Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle

July 9, 2010

And then, there were these. I asked Will to pick a birthday cake of his choice. From the top on down: Brittle, then PB Frosting, then more brittle, then milk chocolate ganache, then chocolate cake. Did they take 5 HOURS to make? Yes. Did the cupcakes sink? Yes. Was the frosting a little too thin? Yes. Did anyone care? HELL NO. Because they are Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle. And they have rocked my world.

In the original recipe, the cake somehow fell apart completely on its own. So I decided to find a different chocolate cake recipe. During this search, I managed to find the BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE in the history of mankind. These cupcakes managed to sink (usually a problem that is the fault of either using too much leavening or baking at altitude). I attribute their sinking to the fact that while using eight 1/4 teaspoon measurements to attain 2 teaspoons baking soda, I stopped mid-count to belt along with the chorus of “Don’t Stop Believing” and then immediately lost count. I’m just being honest. It happens.

This actually turned out to be a very fortunate mistake. The cupcakes made little pools to collect milk chocolate ganache and brittle. Isn’t this the good part about cooking? Sometimes mistakes or lapses in foresight turn out more perfectly than what you’d hoped. The waffle cone, after all, was invented when a Coney Island Ice Cream Scooper ran out of bowls.

The last thing I will say about these cakes is that they were MESSY. I mean, seriously messy. So I would like to suggest that if you’d like to make these, they’d be best as a trifle. Instead of cupcakes, make 2 layer cakes and alternate the cake with the brittle, ganache, and frosting in a clear trifle bowl or glass bowl.

Summary: Make these if you really like cooking and don’t mind devoting a LOT of time to it. But they are ha-mazing.

Happy Birthday Will!

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH MILK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING AND PEANUT BRITTLE (Cake from Double Chocolate Layer Cake by Deb at smittenkitchen, Frosting and Brittle (and idea) from Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle at thebittenword)



* Vegetable oil
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 cup chopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
* 1 teaspoon creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)*
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


* 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
* 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
* 3 cups sugar
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 3 large eggs
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
* 3/4 teaspoon vanilla


* 4 oz imported milk chocolate, chopped
* 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
* 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
* 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
* 3/4 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)*
* 3/4 cup chilled mascarpone cheese**



Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; brush with oil. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Immediately stir in peanuts and all remaining ingredients. Scrape out mixture onto prepared sheet; spread out to about 13×9-inch rectangle. Cool completely. Coarsely chop enough brittle to measure 1 cup and finely chop enough to measure 1/2 cup. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in separate airtight containers at room temperature.


Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease cupcake pans. Line with cupcake tins

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter, filling each tin 1/2-3/4 full, and bake until a tester inserted comes out clean (13-18 minutes).

Cool cupcakes on racks. Cupcakes may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.


Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring 5 tablespoons cream just to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream over chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand until thick enough to spread, whisking occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Beat powdered sugar, 1 1/2 cups chilled cream, and peanut butter in large bowl just until blended. Add mascarpone; beat frosting just until thickened (do not overbeat).

Set out cupcakes. Divide milk chocolate filling evenly between them; sprinkle each cupcake with finely chopped peanut brittle. Spread with frosting. Chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before continuing.

Place coarsely chopped brittle over top of cupcakes and serve.


For this recipe, thebittenword used creamy (smooth) all-natural peanut butter. To make sure you’re buying the right stuff, check the label. There should be only two ingredients: peanuts and salt. This style of peanut butter may have a layer of oil (from the peanuts) on top. If it does, chill the jar for a few hours, then slowly mix until smooth. Don’t use freshly ground peanut butter: It can have inconsistent flavor and texture.


4 Responses to “Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle”

  1. Julia Says:

    1) These sound amazing.

    2) Is Will raising the roof in that last picture? I hope so. Happy (belated) Birthday, Will!

  2. Leah Says:

    I obviously wish I could have partaken in that food and those festivities.

  3. Lily Says:

    seriously, elizabeth! this looks amaaaazing! and i don’t even care for peanut brittle!

  4. […] Hungry for more peanut butter and chocolate marriages? Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle […]

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