I’m not much of a coffee drinker – if I do have it, it’s practically 50% milk and sugar, so it’s probably a good thing that I’m not a coffee addict. I don’t even have a coffee pot or Keurig cup machine at home, so I usually gravitate away from recipes that call for brewed coffee. However, it is a well-known fact that coffee enhances chocolate flavor intensely, so when I wanted to make these chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for my friends’ birthdays, I walked to the Starbucks near my house and bought a tall medium roast coffee. Just for them! That’s true love, you guys.
This is the fourth chocolate-peanut butter flavored dessert I’ve posted on here! These cupcakes are rich and moist, topped with a layer of smooth ganache (the quality of the chocolate you use if important! I used Ghirardelli), and peanut butter frosting.
If you’re not a fan of coffee flavor, there’s a chance this may not be your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. You’re not supposed to taste the coffee, but when my mom tried a cupcake with no frosting, she said there was definitely a hint. I found that after letting them sit for few days, the ganache and frosting osmosis-ed (that’s a word, okay?) into the cupcake and I could no longer taste it. If you’re looking for a coffee-flavored cupcake, this is not the one.
Now, a word about this frosting – this original recipe is from the cookbook Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah. The frosting is supposed to look like adorable little peanut butter cookies. I don’t know how Annie did it so perfectly, but no matter what I tried, my frosting was too sticky to shape and make the indents like the cookies. After several different methods that all started with getting an ungodly amount of peanut butter frosting all over my hands and ended with consolation/frustration cupcakes, I gave up and frosted them with a large round tip. I think maybe my butter was too soft when I beat it, or I didn’t add enough powdered sugar… Proof that I tried:
So sad Let me know if you have better luck with the cookie frosting!
Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1½ cups hot brewed coffee
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
For the ganache:
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
For the peanut butter frosting:
- 9 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cups creamy peanut butter
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F and line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the hot brewed coffee with the cocoa powder until dissolved. Set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the coffee-cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix each addition just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds of the way full. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cupcakes are cool, make the ganache by placing the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer, pour over the chocolate, and let stand about 2 minutes. Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. Let it cool briefly at room temperature to thicken slightly before spreading onto cupcakes.
- To make the peanut butter frosting, beat the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high for 1 minute. Turn off the mixer, add in the confectioners’ sugar in thirds, mixing on low speed until fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- At this point you can spread ganache onto each cupcake and ten pipe frosting onto the cupcakes with a large round pastry tip, or make the peanut butter cookies:
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture and use clean, dry hands to form it into a patty. Use the tines of a fork to make the classic crisscross pattern on top of the “cookie”. Repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Spread a layer of ganache over the top of each cupcake and place a peanut butter “cookie” on top.
Number of servings (yield): 26-28 cupcakes