Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Frosting ~ Bribing my way through motherhood one cupcake at a time. And this one is what good bribes are made of.

Chocolate Cupcakes with  Peanut Butter Mousse Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Frosting

A top ten in my house, this tender crumbed dark chocolate cupcake shines even more when it is coupled with a creamy peanut butter mousse. It’s also a cupcake that I save for serious bribery when I need it.

What does one do when you are only three years into motherhood and you have an ankle biter in Target ready to have the kind of fit that would bring King Kong to his knees? You bribe him and stare down the judgmental glares of other well seasoned moms, or the worst, non-mother glares.

That’s right, bribery will get you everywhere and it got me out of Target without the both of us having a complete meltdown.

The deal I cut is what you see here. I promised my son, Cole, that if he let me finish running all my Saturday errands I would bake his special most favorite cupcake.

The foul in my bribe was when I promised him that I would have his special, baked yummies by the evening.

Thankfully, Matt can sense me coming undone before it happens and was kind of enough to offer me some quiet time by taking Cole to swim.

That was just enough time for me to re-group and bake my way back to happiness. Like most of you, baking is therapy for me.

And these Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Mousse Frosting brought the kind of smile that brings peace back into my sometimes frenzied world of motherhood.

A few notes

  • Do not double this recipe, instead make two batches.
  • Cupcakes can be made two days ahead and kept in an airtight container on the counter.
  • The original recipe for the frosting calls for 1 cup of peanut butter but my boys found it too heavy in flavor, so I reduced it by a 1/4 cup.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to enter  my Chicago Metallic Bakerware Set Giveway. Giveaway is now closed.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Yields 12 Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup sour cream

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream



1. Place butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan with two inches of simmering water.  Gently stir butter and chocolate until melted and combined. Set aside until mixture is warm to touch.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
3. Whisk eggs in second bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.
4. Fill cupcake line 2/3 full. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
5. Cool cupcakes to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1. Beat heavy cream with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Set aside.
2. Place remaining ingredients in a bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until creamy.
3. Fold peanut butter mixture into whipped cream with a wooden spoon until combined.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

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  1. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    those look wonderful! and the lighting is PERFECT!
    glad to hear that the ‘deal’ worked out well =D
    i dont doubt that negotiating with kids is difficult.

  2. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Yum! These look delicious! The cupcake recipe looks like a winner. Bribery may be looked down on, but really, if you get well behaved children and cupcakes out of the mix, sounds like a win win to me! 😉

  3. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Oh goodness – these could not look more perfect. I could sure use one right now to get me through the rest of this Monday.

  4. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Chocolate and peanut butter anything is always a win for me. These look scrumptious. I’d happily be bribed by these! 😛

  5. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Oh, I think it’s the women who don’t want kids or the ones who forget what it’s like having little ones under your feet who do the glaring in those moments. Any mom toting along a kid in Target has been there and done that. : ) And who wouldn’t behave if this cupcake was the payoff?? They look awesome!

  6. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonKathy says

    And to think…I almost ordered cupcakes from the gourmet cupcake place in town! Phsh! I’m well on my way to making my own gourmet cupcakes with this recipe.

  7. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    I always kick mine up a bit by popping a peanut butter cup right in the middle of the ‘cakes halfway thru the bake time. =)

  8. Avatar for Naomi Robinsonrebecca b. says

    I wonder if almond butter could be used for this frosting. If I saw a mother in Target with a melt-down-waiting-to-happen kid, I’d want to go hug her.

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — July 27th, 2010 @ 5:42 pm


      What a great idea. I love almond butter and since I can’t eat peanut butter, I’m going to make that on my next cupcake!

      Thanks! Naomi

  9. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Yum, these look great! I would have to try these on bigger kids (my nieces and nephews). I like that you suggested making two batches instead of doubling the recipe. I always wonder which ones are adaptable that way. Beautiful!

  10. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonJenn says

    What size cupcakes do these make? Are they minis or normal size? I am going to make them for my friend’s bday. She is obsessed with PB and chocolate.

    • Avatar for Naomi Robinson

      Naomi replied: — August 17th, 2010 @ 2:33 am

      Hi Jenn,

      These are regular cupcakes. If she is obsessed with PB and chocolate she will love these!


  11. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Naomi, gorgeous photo! You obviously didn’t need the photography session at camp last Saturday! I make regular chocolate cupcakes and just did gluten-free. Think next time I’ll do them with this peanut butter frosting.

  12. Avatar for Naomi Robinsonhaley says

    I am in the process of making the frosting recipe for different cupcakes but the consistency of mine is too runny to be piped. Which is sad because I love piping my frosting its the only way I go. Any hints on how to make it a good piping consistency? I popped it in the fridge hoping that will work. Thanks.

  13. Avatar for Naomi Robinsonoprah's super soul sunday says

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  14. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonDelayla says

    made these cupcakes and had some friends over, and they all loved it. this is really a great and easy recipe for some super yummy cupcakes for chocolate lovers, =)
    thanks for shearing this recipe with us.
    Aloha Delayla

  15. Avatar for Naomi Robinsonteritheterrible says

    The taste is spot on. However, the consistency was a bit dry for my taste. I believe a 1/4 cup of vegetable or coconut oil will go a long way. Also adding a mini Reese’s cup at 10 minutes just pushes things over the edge.

  16. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonSandra says

    I sure hope this frosting comes out!!!!been looking for one so many and I have tried so many none have worked