Ingredients

CUPCAKES:
½ cup smooth peanut butter (135 grams)
1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (200 grams)
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk (175 ml)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FROSTING:
4 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature (113 grams)
¼ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (56 grams)
⅓ cup smooth peanut butter (90 grams)
2 cups powdered sugar , sifted (450 grams)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
FOR ASSEMBLY:
1 cup caramel , see Note
½ cup peanuts (70 grams)

Instructions

1.TO MAKE THE CAKE:
2.Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or grease with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
3.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the peanut butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, and the mixture sticks to the sides of the bowl. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
4.In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract in a third bowl. Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the mixer in 3 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
5.Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each only half way. Bake until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 14-16 minutes. Let cool completely.
6.TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
7.Beat the cream cheese, butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together until smooth. Add enough milk or cream to get a spreadable consistency. Beat on high another 1-2 minutes until light and creamy.
8.TO ASSEMBLE THE CUPCAKES:
9.Use a small knife to cut a small well 1 inch deep into the tops of each cupcake. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the caramel into the well, it should not overflow.
10.Top each cupcake with the frosting, either with a knife or with a piping bag and tip. Drizzle the cupcakes with more caramel and top with peanuts.
11.Store cupcakes in the refrigerator.
12.Note: I used store-bought caramel ice cream topping, but you can also make your own.

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