Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

If you’re looking for cupcakery quality cupcakes without the crazy prices, then this recipe is for you! These cupcakes are rich with a deep chocolate flavor and are heavenly with the peanut butter buttercream.

I might dare say that peanut butter buttercream is my favorite kind of all.

Because the peanut butter is so thick, you don’t even need a piping tipe to pipe the frosting out.

I just cut off a corner of a Ziploc bag and piped it out that way, drizzled some chocolate syrup on top, and garnished with some chopped peanuts.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream


    For the cupcakes:
  • 4 oz all purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup+ 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 extra large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips tossed with pinch of cocoa powder
  • chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • chocolate syrup or chocolate ganache, for drizzling
  • For the peanut butter buttercream:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
  • 5 oz powdered sugar (1 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk to blend the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry while stirring, and before the flour has disappeared into the batter, stir in the coffee. It will make the batter quite thin. Last, add in the chocolate chips. Evenly divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups, but make sure they are no more than 2/3 full.
  3. Bake for 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely, then pipe on the buttercream, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and sprinkle on some chopped peanuts.
  4. To make the buttercream, beat all buttercream ingredients in a bowl until smooth and blended. I don't like my buttercream too sweet, but if you need, you can beat in more powdered sugar to taste.


Cake portion adapted from Ina Garten's Beatty's Chocolate Cake. Buttercream recipe is original.

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46 comments… add one

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  • avatar Ann October 6, 2011, 12:49 am

    Yay! I get to leave the first comment (because I’m up WAY too late again). Speaking of being up – this is terrific late night food! What beautiful cupcakes with my absolutely favorite flavor combo! Thanks so much for making these!

    • avatar Joanne October 6, 2011, 12:54 am

      HAHA yes I’m up too late too! I normally post in the morning but I couldn’t help myself. Technically it’s Thursday!!! lol. I’m just so excited about these cupcakes!

  • avatar Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts October 6, 2011, 8:15 am

    These look to die for!! Chocolate and peanut butter of course is a winner, but the cupcakes look perfect! I think I could eat all 12, that would be a problem!

  • avatar Jess October 6, 2011, 9:54 am

    OMG. I know what Zach’s going to be requesting soon…

  • avatar Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide October 6, 2011, 10:03 am

    Oh good god, those look insanely good.

  • avatar Platanos, Mangoes and Me! October 6, 2011, 10:24 am

    I was up late myself when I saw this and decided to wait til morning to comment. This is soooo rich and gooey and sticky and I love it….

  • avatar Colleen M. October 6, 2011, 10:32 am

    Taylor’s two favorite dessert flavors are chocolate and PB! We will definitely be making these soon :) They look delicious!!

  • avatar thebigfatnoodle October 6, 2011, 2:37 pm

    These are definitely making me drool, they look so bad for you but soooo good at the same time!

  • avatar Chrissy October 6, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Oh mannn! These look incredible!

  • avatar frugalfeeding October 6, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I am, as it happens… What fantastic looking cupcakes – a delicious combination of flavours. Delicious!

  • avatar thedrivencook October 6, 2011, 10:27 pm

    Holy….goodness! These look so insanely delicious. My husband’s favorite flavor combo is peanut butter chocolate- he’d love these!

  • avatar The Food Hunter October 7, 2011, 4:25 pm

    These look delicious. I just found your blog and love it. I know I’ll be a regular

  • avatar Samantha October 10, 2011, 9:03 am

    These look incredible!

  • avatar Meg October 10, 2011, 4:54 pm

    Chocolate and peanut butter together just may be my biggest food obsession, and I love the peanuts on top! Such a nice touch!

  • avatar daisy October 10, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I’ve died and gone to heaven!

  • avatar Kiki October 15, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Definitely drooling over these! Even before you asked the question, just looking at that first picture makes me want to take a bite. Not possible, unfortunately, so have to bookmark this and try them myself…

  • avatar Lisette October 17, 2011, 11:00 pm

    I tried this recipe but I think its missing butter in the batter, no? And I’ve never made cupcakes before. It’s so hard. My cupcakes rose and fell in the oven and came out will craters in the centers of them. Also, my icing was too runny. Help!?

    • avatar Joanne October 17, 2011, 11:06 pm

      There is no butter in the cupcakes, the fat here is the vegetable oil. Whenever something like cupcakes or muffins sink in the center, that means they weren’t baked long enough (the craters are still liquid, and the unbaked part). So in the future if that happens, bake them longer. Question, do you have an oven thermometer/are you sure your oven is accurate? Ovens can be off by quite a bit, I’ve found. I always use an oven thermometer so I know mine is accurate. Also, regarding the icing, are you using Jif (i.e. a partially hydrogenated oil peanut butter) or natural peanut butter? Additionally, your butter may have gotten too warm and runny, and that can easily be remedied by sticking it in the fridge for 15-30min so it can harden up. I know that’s a lot of info but I want to help you! I’ve made these many times and they are adapted from a recipe that has really great reviews. I’ve never had issues with them and I want to figure out you can make stellar cupcakes next time! Let me know!!! Also, did they all come out slightly sunken in the center, or just some of them?

  • avatar Anonymous November 6, 2011, 7:12 pm

    You didn’t say what to do with the chocolate chips? A bit confused. Great recipe though! :D

    • avatar Joanne November 6, 2011, 7:25 pm

      Eek! Thanks so much for pointing this out! You just dump them in right before you bake the cupcakes =)

      • avatar Anonymous November 6, 2011, 7:53 pm

        Great! Thanks :) Making them right now

  • avatar annabel May 30, 2012, 9:24 pm

    these are AMAZING make them they’re so nice!

  • avatar indah August 10, 2012, 4:34 am

    I stumbled on your blog when searching for fluffy vanilla cupcakes (they were fluffy and delicious!) and can’t wait to give these chocolate cupcakes a go!

    If I only have large eggs, would I need to use 2 large eggs for the 1 extra large egg called in the recipe?

    Can I also omit the coffee without throwing the recipe too much off-balance?

    Thanks so much :)

    • avatar Joanne Ozug August 10, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Hi Indah, that’s great to hear! Don’t use two large eggs, just use one. Also, sadly you cannot omit the coffee with these…1/2 cup is a lot of liquid. Is it because you don’t like coffee flavor? It’s actually very light here…just enhances the chocolate flavor. You could maybe try to do 1/2 cup of boiling water mixed with some cocoa powder maybe? But you need that 1/2 cup of liquid. Good luck!

      • avatar indah August 11, 2012, 8:00 am

        Hi Joanne,

        I tried these yesterday and they were so so delicious! Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. I did use just one egg after doing some google-ing :D I also didn’t omit the coffee and you’re right it just nicely enhances the flavour without tasting too much of coffee. I was initially thinking of omitting the coffee, should I ever make these for kids. But I guess it’s quite a small amount anyway.

        I have a couple of questions more if you don’t mind. One or two of the cupcakes kinda sunk a slight bit in the center – I’m wondering if I did something wrong? And were the chocolate chips supposed to melt during the mix? Mine just pooled at the bottom of each cupcakes since the batter was thin. I’m thinking maybe my 1/2 cup of coffee wasn’t hot enough..? *oops*

        Thanks again. I had to stop myself from finishing off all 12 cupcakes by myself! lol

        • avatar Joanne Ozug August 11, 2012, 11:57 am

          Hi Indah, Glad to hear they went well! Whenever something baked sinks in the center, that means it was underbaked (the structure hasn’t set, and the liquid didn’t bake into a solid crumb). However, it’s bad to overbake cupcakes, so if only 1 or 2 sank, I’d say that’s not so bad, it means you barely underbaked it.

          No the chocolate chips don’t melt and they are supposed to go to the bottom, if you don’t want it to be like that you can omit them next time. Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes!

          • avatar Indah August 15, 2012, 6:13 am

            Thanks, Joanne :)

  • avatar Zay August 17, 2012, 10:38 pm

    I made these today – absaloutely delicious ! The only thing I found was even though I measured the batter of each cupcake , they all came out different heights with some even overflowing , so dont really know what happened there :s

    I was wondering would it be ok to make this in a cake tin as opposed to cupcake cases??

    • avatar Joanne Ozug August 18, 2012, 12:26 pm

      Hi Zay, I’m so glad they turned out so well! Honestly I am puzzled by the different heighted cupcakes…that is very strange. My only guess is that it had to do with the way the heat circulated or something about the pan…because the cake mix should be pretty homogenous you know?

      Yes you can bake it in a 8 or 9 inch cake pan…this recipe would make 1, and you can double it to make 2 and bake the cakes for about 35 minutes.

      • avatar Anonymous August 18, 2012, 8:44 pm

        Hey Thanks for replying. I know Im puzzled over that one too but hey they were far too amazing so Im happy :) Im making them again this week as I have frosting left over so will try the cake tin method……..good excuse to indulge in more :)) x

  • avatar Reggie November 21, 2012, 11:15 pm

    Thanks Joanne for sharing the recipe. These cupcakes is to die for, they are from heavenl ! I’ve been searching for this kind of moist, delicious, awesome cupcakes for a very long time, and finally found it, and I fell inlove with them. Thank you so much , really love your site, and I salute you for the helpful tips and wonderful recipes you shared!! I’m now your biggest fan. Thanks Joanne and more success to fifteen spatulas!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 22, 2012, 4:54 pm

      Hi Reggie, I am so glad!!! I love these cupcakes too. Happy cooking and stay in touch =)

  • avatar Kelsey December 17, 2012, 8:20 pm

    Hi! I’m new to this baking from scratch thing and I’m excited to try your recipe, it looks delicious, but I have a question first. I saw that the recipe calls for 5 oz of powdered sugar and after which it says 1 cup. 5 ounces does not equal 1 cup, 8 ounces does. Should I be using the amount of ounces in the recipe or the amount of cups? Sorry if this comes off snotty or rude, that is the farthest from my intention. I am very excited to try this recipe for my family. I just want to be sure I’m making it correctly!

    Thanks so much!!!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 17, 2012, 8:24 pm

      Hi Kelsey, no offense taken. Definitely go with the weight. However, be careful about conclusions about what 1 cup equals in terms of ounces. It can be between 5 and 8, depending on whether or not it is packed. 5 oz is standard for flour and I find that it is standard for confectioner’s sugar too. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • avatar Kelsey December 18, 2012, 12:57 pm

        Thank you so much for explaining!!!

  • avatar Sally Bakes January 27, 2013, 10:50 am

    Hi, I tried this and it’s superb Joanne! Thanks for sharing the recipe <3

  • avatar Heather March 12, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Bravo to this exceptional delicious cupcake recipe!!! I have been making chocolate peanutbutter cupcakes for years and I’m always looking for a twist on this delicious cupcake, Well the peanutbutter butter cream is absolute heaven!!! Smooth, dreamy and just right in the sweetness!!! Perfectly done!!! Thank you:-)

  • avatar MaryW May 1, 2013, 11:54 am

    These are a total failure. They are overflowing the cupcake pan and making a massive mess. Don’t make these.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug May 1, 2013, 12:02 pm

      Mary, it sounds like you overfilled the cupcake wells. I have to disagree about the recipe, the majority of people who have made these have success, and additionally, the cake portion is an adaptation of a very popular and well rated recipe by Ina Garten. If you’d like assistance in troubleshooting what you may have done wrong, you may choose to leave more details, but it sounds like the tin was overfilled.

      • avatar MaryW May 1, 2013, 12:08 pm

        I divided it up equally into 12 cupcakes, just like yours. They were an oozy mess all over my oven, like there wasn’t enough structure

        • avatar Joanne Ozug May 1, 2013, 1:37 pm

          Hi Mary, the structure comes very late in the baking process, as it’s a very, very liquidy and thin batter (that’s how it’s supposed to be, this is not a thick cake batter at all). It doesn’t sound like anything went wrong with the recipe aside from the cupcake liners being overfilled. The cupcake wells should be about 2/3 full to allow for rise.

  • avatar Chethana Peiris June 4, 2013, 7:11 am

    Hi Joanne,
    Cannot find buttermilk in our local stores or supermarkets…what can I do….help…please…wanna try these out soooo much..

    • avatar Joanne Ozug June 4, 2013, 2:31 pm

      You can try the substitute where it’s 1 cup of milk curdled for 5 minutes with 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice. I do that sometimes in a pinch.

  • avatar NM June 28, 2013, 3:52 am

    Hi Joanne,

    Such a lovely site you have. Two question though.
    (1) U didn’t use a mixer for this cupcake. Would it make a huge difference if I were to use one? Tried making muffins the other day and they turned out tough, but I guess the dangers of muffins comes from over-mixing. Never thought it would be the same for cupcakes.

    (2) U mentioned in the previous comment that you can ‘make’ buttermilk by adding vinegar/lemon juice to the milk and let it curdle for 5 mins. Does it have to be a specific kind of vinegar? I only have apple cider vinegar (which I also use for my red velvets). Would that work?

    Thank you so much!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug June 28, 2013, 7:20 pm

      Hi NM, you can use a mixer, but as you mentioned, just be really careful not to overmix. It’s very easy to develop too much gluten and then the cupcakes will be tough. For your other question, apple cider vinegar would work just fine since the flavor is relatively mild. I usually use white vinegar, but red vinegar and apple cider would be good too. I wouldn’t recommend a balsamic vinegar but the others are fine. Hope you enjoy!

  • avatar Mitch September 25, 2013, 2:35 pm

    Hi Joanne it’s me again sorry for many questions! :)

    I just want to clarify the ff:

    1. I don’t have brewed coffee, if I am going to use instant coffee powder, how many teaspoons should I mix with 1/2 cup of water?

    2. In procedure #2, when you say “whisk to blend” I assumed you use wired whisk and beat by hand instead of electric mixer?

    3. When you mixed the dry with the wet ingredients, are you still using a whisk or you switched into spatula?

    4. Why do some chocolate cupcakes use oil, others use butter? I’m wondering what would be the difference of the two. Texture maybe? 2 weeks ago I baked two batches of cupcakes from 2 different recipes. The one that uses oil came out soft, moist and airy (I’m not sure if “fluffy” is the right term). The other recipe that uses butter came out moist but a little bit dense, yes it’s delicious but I’ve never eaten that kind of texture from cupcake bakeries before. But it’s the first time to make cupcakes and I’m not a pro so i’m not sure if my observations are correct haha. And since it’s my first time, maybe I didn’t creamed the butter enough as i’m scared to overmix (btw, I’ve read your creaming technique I wish I’ve read it earlier, very helpful!) Have you experienced this?

    Thank you!


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