the best chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

chocolate banana
These are the cupcakes from my cousin’s baby shower I hosted 4 years ago (I used yellow food colouring paste for the Winnie the Pooh theme).

No joke – these are awesome. They are so deliciously decadent, yet light and moist, and perfect in every way if you’re a fan of the classic combo of peanut butter and chocolate. Hands down the most baked cupcake in this household and everyone at any age who has tasted them goes back for another! My first introduction to this cake was when I turned 30 and one of my dearest friends Abby came to surprise visit me, peanut butter chocolate cake in hand.  I still have memories of the first bite – probably honestly one of the best cakes I’ve ever had, fancy restaurants included. When I asked her for the recipe she said it was from a blog called Smitten Kitchen. Ever since I’ve been on that blog for various baking recipes and I’m never disappointed.


chocolate jumbo
This is a jumbo sized one I made a few years ago for one of my daughter’s birthdays.

I have tweaked and played around with this recipe to recreate it’s scrumptiousness into a cupcake. I promise you will love it.  Recently I hosted a baking playdate with some friends who wanted to learn how to make and ice cupcakes from scratch. We all had our share of cupcakes that day and it’s safe to say when they shared with their family and friends everyone wanted the recipe.

Practice practice practice! Here’s my friend using a piping bag and icing tip for the first time ever – the first few are tricky and always look a bit lopsided – by the 5th or 6th she was a pro! We forgot to take a picture though!!


I guarantee you won’t be sad you made 28 cupcakes! Yes…28 cupcakes. If you’re hosting a much smaller party and do not want left-overs (trust me…they freeze well so you do!) – then go ahead and cut the recipe in half! I have done that before and it makes about 15.

what you need:

chocolate cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 eggs

peanut butter frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar (maybe a bit more)
  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk
mmm – that first bite!

what to do:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. If you have a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment. In a small bowl, mix together vanilla, water, and vinegar.
  2. Add melted coconut oil (must be melted into liquid form) and yogurt, mix to combine.
  3. Slowly add water mixture so that it incorporates and a smooth batter forms.
  4. Add one egg at a time. I like to crack my eggs into a small bowl first to avoid accidentally dropping shells into the batter bowl.
  5. Mix well – scraping down the bowl with a spatula once or twice to make sure everything is mixed well.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  7. Line cupcake tins (muffin tins) with regular sized cups – I used 3 trays and baked them at the same time with my convection setting. You can also do this in batches (i.e. one tray at a time!)
  8. Fill cups only 3/4 way with batter – do not overfill as it will rise too far up and then they won’t be as pretty and have that cupcake look when you frost them. Tip: Make your life easier by transferring batter to a jug with a spout so that you can pour batter into the cups easily.
    chocolate cupcakes
    When they rise, you want them within the cup so that the frosting looks nice! Take care not to overfill or they will come out looking like muffins. (no one wants a muffin top…šŸ˜)
  9. Bake in centre racks for 15-18 minutes – this really depends on your oven so go shy with the time and check every minute after it beeps. You can do the toothpick trick (it’s ready when the toothpick comes out with soft crumbly crumbs but not sopping wet) – or you can tap the top of the cupcakes gently with your finger and if it bounces back up it’s ready. If it’s still raw in the middle it will stick to your finger / appear wet. Tip: Cupcakes will continue to bake even when you remove them from the oven – so even if you’re not sure it’s probably going to be done by the time they are cool enough to handle! Always go shy on baking time to avoid dry and over baked cake.
  10.  Once they are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. This is a soft cake so handle with care! I sometimes use two forks to gently and gingerly get them out of the tray and then get them to the cooling rack.

While they cool…get the frosting ready!

  1. Using your handheld electric whisk or stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat butter until very soft, smooth and fluffy, a paler colour (almost white) compared to how it looked as a brick (more yellow).
  2. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat one more time to be sure all the butter is whipped.
  3. Gradually, about 1 cup at a time, add the icing sugar and beat well – it should be light and fluffy. Add 1 tbsp milk, vanilla and peanut butter. Beat well.
  4. Check consistency and taste – if you want a creamier frosting, add a bit more milk. If you want firmer, add another 1/4 cup icing sugar.
  5. Frost your cupcakes and enjoy! A fun way to frost them is to use a piping bag and a special tip. Tip: Easiest way to fill the bag is by placing it into a tall heavy sturdy glass, and remember to twist or elastic the top so that when you squeeze, the icing comes out the tip and not into your hands at the top of the bag!
  6. ENJOY! Freeze any left overs in an airtight container and bring to room temperature to enjoy another day.  Really important to enjoy at room temperature so that the frosting is dreamily soft and lickable!
  7. IMG_9861
    My little bubbalubs enjoying his first cupcake on his 1st birthday a month ago. 

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