Perfect Peanut Butter Cupcakes w/ Dark Chocolate

First things first!

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Two years ago, I started developing a recipe for peanut butter cupcakes. Not using an essence or anything like that, but just as a sort of challenge. The inspiration was some Reeses Pieces cookies that I saw – it made me wonder whether I could replicate that flavour in a cupcake.

I got the recipe to a point where I was fairly happy with it. The cupcakes tasted peanut-buttery and held up well to whatever filling or frosting that you wanted to use on them. And yet…

They still weren’t perfect. They developed an incredibly hard crust which could only be softened with copious amounts of sugar syrup, and while moist on the day that they were made, would become hard and stale very quickly. While I still blogged the recipe, to me they were still a work in progress.

So I told myself that I would continue to work on the recipe, tweaking it to the point where it would be where I wanted it to be.

You see, in my opinion a cupcake should be light, fluffy and resemble a sponge in terms of texture. They should be sweet little bites of fluffy goodness, so anything less than that just doesn’t meet my expectations.

And then a week rolled by. A month. Half a year. A whole year. And another.

Then last month, I received an email from the RSPCA reminding me that RSPCA Cupcake Day was just around the corner! So what better reason to whip out the apron* and get down to business reworking the damn recipe till it was finally up to scratch?

So I looked at my other cupcake recipes, did a little research and tried making a few changes then tested it.

Then I took notes, made a few more tweaks and tested the recipe again.

* I don’t actually wear an apron. Ever. The most I ever work with is a clean dishcloth slung over my shoulder to wipe my hands on whenever needed.

And when the first batch of cupcakes from this third attempt at the recipe came out of the oven, I could feel the kiss of the cupcake angels who had deigned to gift me with the inspiration for this recipe as I could see that it had finally come together.

After two years, a little over a kilo each of flour, butter and sugar, all I could think was that professional recipe testers must have a helluva task on their hands! But nonetheless, I finally present you with my own personal recipe for perfect peanut butter cupcakes!

Next on the list? I’m going to start working on a caramel sponge recipe so wish me luck! :)

Perfect Peanut Butter Cupcakes w/ Dark Chocolate Glaze

Cupcake Ingredients
150g smooth peanut butter
2 cups plain / all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tsp bicarb / baking soda
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g brown sugar
200g caster sugar

Peanut Butter Buttercream Ingredients
400g unsalted butter
250g smooth peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4-6 tbsp milk
6-8 cups icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar

Optional: Dark Chocolate Ganache filling
200g good quality dark chocolate
1 cup pure cream (min 35% fat)

Optional: Dark Chocolate Ganache glaze (for the drizzle)
50g good quality dark chocolate
1/2 cup pure cream (min 35% fat)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Beat the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and caster sugar together till creamy, then add your eggs and vanilla and beat again till light and fluffy (about 5 minutes on high speed).

2. Sift the bicarb/baking soda into the flour and set aside, then beat the buttermilk into the creamed butter mixture till smooth.

3. Beat the flour into the mixture at high speed for about 2 minutes to ensure that it’s well-combined, then spoon into your lined cupcake tray. This mixture will double in size, so if you fill it 1/3 full then it will become 2/3 full, and filling them half full will have them rise close to the top.

4.ย  Bake the cupcakes for 10-15 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. DO NOT allow these to brown on top as this will result in a dry, tougher cupcake. In my oven, they reach perfection at exactly 14 minutes!

Once baked, I recommend that you brush the tops of the cupcakes while still warm with a sugar syrup (1:1 sugar to water, boiled till the sugar dissolves and then for another minute), then fill with dark chocolate ganache and top with peanut butter buttercream. If you want to get fancy, they look fantastic with a little dark chocolate glaze drizzled across the top!


Beat the butter, peanut butter, milk and vanilla together for about 5 minutes at high speed till it has become very light and fluffy.

Then add 2 cups of the icing sugar / confectioners sugar and beat at high speed till incorporated (about another 5 minutes). Add the remaining icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, making sure to beat for 4-5 minutes after each addition – stopping once the icing has bulked up but is still soft enough to be piped with ease.

If you’ve added too much icing sugar and the buttercream is too stiff, rescue it by adding 1 tbsp milk and beating for 3-4 minutes. Don’t add too much milk as doing so will make the mixture curdle – which you can again rescue by adding more peanut butter ๐Ÿ˜›


Place the chocolate and cream in a large non-reactive bowl, then place over a smaller bowl of boiling water. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then slowly stir to bring the mixture together. Allow to cool completely before using it to fill the cupcakes.


Place the chocolate and cream in a large non-reactive bowl, then place over a smaller bowl of boiling water. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then slowly stir to bring the mixture together.

Dip a fork into the chocolate mixture and slowly drizzle backwards and fowards across the top of the iced cupcakes.


  1. looks amazing and i bet they are good! so gonna try them soon! (: thanks for sharing!

  2. So pretty! And who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate. Yum ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Wahoo! Thanks! RT: โ€œ@kitchenwench: New blog post: Perfect Peanut Butter Cupcakes w/ Dark Chocolateโ€

  4. See, I like it, but Im not a die-hard peanut butter fan so can take or leave it in baked goods normally, however you have put so much work into these and your write up is SO gorgeous that I know these would be utterly divine and I am just itching to try them out! They look like perfection and as far as i can see i have all the ingredients…ooo… :)

  5. This is beautiful!! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  6. OMG, 2 years! now that’s dedication, and I’m sure these cupcakes are going to be awesome:)

    I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog and this would be a perfect addition to the roundup, if you’d be kind enough to send your entry in!

    Thanks, and I hope you can participate in the event!

  7. Yummmm! These look beautiful and now im craving a PB cupcake!

  8. God damn I love peanut butter-based confections. You are a temptress, Ellie, A TEMPTRESS.

  9. I’m more of a cake person than a cupcake person, so if I wanted to use this recipe for cake, what size cake pan(s) would you recommend? What about baking time?

    • You could really use any size cake tin, bearing in mind that this batter doubles in size during baking. As for baking time, that depends entirely on the size of your cake tin. I’d probably start with 30 minutes, then recheck every 5-10 minutes till a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly :)

  10. Congrats on your recipe success. Perfecting a recipe can be a real bear, especially if you happen to lose the recipe once you’re finally happy with it (not that I’ve ever done that or anything) ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  11. what gorgeous pictures! These sound absolutely delicious …. I just need an oven now!

  12. These are the most gorgeous cupcakes ever!! I’m so excited to try these, thanks for the recipe ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. yummy cupcake recipes

  14. These cupcakes look amazing and really yummy. Just wondering what the role of buttermilk is in a cupcake? Does it make it fluffier, and if so, can buttermilk be added to any cupcake recipe.

    Keep up the awesome work. I love reading your blogs. You are very talented in your cooking and photography.


    • Thanks Emma :) I always try and use buttermilk in baking recipes instead of regular milk – it does make it seem to feel more moist, but the acidity in buttermilk also reacts with bicarb/baking soda to make the end product rise higher and feel fluffier :)

  15. Perfect Peanut Butter Cupcakes w/ Dark Chocolate

  16. Ellie, I can see why you were so excited about posting this recipe. Looks phenomenal and I’m sure it tastes even better. I love the piping skills too!

  17. I bookmarked these and cannot wait to try them. thanks so much!

  18. They certainly look impressive with that little ganache drizzle on top and I bet they taste great too! The peanut butter frosting could be used for so many yummy things… PS. I hate to cook without an apron, maybe it’s a cheffy thing, but I hate not wearing my ‘pinnie’ and have spares in my work locker in case I need a clean one during the day.

    • I reckon that’s a cheffy thing ๐Ÿ˜€ Mind you, I don’t have anything against aprons, I just never think to put one on ๐Ÿ˜›

  19. Yay I can’t wait until RSPCA Cupcake Day – could come to be my favourite fundraiser of the year! These look moorish and I’m sure all the Reeses Pieces fans out there are in love with you for this. I can’t get over your skills with a piping bag …

  20. I’m obsessed with all things Peanut Butter and should have a direct line to Reeses – Im literally drooling at these cupcakes. What a great effort :) perfect things come to those who wait ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. These look so delicious. Congrats on finding the perfect texture in your cupcakes, peanut butter and chocolate is always a winning combo

  22. Wow, thanks for sharing this. These cupcakes look absolutely delicious and I LOVE peanut butter so I’m excited to try it out!

  23. Sooo, here I sit with all my ingredients prepared, ready to make these lovely looking cupcakes that I’ve been lusting after since you posted the recipe, only to find…er…you don’t mention what temperature to bake them at. Sadness.

  24. These look amazing Ellie! I actually posted some peanut butter goodness on my blog today – in the form of a frosting, but the peanut cupcake itself is taking it to the next level. I’ll definitely give them a go!

    Also wanted to say that in your photos, (in particular, the last one before the recipe) the way you have piped the frosting looks like a flower to me. If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of nozzle do you use? Absolutely stunning

  25. Oh lordie this looks just like cupcake heaven :mrgreen:

  26. Although buttermilk is the better choice will normal milk still do the job?

    • Hi Ruby,

      Unfortunately normal milk doesn’t have the required acidity to react with the baking soda/bicarb soda to make these cupcakes rise tall and fluffy – BUT, you can add 1tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and let it sit for 10 minutes to sour and then it will be perfectly fine to use :) You can do this for any recipe that asks for buttermilk if you don’t have any :)


  27. Just made them, absolutely lush! I used crunchy peanut butter to have some nuts through the cakes and with strawberry butter cream! nom! x

  28. ellie! made these the other day and they were a hit along with the red velvet! thankyou!

  29. I’m going to make these for my mom’s birthday next weekend but I just had a question… What is the purpose of brushing the top with sugar syrop? Won’t it make the top mushy?

    • Also, the glaze for the drizzle, will the chocolate set or does it stay liquid? I’m just worried it will “melt” the buttercream on the cupcake.

  30. I am a little confused; how do you ‘fill’ cupcakes with ganache? Wouldn’t you have to cut a bit out of them to add filing in? Also, from the pictures it doesn’t look like yours were filled; were they? I do want to make these but don’t understand this ingredient or step. Thanks!

  31. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Perfect timing since I have an oversupply of peanut butter at home ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. I just made these, without skipping any steps, and they are indeed perfection.
    Though I did half the recipe thinking I might be stuck with too many sugary treats and still managed to make 18 cupcakes. (4cm in diameter in case anyone is wondering). I also have a freezer bag of ganache and pb frosting in the fridge which I’m sure will come in handy after being whipped at some point.
    Thanks for posting ๐Ÿ˜†

  33. they look delicious. googled peanut butter cupcake recipes, browsed through a few, then found yours. after a little deliberation, decided i’m gonna go with the wench :) i’m gonna make a chocolate icing, though, and top em with some mini reeses i just got. probably not as good as ganache, but i’m on a time budget (gotta go pick up the youngsters from school soon!), so i’m gonna stick to an easy choc icing :)

  34. ๐Ÿ˜›
    These are AMAZING. Saw the recipe, got excited, bought the ingredients and made a batch last night. Stayed up way past my bedtime icing the little beauties. Today at work everyone is raving about them – they’re just gorgeous.
    Thank you soooo much for the recipe. Just awesome. :smile:

  35. Have made a couple of your recipes now, and all have been a resounding success…dying to give these a go too! But I also am a little confused about filling with the chocolate ganache – I was assuming this meant cutting a little hole into the middle of the cupcake from the top and filling that way, but in the last picture one of the cupcakes looks like it has a layer of the ganache on top. Just want to make sure I’m not going to massacre such a delicious looking treat by performing invasive surgery :)

  36. Thank you so much for this recipe! I tried another not-so-great peanut butter cupcake recipe, and decided to try this one to make things better. Since I was skeptical, I made 1/3 recipe, and the cupcakes still turned out wonderfully. Absolutely perfect!

  37. How many cupcakes does this recipe make?

  38. I just discovered this blog of yours. These cupcakes looks delicious, will try make a batch when I have the chance to borrow a oven! (I’m the owner of a mini oven with no room for a muffin pan :sad: )
    I’m craving for those cupcakes, but I’m trying to fulfill my needs with a jar of peanut butter mixed with sugar and butter – for now.

    Love the pictures and your sense of humour! :smile:

  39. tried it, ended up better in the pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰ thanks

  40. THe 150 g peanut butter is equal to what…..also butter and sugars…….don’t know for sure with g instead of cups

  41. Peanut butter and chocolate! What’s not to love? Thanks for sharing!
    The Daily Doss recently posted..Caramel Apple-Cherry Pie

  42. these look so gorgeous!

  43. You list 1/2 teaspoon of salt as an ingredient, but the. Don’t mention where to incorporate it. Can you please explain? Thanks!

  44. This looks great, but I don’t have a way of calculating grams…any one have the standard American measurements?


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