These peanut butter-filled chocolate cupcakes have the perfect balance of salty and sweet. They’re tender, moist, and absolutely delicious!
Making These Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes Together
Let’s walk through each step of this cupcake recipe to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible!
I’ve also shared a video tutorial on how to make them below.
Step 1: Make the Chocolate Cupcake Batter
I recommend making the cupcakes first so that they have time to cool before being filled and frosted.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
Add the warm water and espresso powder to a large bowl. Stir together until combined.
Whisk in the melted chocolate and cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
Next, mix in the eggs, oil, vinegar, and vanilla until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin!
Then whisk in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Step 3: Bake the Chocolate Cupcakes
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake them for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the pan from the oven.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove them and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
If you’re in a rush, place the entire pan in the freezer for 30 minutes to accelerate the cooling process.
Step 4: Make the Peanut Butter Buttercream
While the cupcakes bake and cool, make the peanut butter frosting.
If the frosting seems too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it seems too thin, add another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.
Or if you’re unsure what consistency the frosting should be, check out my frosting consistency guide.
Once the frosting is made, stir it by hand with a rubber spatula to get it SUPER smooth. Then place it in a piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip and set aside.
Step 5: Fill and Frost the Cupcakes
If you want to fill the cupcakes, remove the center of the cupcakes using the wide end of a frosting tip or a small knife and fill the center of each cupcake with your favorite peanut butter.
I love to use honey-roasted peanut butter to give these cupcakes an extra boost of flavor.
Then pipe on a dollop of peanut butter buttercream and chill the frosted cupcakes in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
This helps prevent the buttercream from melting as we drizzle the cupcakes with warm peanut butter and chocolate ganache.
Once the frosting is firm to the touch, drizzle warm peanut butter and chocolate ganache over the chilled buttercream and add a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and flaky sea salt.
If you don’t have any frosting bags and tips, you can also use a freezer Ziplock bag and trim the corner to have a 2 cm opening.
No matter how you decorate them, they’re going to be delicious!
Substitutions and Swaps – Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
Now that we’ve covered how to make these cupcakes, let’s talk about the ingredients!
This recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have them all on hand.
Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered. Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make.
- Chocolate Chips – You can use milk, dark or semi-sweet chocolate to make these chocolate cupcakes. Just be sure it’s a good quality chocolate so it will melt down smoothly.
- Instant Espresso or Coffee – You can omit the instant espresso if needed, but it really enhances the chocolate flavor in these cupcakes.
- All-Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten-free flour blend if needed.
- Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar as it will change the texture of these cupcakes.
- Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Canola or sunflower oil would work great!
- Large Eggs – If you have an egg allergy, try using 2 flaxseed eggs or a vegan egg replacer like this one made by Bob’s Red Mill.
- Vinegar – This recipe needs a bit of vinegar because it uses baking soda as a leavening agent. The vinegar activates the baking soda and helps the cupcakes rise. You can use white or apple cider vinegar.
Substitutions and Swaps – Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
- Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place.
- Peanut Butter – I recommend making this frosting with creamy peanut butter that is shelf stable. I usually use JIF or Skippy. Natural peanut butter can separate easily and cause the frosting to break.
- Heavy Cream – Whipping cream, coconut cream or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat, coconut) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
- Vanilla Extract – Other extracts can also be used in place of the vanilla extract if needed.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake Troubleshooting & FAQs
While I’d love to think everyone’s cupcakes will turn out perfectly every time, I know that sometimes things don’t go to plan. Below are some tips and advice to help!
Why Didn’t My Cupcakes Rise? Why Are My Cupcakes Dense?
This can be caused by a few things. The most common is that either the ingredients weren’t all at room temperature, you over-mixed the batter after adding the flour, or your leavening agents are expired.
Using cold ingredients has a huge damper on how much baked goods rise. Make sure to set out cold ingredients ahead of time to let them come to room temperature.
Over-mixed batter can also create dense, chewy baked goods. Make sure that you mix the batter until it’s just combined once you’ve added in the flour.
Expired baking soda is a sneaky one. Check the dates on your baking soda box. It can start to lose its leavening power after it’s been open for 6 months.
A quick and easy way to check your baking soda is to mix it with an acidic liquid like vinegar or lemon juice. It should bubble. If it doesn’t, it’s time to get some new baking soda.
Why Did My Cupcakes Sink in the Middle? Why Did They Overflow on the Sides?
This can happen when the cupcakes are under-baked, overfilled, or if your oven runs cool.
One batch of batter should be the perfect amount to make 12 cupcakes, but it needs to be evenly distributed between the liners. If they’re overfilled, they can overflow on the sides of the liners and/or sink in the middle.
Some cupcake pans and liners vary a bit in size, and this can also impact how the cupcakes bake up.
Another factor could be that your oven isn’t properly calibrated. I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer to make sure it’s baking at the right temperature.
Can I Make These Chocolate Peanut Butter-Filled Cupcakes in Advance?
Yes, you can make these cupcakes in advance! Frosted cupcakes can sit at room temperature overnight or be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
They can also last up to a month in the freezer. If you plan to freeze them, I suggest waiting to fill and frost them until they’re thawed.
You can also make the buttercream ahead of time or save any leftovers. This buttercream frosting will last in the fridge for up to a month in an airtight container.
Be sure to give the frosting a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
You can also store this buttercream in a piping bag in the fridge. I find buttercream keeps its consistency well in piping bags and doesn’t require any mixing after it’s thawed.
Tips for Making the Best Peanut Butter-Filled Cupcakes
- Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
- Properly measure the flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure the dry ingredients.
- Mix the cupcake batter until the ingredients are just incorporated. This will ensure the cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
- Use a large cookie scoop to easily fill the cupcake liners. It also makes sure the cupcakes end up being the same height.
- Chill the frosted cupcakes in the fridge or freezer before drizzling on the warm peanut butter and chocolate ganache. This will prevent the frosting from melting.
- Seal off the top of the piping bag with a rubber band to prevent any frosting from coming out of the top of the bag and make the piping bag easier to use.
Let Me Know What You Think!
If you make these chocolate peanut butter-filled cupcakes, I’d love to hear what you think of them! Please leave a comment and rating below.
Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets so that I can see your delicious creations on social media.
Other Recipes You Might Like:
- 3/4 cup water, warm (180g)
- 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso or coffee (3g)
- 1/3 cup milk or dark chocolate chips, melted (60g)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or black cocoa powder (30g)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature (112g)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (75g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
- 1 tsp white vinegar (4g)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (100g)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (3g)
- 1/2 tsp fine salt (2g)
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (125g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
- 1/4 tsp fine salt (1g)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (500g)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream (60g)
Cupcake Filling and Garnish
- 1 cup peanut butter (250g)
- 1/2 chocolate ganache
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175 C. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.
- Pour 3/4 cup of warm water into a large bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp of coffee or espresso powder and stir until dissolved.
- Add 1/3 cup melted chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of cocoa powder. Whisk together until the ingredients are fully combined.
- Whisk 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tsp vinegar into the cocoa mixture.
- Add 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt into the chocolate espresso mixture and whisk until just combined. The batter will be thin, but that’s how it’s supposed to be.
- Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the pan from the oven.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to finish cooling. If you're in a rush, place the whole pan in the freezer for 30 minutes to accelerate the cooling process.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
- While the cupcakes bake and cool, make the peanut butter buttercream. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1 cup of room-temperature butter and 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a hand mixer or paddle attachment until smooth.
- Mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt on a low speed.
- Slowly mix in 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup of heavy cream on a low speed. Mix on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting seems too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it's too thin, add another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.
- Stir by hand with a rubber spatula for a couple of minutes to make the frosting SUPER smooth. Place the frosting in a large piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip and seal the top of the bag with a rubber band or clip. Set aside.
Chocolate Ganache Drip
- Place 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Heat 1/3 cup heavy cream in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until it's steaming and just starting to bubble. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stovetop, you can heat the cream over medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat.
- Gently pour the heavy cream over the chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is fully covered by the cream. Let the mixture sit for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir the mixture together until the cream and chocolate are fully combined and the mixture is smooth.
- Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is just slightly warm to the touch.
Decorating These Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes
- Use the wide opening of a large frosting tip or a small knife to remove the center from each cooled cupcake.
- Fill each cupcake with a little less than a Tbsp of your favorite peanut butter.
- Pipe a dollop of peanut butter frosting on top of each cupcake. Chill the cupcakes in the fridge for 15 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes to help the frosting firm up.
- While the cupcakes chill, warm up the remaining peanut butter for 10 seconds, or until it's thin enough to be drizzled.
- Remove the cupcakes from the fridge or freezer and drizzle with warm chocolate ganache and peanut butter. Add a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and/or flaky sea salt, then enjoy!
Ingredient Swaps & Substitutions
For a detailed list of ingredient swaps and substitutions that can be made in each component of this recipe, please refer to the "swaps and substitutions" section above.
Making Mini Cupcakes
If you want to make mini chocolate cupcakes, this recipe can be baked in mini muffin tins! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, and they only need to bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 F / 175 C.
Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes
- Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
- Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure and then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
- Once you add the flour, mix the cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure the cupcakes bake up tender and fluffy.
- Use a large cookie scoop to fill your cupcake liners easily. It also makes sure the cupcakes end up being the same height.
- Seal off the top of your piping bag with a rubber band to prevent any frosting from seeping out the top of the bag and make the piping bag easier to use.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcake Variations
To make gluten-free chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, swap in your favorite gluten-free flour blend for the AP flour this recipe calls for. Be sure to over-mix your batter and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before baking for best results.
Making These Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes in Advance & Storage Tips
You can make these cupcakes in advance! Frosted cupcakes can sit at room temperature overnight or be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
They can also last up to a month in the freezer. If you plan to freeze them, I suggest waiting to fill and frost them until they're thawed.
You can also make the buttercream ahead of time or save any leftovers. This buttercream frosting will last in the fridge for up to a month.
Be sure to stir the frosting well once it thaws to make the consistency nice and smooth again.
You can also store buttercream in a piping bag in the fridge. I find buttercream keeps its consistency well in piping bags and doesn't require any mixing after it's thawed.
Amount Per Serving Calories 700Total Fat 44gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 82mgSodium 396mgCarbohydrates 71gFiber 3gSugar 56gProtein 11g