chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Cakes, Southern Desserts

These lovely chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting are made totally from scratch. You’ll be surprised at how easy this cake recipe is, and you’re sure to love it more than any boxed mix!

Chocolate peanut butter cake is just one of those things I just crave. If I see an advertisement for a fancy cake delivery service that will ship me one for 200 bucks, oh yes, I’m almost ready to be that sucker! But luckily, my own recipe then quickly comes to mind… and I’m in my kitchen 5 minutes later, whipping up this cake.

Unlike our chocolate pound cake, this cake is not a dense cake, and uses oil instead of butter. It is light and fluffy and moist.

Timing Your Baking

I usually make this delicious chocolate cake into an easy sheet cake or cupcakes. You can also create a layer cake. For a simple layer cake, you will use two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.

You’ll need to bake your cake for a longer or shorter time, depending on the type of pan you use. These times are all for a baking temperature of 350 F.

  • Two 8 or 9 inch round pans, for a layer cake – 20-25 minutes
  • 8 x 11 rectangular pan, for a sheet cake – 30 minutes
  • Cupcake tin – 12-15 minutes

Chocolate Cake (or Cupcake) Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour or cake flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs (room temperature) 
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water


Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt until the dry mixture is well combined.

Begin stirring in the milk and oil into dry mixture. Add the 2 eggs. Stir in the vanilla. Begin beating the mixture with your electric hand mixer until the batter is smooth.

On your stovetop, boil your cup of water. Carefully pour it into your batter and stir to incorporate. Use your mixer once more to ensure the batter is well combined. The batter will be somewhat thin.

Grease and lightly flour your 8 x 12 pan, then pour in the batter.

Bake at 350F for the time specified for your pan type, then check for doneness. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.

chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter – regular smooth, not “natural”
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Frosting Your Chocolate Cupcakes with the Peanut Butter Frosting

For the frosting, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a smooth peanut butter, and select one that is not marketed as “natural”. The consistency of the natural types, particularly those where the oil must be stirred in, will not work well for frosting.

Use your mixer to blend together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter. Take a taste, and add more powdered sugar and/or peanut butter per your sweetness preference.

Pipe the frosting on top of your cupcakes or spread onto your sheet cake.

For layer cakes: Let the two cakes cool, then frost the top one of the cakes. A thick frosting layer for the middle of the cake is good! You can also top the middle layer with chocolate chips for an extra-special filling. Then carefully add your other cake layer to the top. Finally, frost the outside of your cake. (You may need to double your batch of frosting for a layer cake.)

For extra decadence, drizzle your frosted cake or cupcakes with our chocolate ganache.

We hope you’ll enjoy our Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting!

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