Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Most of the cupcake recipes I’ve found online are for, at a minimum, 18-24 cupcakes.  I developed this recipe for those times when I don’t feel like supplying the neighborhood with baked goods.  I just want enough cupcakes to feel like maybe I shouldn’t eat another cupcake, but oh look there’s only 4 cupcakes left, I better eat another before they’re all gone.  Like, that many cupcakes.  I also made the recipe for an appropriate amount of frosting to frost these cupcakes and then turn around and stick one spoonful of frosting in your mouth before giving someone else the bowl to scrape with their finger.  So, a “love yourself” amount of frosting.  Stick with me guys, I got all the tricks 🤫

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes and just enough frosting to cover them, and not one bit more 😉 

Cupcakes
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 1 cup granulated sugar
 ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
 1 tsp baking soda
 ½ tsp baking powder
 ½ tsp fine grain salt
 1 large egg
 ½ cup buttermilk
 ½ cup warm brewed coffee + 1/2 tsp instant espresso added
 ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil, like canola
 1 tsp vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
 1 stick unsalted, room temperature, butter
 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1/2 of a standard block)
 ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
 1 tbsp Whole milk or cream
Fancy Garnishes for Fancy Reasons (optional)
 Some chopped up roasted peanuts
 Some chopped up candies like Reese’s Crunchers (they have a lot of yummy bits in them!)

Let’s make cupcakes!
1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin pan with muffin cup liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, warm coffee, oil and vanilla. Give this a little mix. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed for 2 full minutes. (Batter will be pretty darn thin and you'll think you messed up everything. Fear not! This is what we're going for.) Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. This cupcake recipe will not "dome" all crazy-like, but you still don't want to overfill, because then they'll spill over the edges of the liners a bit as they bake.

But listen, things happen. If they bake over the edge of the liners and you want it to look cleaner, I got you! After the cupcakes cool, use a small pair of scissors and trim the edges up a bit. Bonus: you get to eat the trimmings. I’m always looking out for you, buddy 😉

2

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, rotating your pans halfway through (just give 'em a 180˚ spin). They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Who loves frosting?! We do!!
3

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla, beating until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add in the milk and increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

4

Frost your fully cooled cupcakes by whatever method you are comfortable using. That can mean just using a butter knife to schmear a good dollop of frosting over the tops, or you can use a plastic zip top bag or a piping bag fitted with a tip and pipe the frosting on top in swirls or dollops. Whatever you decide, just get frosting on the top. You’re going to eat them no matter what.

Finally, you can garnish the tops of your cupcakes fancy-like with chopped peanuts or, like me, crush up some Reese’s Crunchers and sprinkle them on top. It’s all delicious and headed straight for a mouth near you 😋

Ingredients

Cupcakes
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 1 cup granulated sugar
 ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
 1 tsp baking soda
 ½ tsp baking powder
 ½ tsp fine grain salt
 1 large egg
 ½ cup buttermilk
 ½ cup warm brewed coffee + 1/2 tsp instant espresso added
 ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil, like canola
 1 tsp vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
 1 stick unsalted, room temperature, butter
 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1/2 of a standard block)
 ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
 1 tbsp Whole milk or cream
Fancy Garnishes for Fancy Reasons (optional)
 Some chopped up roasted peanuts
 Some chopped up candies like Reese’s Crunchers (they have a lot of yummy bits in them!)

Directions

Let’s make cupcakes!
1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin pan with muffin cup liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, warm coffee, oil and vanilla. Give this a little mix. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed for 2 full minutes. (Batter will be pretty darn thin and you'll think you messed up everything. Fear not! This is what we're going for.) Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. This cupcake recipe will not "dome" all crazy-like, but you still don't want to overfill, because then they'll spill over the edges of the liners a bit as they bake.

But listen, things happen. If they bake over the edge of the liners and you want it to look cleaner, I got you! After the cupcakes cool, use a small pair of scissors and trim the edges up a bit. Bonus: you get to eat the trimmings. I’m always looking out for you, buddy 😉

2

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, rotating your pans halfway through (just give 'em a 180˚ spin). They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Who loves frosting?! We do!!
3

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla, beating until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add in the milk and increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

4

Frost your fully cooled cupcakes by whatever method you are comfortable using. That can mean just using a butter knife to schmear a good dollop of frosting over the tops, or you can use a plastic zip top bag or a piping bag fitted with a tip and pipe the frosting on top in swirls or dollops. Whatever you decide, just get frosting on the top. You’re going to eat them no matter what.

Finally, you can garnish the tops of your cupcakes fancy-like with chopped peanuts or, like me, crush up some Reese’s Crunchers and sprinkle them on top. It’s all delicious and headed straight for a mouth near you 😋

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

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