My Peanut Butter Cupcakes are carefully designed to be perfectly moist and fluffy. We’ll top them off with a swirled chocolate peanut butter icing that is surprisingly easy to make! Recipe includes a how-to video.
The Prettiest Peanut Butter Cupcakes
I am so excited to be sharing these peanut butter cupcakes with you today! This carefully-tested recipe was meticulously designed to yield light and fluffy, flavorful and moist cupcakes that absolutely melt in your mouth. They’re topped with a beautiful (but easy!) swirl of chocolate peanut butter frosting that complements the cake perfectly. If you’re a chocolate & peanut butter fan, you’re just going to love these.
With its rich, creamy texture, you may be surprised to find out that peanut butter is actually very drying and can be quite difficult to bake with. As a result, perfecting this recipe was quite a challenge, especially since peanut butter can make things more dense as well, and I wanted these to be light and fluffy (even lighter than my peanut butter chocolate chip muffins). Lots of tweaking and testing happened before this one was ready to share, but we finally nailed it!
Why you should try my recipe:
- Super moist, thanks to a few carefully selected ingredients.
- Makes 24 cupcakes–great for parties!
- Impressive two-tone frosting swirl (that’s actually super easy to do!).
- Easy: no creaming butter, sifting flour, or whipping eggs.
What You Need
Don’t be overwhelmed by everything up there–these peanut butter cupcakes are very easy to make. Just make sure to pay close attention to the following ingredients:
- Peanut butter. Use “regular” creamy peanut butter and not the natural kind that separates. If you like the crunch, you could use crunchy peanut butter in the cupcakes themselves, but I don’t recommend it for the frosting.
- Cake flour. Using cake flour helps us achieve a light and fluffy texture while still incorporating peanut butter in the batter. All-purpose flour could yield a more dense result, which I actively wanted to avoid.
- Sour cream. Sour cream adds flavor and moisture (a note taken from my yellow cake). Full-fat greek yogurt will also work!
- Milk. Milk helps lighten the cupcakes and keeps them from being too dense. I prefer to bake with whole milk and recommend it here for best results.
- Cocoa powder. I like using natural cocoa powder here, but you could use Dutch process cocoa powder instead. The flavor will be more intense if you do.
SAM’S TIP: The swirled frosting may look complicated, but the preparation is actually very simple. It’s also irresistibly tasty (reminds me of peanut butter buckeyes). Note: This recipe makes a fair bit of frosting so you have enough to make nice swirls on each cupcake.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- Combine the dry ingredients – Whisk together the dry ingredients and sugar in a bowl, then stir in the melted butter and oil.
- Add the wet ingredients – Add the peanut butter, then stir in the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until well combined. Slowly drizzle in the milk and stir until the batter is uniform.
- Bake – Divide the batter into a 12-count muffin pan and bake for 22-24 minutes at 350F. Use the toothpick test to make sure your cupcakes are done, and do NOT over-bake!
- Cool before frosting – Let the cupcakes cool in their pan for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Make the peanut butter frosting – Prepare the peanut butter frosting until smooth and creamy, then divide half the frosting into a piping bag.
- Make the chocolate frosting – Add cocoa powder to the remaining frosting and mix until incorporated. Place this frosting in a piping bag as well.
- Create the swirl – Trim the ends and put both piping bags into a larger piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip.
- Frost and enjoy! Pipe the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes.
SAM’S TIP: Your cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or (preferably) with a few moist crumbs. The cracks on top of the cupcakes might still look underdone at this point, but if your toothpick shows the cupcakes are ready, take them out. If you leave them in too long, your cupcakes will be dry and crumbly.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t want to use a peanut butter/chocolate frosting, you can just do a batch of my peanut butter frosting or a batch of one of my other frostings (my favorite chocolate frosting or white chocolate buttercream would be good choices).
My recipe is carefully designed to be moist and light, but unfortunately this won’t matter much if you over-bake your cupcakes! This is the worst offense with this recipe (with most cakes, really) and is the top cause for dry cupcakes.
Adding too much flour or using a “natural” peanut butter can also cause your cupcakes to be dry.
If you’re worried about the flavor, I can assure you that adding sour cream to your cupcake batter won’t make it taste like sour cream. Instead, it will make your cupcakes more flavorful and tender, and it will also make them more moist.
If you can’t find sour cream where you live, full-fat Greek yogurt will also work. But I don’t recommend leaving this ingredient out entirely.
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- 3 cups (335 g) cake flour
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup (260 g) creamy peanut butter
- 3 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240 g) sour cream
- ¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line two 12-count cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.3 cups (335 g) cake flour, 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add melted butter and oil and use an electric mixer to stir until all flour is moistened.12 Tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable or canola oil
- Stir in peanut butter.1 cup (260 g) creamy peanut butter
- Add eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream and stir until thoroughly combined.3 large eggs, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 cup (240 g) sour cream
- Slowly drizzle in milk and stir until completely combined and batter is smooth and uniform.¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk
- Evenly divide batter into prepared cupcake tin.
- Transfer to center rack of 350F (175C) oven (I only bake one tray at a time) and bake for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or (preferably) with moist crumbs. Cupcake surfaces will crack, the cracks may still appear wet when the cupcakes are finished baking. Do not over-bake or cupcakes will be dry and crumbly.
- Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 minutes before gently, carefully removing to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirled Frosting & Decorating
- Combine butter, peanut butter, vanilla extract and salt and stir until smooth and creamy.1 ½ cup (340 g) unsalted butter, 1 ½ cup (390 g) creamy peanut butter, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt
- Gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined. Thin frosting as needed by adding milk, one tablespoon at a time, until smooth and creamy.4 cups (500 g) powdered sugar, 1-3 Tablespoons milk
- Measure out approximately half of the frosting into a disposable piping bag and set aside.
- Add cocoa powder to remaining half of frosting and stir until completely combined. If needed, thin the frosting with additional milk.½ cup (50 g) natural cocoa powder
- Transfer chocolate frosting to another piping bag. Snip the ends off both frosting bags and place in an additional piping bag that’s been fitted with a large closed star piping tip (I use Ateco 848) together. Pipe swirled frosting onto cupcakes (note that the first bit you pipe may not be swirled but as both frostings work their way through you’ll get a nice swirl!).
Peanut butterI recommend classic creamy peanut butter for this recipe. Natural peanut butter won’t work as well and will negatively alter the texture of both the cupcake and the frosting.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.