These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are my absolute favorite cupcake recipe. They’re rich, dark, and incredibly moist. The Peanut Butter Buttercream on top is the perfect pairing for the dark chocolate flavor. They only take about 30 minutes to make!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes - with Chocolate Syrup Drizzle and Chopped Peanuts On top

Even though I’m not solely a baker, I would totally go to that Cupcake Wars show with these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes. They’ve become my go-to when I need cupcakes for something, whether it’s for a party, to give to a neighbor, or to satisfy a chocolate cupcake craving. They are outrageously good.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s easy to make, but more importantly, you can use all-purpose flour here instead of cake flour. I get that sometimes you need specialty flours to make certain desserts, but I don’t usually have cake flour on hand, so it’s nice when you can use regular flour and still get an incredibly soft and moist texture.

The peanut butter buttercream is also excellent, and only requires 4 ingredients. Ordinarily I’m somewhat of a buttercream snob and prefer to make buttercream without confectioner’s sugar so I can avoid the subtle grittiness that comes with it. But because the peanut butter is such a big component of the buttercream, it’s much less noticeable, and the buttercream is plenty luscious, light, and smooth. I admit to having found myself piping little tastes onto my finger, and thinking momentarily about how acceptable it might be to instead pipe some frosting directly into my mouth (real talk here, haha).

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - with Peanut Butter Frosting on Top of Wood Board

Tips for Best Results

Use real buttermilk – The flavor of real buttermilk is unmatched. I know people often substitute milk with a little vinegar, but it’s not the same in terms of flavor or texture. Get the real stuff, and if you need to use up the leftovers, try these Blueberry Muffins with Crumb ToppingLemon Buttermilk Pie or Buttermilk Pancakes.

Don’t overmix – One of the biggest secrets for great baked goods is to make sure you don’t overmix the dry and wet ingredients together. You want to stir until you no longer see bits of dry flour, but it’s okay if there are a few lumps here and there.

Use a quality cocoa powder – I know it’s cheap and widely available, but the standard Hershey’s cocoa is not the best choice here. I recommend higher quality options. Guittard is my favorite, but Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, and Ghirardelli are also good choices.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter buttercream Frosting with Chocolate Syrup Drizzle and Peanuts

Step by Step Overview:

To get started on your Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, begin with the cupcake batter. Whisk together the dry ingredients, which are all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt:

Cocoa Powder and Flour Whisked in Bowl

Dutch-process or natural: Either should work here.

Recommended brands: Guittard Cocoa Rouge is my absolute favorite, but other recommended brands are Scharffen Berger, Vahlrona, and Ghirardelli. If you only have something like Hershey’s, it will still work here, I just think the flavor is better with higher quality brands.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, a neutral oil, one egg, and vanilla extract.

Buttermilk, Eggs, Oil, and Vanilla in Bowl

Try to use real buttermilk

I have successfully made this with a substitute of milk or almond milk with a small amount of vinegar, and it works out in terms of the chemistry. But milk with vinegar or lemon juice certainly does not taste like real buttermilk, so if possible, please try to use the real thing. True buttermilk really does taste better.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients:

Dry Cocoa Flour Mixture in Bowl Mixed with Wet Ingredients

When the flour is almost incorporated, pause for a moment:

Chocolate Cupcake Batter in Mixing Bowl with Spatula

Add coffee to the mixture, then finish mixing until the flour streaks disappear. The batter will be very thin:

Coffee Mixed Into Chocolate Cupcake Batter in Mixing Bowl with Spatula

Coffee in the batter?

Coffee is a flavor that’s known to enhance the flavor of chocolate (and it’s great in this recipe). It’s not enough here to be noticeable to most people. However, if you absolutely don’t want to include it, you may substitute water.

Divide the chocolate cupcake batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners placed in a muffin pan:

Chocolate Cake Batter in Paper Liner Muffin Wells

Bake for 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean:

Chocolate Cupcakes Baked in Muffin Tin

They will be so dark and chocolatey!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes - on Wooden Board Showing Moist Texture and Dark Color

Let the cupcakes cool, then make the peanut butter buttercream by whipping together butter, confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, and a little vanilla extract:

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting in Mixing Bowl

Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting on Top on Wood Board

How to Serve

While optional, I like to drizzle a little bit of chocolate syrup on top and add chopped peanuts for garnish. It looks beautifully visually and adds a little bit of extra texture. You could also sprinkle over some chopped mini peanut butter cups!

For a gorgeous table spread of desserts, I like to pair these with other indulgent goodies like Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats, Peanut Butter Balls, and Peanut Butter Pie.

Look at the interior texture of the cupcakes. Everything is so soft and tender, and the buttercream is OH so smooth:

Chocolate Cupcake with Bite Taken to Show Fluffy Interior

For more rich and decadent desserts, next try Irish Cream Cupcakes with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream, Coconut Oil Brownies, or Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache Tart. Enjoy!

Make-ahead Instructions

This recipe can be made entirely and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day, in the fridge for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You may also refrigerate or freeze the components separately, then assemble them right before serving.

Recipe Tips and FAQ

How do you store leftover Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes?

Keep in the fridge for up to 7 days, ideally stored in an airtight container so the buttercream doesn’t absorb off-flavors from the fridge.

Can you freeze Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes?

Yes, these freeze beautifully! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Make sure they are sealed tightly so they don’t get freezer burned or absorb off-flavors from the freezer.

How long can you keep the cupcakes at room temperature?

According to the USDA, butter is safe at room temperature for two days. I personally do not recommend leaving these out for more than 1 day though. It’s better to store them in the fridge, then let them come back to room temperature by leaving on the counter for about an hour before enjoying again.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Syrup Drizzle and Chopped Peanuts On top

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are my go-to cupcake recipe! They’re rich, dark, and insanely moist. The Peanut Butter Buttercream on top is the perfect pairing, and only has 4 ingredients.
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Ingredients

For the cupcakes::

  • 3.75 oz all purpose flour, by weight (3/4 cup, measured)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup oil**
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coffee***
  • chocolate syrup for drizzling, optional
  • chopped peanuts for garnish, optional

For the peanut butter buttercream::

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 5 oz confectioner’s sugar, by weight (1 cup, measured)
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk to combine the buttermilk, 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. Evenly divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups, but make sure they are no more than 3/4 full.
  • 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.
  • To make the buttercream, beat all buttercream ingredients in a bowl until smooth and blended, about 3 minutes on high speed.
  • Pipe on the buttercream as desired. Optional: drizzle with chocolate syrup, and sprinkle on some chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

Notes

*Ideally, please use a real buttermilk here. However, I’ve successfully substituted 1/2 cup milk or almond milk mixed with 1 teaspoon white vinegar.
**Any neutral oil works, such as sunflower, canola, grapeseed, melted coconut, etc.
***The coffee does not need to be hot or freshly brewed. Leftovers are great. If you want to skip the coffee, substitute water.
Storing leftovers at room temperature: I recommend you only keep for up to 1 day, though the USDA says butter can be left at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Storing leftovers in the fridge: Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Freezing: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Make-ahead Instructions: This recipe can be made entirely and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day, in the fridge for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You may also refrigerate or freeze the components separately, then assemble them right before serving.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 427kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Sodium: 240mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 29g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.