chocolate cupcakes + peanut butter frosting

by Brittney

When it comes to crowd-pleasing flavor combos, you can never go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter! Top these rich chocolate cupcakes with our favorite creamy peanut butter buttercream and you’ve got yourself a dessert that’s sure to impress!

Anytime I make a dessert with peanut butter and chocolate it always seems to disappear quickly. There’s just something about the sweet and salty flavor combination that makes the pairing irresistible! So when I was thinking about which frosting to make with my classic chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter buttercream immediately came to mind. These chocolate peanut butter cupcakes were super easy to whip up and I know we’ll be making them again and again!

plate of three frosted chocolate cupcakes

baking with kefir

These chocolate cupcakes call for ½ cup (120 ml) of kefir, which is actually something that I wasn’t super familiar with until I met Viktor. While it’s incredibly popular and widely used throughout Russia, I’ve only started seeing it on shelves in the US in recent years. But it’s not difficult to understand why the fermented milk drink has become so popular — kefir is high in probiotics, an excellent source of many nutrients, and possesses antibacterial properties. And an added bonus? It’s incredibly low in lactose which is excellent for our lactose-intolerant selves.

Because of the many health benefits, as well as Viktor’s love of kefir, we almost always have a bottle in the fridge. And while I don’t fully love the taste of kefir straight from the bottle, I have been trying to incorporate it into more of our recipes. It’s tangy, sour flavor makes a perfect base for creamy dipping sauces and dressings and it’s acidity creates deliciously moist and tender cakes and cupcakes!

If you don’t have kefir on hand you can definitely substitute buttermilk in equal proportions. But I’d definitely recommend grabbing a bottle the next time you’re at the supermarket just to give it a try!

plate of three chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

chocolate cupcakes

This is my go-to recipe anytime I need a chocolate cupcake base. It’s super standard with the only somewhat unfamiliar ingredient in the lineup being kefir (which can easily be substituted for buttermilk).

To make the cupcakes, first mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Then just gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. The main thing to remember here is to not overmix the batter, which will result in a tougher texture. You want all of the ingredients fully incorporated, but as soon as that happens you can put your whisk down!

Now divide your cupcakes evenly among 12 liners and bake to perfection! You’ll know they’re done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

chocolate cupcakes in tin with frosting

peanut butter frosting

And now the peanut butter frosting! To make this deliciously creamy buttercream, you’ll just need butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter and a few tablespoons of liquid. We used kefir since we already had it out for the cupcakes, but heavy cream or whole milk would work just as well. You may just need to use a bit less liquid to get the right consistency depending on which you choose. As for the peanut butter, we used natural creamy peanut butter. You definitely don’t want to use something overly sweet as the powdered sugar already adds enough sweetness to the buttercream. 

To make the buttercream, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth and then mix in the powdered sugar and a few tablespoons of kefir. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. The measurements provided usually create the perfect consistency to pipe pretty peanut butter swirls onto the cupcakes, but you can definitely adjust your buttercream to taste. For a thinner frosting, add a tablespoon or so more of kefir and to thicken the frosting just add a bit more powdered sugar.

bite shot of chocolate cupcake

Need more recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth? Here are some of our favorites!

close up of chocolate cupcake
plate of three chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

chocolate cupcakes + peanut butter frosting

serves: 12 prep time: cook time:
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

ingredients

chocolate cupcakes
  • flour 1 c (120 g)
  • cocoa powder ½ c (60 g)
  • sugar ½ c (100 g)
  • brown sugar ¼ c (50 g)
  • baking powder ½ tsp
  • baking soda ½ tsp
  • salt ¼ tsp
  • eggs 2 large
  • vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • vegetable oil ⅓ c (80 ml)
  • kefir ½ c (120 ml)
  • (or substitute buttermilk)
peanut butter frosting
  • softened butter ½ c (115 g)
  • creamy peanut butter 1 c (240 g)
  • powdered sugar 2 c (240 g)
  • kefir (or milk) 2 tbsp

instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla extract and oil. Stir in the kefir until just combined.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until fully incorporated. Be careful not to overmix!
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake for 16-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter and peanut butter until combined. Mix in the powdered sugar and kefir. Continue beating until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too stiff, add a few more tablespoons of kefir. And if you'd like a thicker consistency, add a bit more powdered sugar.
  7. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag or use a knife to frost the cupcakes.

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