut butter and chocolate chips in the cake batter as the center was very sweet (candy lovers will like this part). Frosting was lovely and gooey.

    Going to try the strawberry lemonade ones next. Thanks for all your inspirational and delicious recipes!

  66. Wow! These are amazing! I didn’t do the middles but added chocolate curls on top 🙂 Thank you so much for a “keeper” recipe!

  67. These are fantastic! A huge hit! The icing was amazing – I loved the consistency.

  68. Just made these this morning for a new neighbour. SOOOOO delish! I kept half for myself! 🙂

  69. These cupcakes are reallly goood. but my peanut butter did not stay in the middle it like evaporated. what should i do?

  70. Hey Annie! First of all, I love you’re site… it is wonderful. I made the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes a few weeks ago and they were a huge hit! Thank you so much!

    I had a question about this recipe as far as the icing goes. Looking at the fact that I’d be using whipping cream, will it make the icing runny for serving the following day? I planned on making it Friday and serving it Saturday night. Is that not a good idea. Should I wait to ice it till right before or something? And since there is cream cheese and whipping cream should I keep it in the fridge till I’m ready to serve them? Thank you!

    • I have no advice as I would not recommend using the whipping cream. Other readers who have done this had a very runny icing and had problems with it. But yes, you should always refrigerate any frosting with milk, cream, cream cheese, etc.

  71. These look amazing! My dad’s birthday is coming up and he requested a peanut butter cake.. I think I’m going to make these for him instead. They look just perfect! For Halloween you could dye the icing too…yum.

  72. Made these this wknd. They turned out great. My PB mixture was sticky — added a bit more powdered sugar — still sticky. Stopped there since you mentioned yours were a bit dense. Then I put the cookie sheet of PB balls in the fridge while I made the cupcakes. Pulled them out & they were sticky again by the time I got to the second muffin pan. BUT they turned out wonderfully in the middle! I also chopped up cold Reeses PB cups and sprinkled them on the tops! All the measurements were perfect for 24 cupcakes with the same tipped icing! Lots of PB lovers at my table enjoyed this! Thx!

  73. An update — turns out — most did have a hole in the middle. Round one was tasting, round two was observing 🙂 Nevertheless, they were delish! Could definitely taste the pb in the middle. Very moist overall. Will firm up extra next time or maybe not since I won’t be serving these in halves! 🙂

  74. I made these today to share with co-workers tomorrow. My family loved them (you are right, the frosting is to die for) and I can’t wait to see what everyone at work thinks!

  75. I brought this into work and they were amazing! Normally I bake up a bunch of cookies to give to distant relatives when I see them at the holidays, but I’m thinking about doing cupcakes this year….and these will definitely be one of the recipes I use!

  76. Ohhhh mmmmyy gawsh. These look phenomenal!! Making these once the diet is over =P

  77. I made these but added a hard chocolate shell to top it off, the only problem I had with this was the frosting was so heavy I couldn’t get a hi-hat effect. So was a little disappointed – BUT was told these were the BEST ones so far so will be making these again!

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