If I am going to call anything “The Ultimate”, I’d better bring that shit. I mean seriously, it’s put up or shut up time with that, right? Right. The Rockstar is a fiend for this combo and he’s not ashamed to admit it! This confection was ALL him. One cupcake is way more than enough, in fact I would suggest sharing with a friend and an ice cold glass of milk! Not only are these cakes rich and delicious, they are also completely adorable with their peanut butter chocolate “fascinators”. Trust me, these are a visual and flavorful show stopper.
You will need the following:
- 1⅓ cups cake flour (you know the routine, all purpose if you must but, cake flour yeilds a lighter cake)
- ½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup hot water
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter *I used a natural peanut butter that was thin enough to actually pour. If your peanut butter is too thick to pour, heat it in the microwave for 15 second intervals until it’s smooth enough to pour but not completely melted.
- 1 bag miniature peanut butter cups, foil and paper cups removed.
The Ultimate Chocolate Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 3 sticks softened butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Next add 3 cups powdered sugar and a generous pinch of sea salt. Beat on medium high speed until creamy smooth. Add 1 1/2 cups good quality chocolate chunks or chips melted and cooled and return mixer to medium high speed until well incorporated. *Melt your chocolate by heating in the microwave for 30 second intervals and stirring between. This should take one minute. Also, use this frosting immediately. Once refrigerated, it will become too hard to pipe on.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Then beat in milk, followed by the other half of the dry ingredients, beating slowly until combined. Add hot water and beat just until combined. avoid over mixing your batter, the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. The batter should be liquid.
- Remove bowl from stand mixer and manually, yes WITH A SPOON, stir in peanut butter. You want a bunch of wide ribbons. The batter should now be marbled black and tan.
- Divide batter evenly between cups, filling them about ¾ full.I used a scoop which gave me a bit of control over the ribbons of peanut butter.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Spoon frosting into a large ziploc bag, reserving 1/2 a cup in a small ziploc. Snip the end off of the large ziploc large enough to pipe out the frosting in a bead about as big around as your index finger. Pipe onto cupcakes in traditional swirls.
- Snip the end off of the small ziploc but, much smaller this time. You want a bead about as big as the tip of a crayon. Pipe that onto the mini peanut butter cups in a swirl just as you did the large cupcakes. Place them slightly askew right on top of the large frosting.
These cupcakes will be best on the same day but may be stored in the fridge overnight if needed. If you need to make them further in advance do not frost them and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days.
Just make these. Seriously. If chocolate and peanut butter has ever been a “thing” for you, it’s a good idea. Swearing Mom out.