Ok, so tomorrow is my friend & co-worker Steve's birthday. As I do for all my 'teammates', I am making a little something to bring to the office and celebrate. I know for sure that Steve likes Reese's peanut butter cups (I mean, let's be honest - who doesn't?) so I did a quick search for some inspiring chocolate & peanut butter recipes.
This search lead me to the Hershey's website, where I found these glorious looking Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layered Cupcakes. Behold:
Copyright @ The Hershey Company
Beautiful, right? This looked like a winner.
But, ummm... mine don't look anything like that when they came out of the oven.
Hmm... so let me explain a couple things. There is something in the Hershey recipe that seems darn near impossible to me - "spreading" the peanut butter layer on top of the batter. How does one spread a thick frosting on top of a thin batter? Skeptic that I am, I wasn't about to find out. So I just sort of plopped the peanut butter layers on, and in my opinion they came out fine. Whether you attempt to spread or not is completely up to you :)
I also thought that these cupcakes would benefit from a little upgrade - a meager sprinkling of chocolate & peanut butter chips just was not doing it for me. So I felt that some frosting was definitely in order to kick this up a notch. (Not to mention that with the icing on top, it really doesn't matter what the cupcakes look like out of the oven!) I found a good frosting candidate on Bakerella's blog, posted as part of her Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake. (Which I have yet to try but it looks amazing, by the way!) So after making the Hershey cupcakes minus the chip topping, I whipped up this icing to finish it all off. I even added chopped up Reese's cups to the top for a little extra pizazz! Here is the end result:
...which I am happy with and I'm sure Steve will be too. Although - Mr. Vittles and I split one, and I won't lie to you guys ... in my opinion, they probably look a little better than they taste. If I made them again in the future, I might try a sassier chocolate batter. This one is a little lacking in the flavor department. But overall, I would say they were a success. Mr. Vittles gave them a "Pretty good..." + smirk + double eyebrow raise of approval. Which is actually pretty serious business. And... they sure do look purdy! :)
Soooo... here's the recipe I followed. Enjoy!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosted Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 C. flour
- 1/3 C. cocoa
- 1 C. packed brown sugar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/3 C. canola oil
- 1 C. water
- 1 T white vinegar
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 C. creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 C. granulated sugar
- 1/3 C. powdered sugar
- 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 C. heavy cream
- 1/4 C. peanut butter
- optional: 4 large peanut butter cups, chopped, for topping
Heat oven 350°. Place paper baking cup in each of 16 regular-size muffin cups. (That's how many mine made - depending on how much batter you put into each cup, you may have more).
In large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add oil, water, vinegar and vanilla to flour mixture, stirring just until smooth (do not over-mix). In another large bowl, beat egg, cream cheese, peanut butter and granulated sugar with mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar & beat until creamy.
Spoon a tablespoon chocolate batter into each cup (I used a small ladle). Then spoon about a tablespoon of peanut butter filling onto batter. Repeat with another layer of chocolate batter, and then peanut butter filling on top. *Tip: if you end up with empty spaces in the muffin tin, you can fill them with a little water right before baking to allow for even heating in the oven.
Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove from pan to cooling rack; cool completely.
Once cupcakes are cooled, chop dark chocolate and place in a medium bowl. Over medium heat in small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate in bowl and whisk until melted. Then whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Frost cupcakes (being careful of messy drips down the side) and add chopped peanut butter cups to the tops if desired. Place cupcakes in refrigerator 1 hour to set icing before serving.
Recipes adapted from Hershey's Kitchens and Bakerella