Intensely chocolate peanut butter cup stuffed cupcakes topped with dark chocolate frosting. The cake is tender and rich and will become your favorite easy chocolate cake recipe with all cocoa powder and no need for melted chocolate!
You guys. I am swimming in cupcakes, tart, cheesecake, and cookies over here at Baker Bettie headquarters! They are everywhere. It feels like the best dream and a nightmare all at the same time.
I came to the realization this weekend that I need to hire someone to work for me. Someone whose job it is to eat/take away everything I bake all weekend and not allow me to eat any of it. This weekend was the first preview of what is in store for the holidays!
I got a request for Mr. BB for chocolate cupcakes this weekend. And while we were in CVS I saw all of the Halloween candy and very casually said, “I could put Reese’s peanut butter cups in those cupcakes.” His head almost exploded. I’m pretty sure he thinks I am the first one ever to think of stuffing cupcakes with candy. We’ll just let him keep thinking that 🙂
Because of my aversion to cupcakes I did a lot of research to find a cake that wouldn’t be too dense or dry and would pack an intense chocolate flavor. I found this one and decided to use it as my base for the recipe. It called out to me because of the low ratio of dry ingredients compared to all of the leavening with the eggs, baking powder, and baking soda. It also calls for buttermilk which I had on hand and needed to use up, but I also know how moist buttermilk can make a cake.
I am really glad I choose this recipe. I really loved the cake. It stayed very tender and moist and packed a huge amount of chocolate flavor without the need for melting chocolate. I tend to make really big messes in the kitchen so I often avoid having to melt chocolate for recipes because it will inevitably make an even bigger mess!
I used Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder for the batter of the cupcakes and also to make the chocolate frosting. I have seen it in most major grocery stores so it should be easy to find, especially this time of year. However, if you cannot find it, you can use any other natural cocoa powder (not dutch processed).
I also used the Reese’s miniatures Peanut Butter Cups, not to be confused with the “minis” which are even smaller. After making these I wondered how well it would work to use a full-sized peanut butter cup in the bottom of the cupcake as a base or “crust” if you wanted even more peanut butter cup flavor. Although, Mr. BB and I agreed that the miniatures gave just the right amount of salty/peanut butter hit in the middle of the intense chocolate rush of the cupcake.
I obviously preferred these naked (I am a frosting hater), but Mr. BB loved the dark chocolate frosting. Either way, these bad boys are making me become a little less grumpy about cupcakes. And they did turn out pretty cute. As much as it hurts me to say that.
- 1/2 cup Hershey's specialty dark cocoa powder (or other natural cocoa powder)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 16 Reese's peanut butter cup miniatures, plus more for garnish if desired
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup Hershey's specialty dark cocoa powder (or other cocoa powder)
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
InstructionsFor the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners. This will make about 16 cupcakes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, and buttermilk together until smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir very briefly just to get the liquid mixed in then repeat with the remaining wet ingredients. Stir just until combined. This will only take a few stirs. Make sure to stir as little as possible as you can make tough cupcakes if you overmix.
- Spoon a small amount of the batter into the liners, filling just about 1/4 of the way full, and then set a peanut butter cup in each liner. Do not press the peanut butter cup all the way to the bottom. Spoon more batter over top the peanut butter cup making sure to only fill the tins about 1/2 way full.
- Bake for 18-19 minutes, or until the cupcakes are set and spring back slightly when pressed in the middle. Allow to cool completely on wire cooling racks before frosting.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until very creamy.
- Add cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, cream, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. You can add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick.