Granddaughter Bella and I were having a Girls Night, complete with sleepover, snacks, and Wii games. Before we hit the snacks and Wii, we needed to bake cupcakes for a family birthday party the next day. Bella loves to bake and was excited about filling cupcakes. This was going to be a new experience for both of us.
I’d researched ways to best stuff the cupcakes with a creation I’d describe as a chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake filling. I’d made it earlier in the day so it would be set up well by the time we made the cupcakes. I loaded the filling into a piping bag set in a glass. We just needed to cut off the tip and pipe the filling into the cupcakes.
We stuck to a basic box mix for our cupcakes. A simple chocolate fudge cake mix is my favorite to make. I am ultra picky about how long to bake cupcakes and cakes. Box directions are just guidelines; I set my timer at least 5 minutes before the recommended time and use a toothpick. The second the toothpick comes out dry, those cakes come out of the oven fast! Placed on a rack to cool faster, they are always moist and perfect.
Bella was happy hold the hand mixer and beat the cake as I timed her. We used a big Tupperware mixing pitcher so we could pour the batter into the muffin cups. Bella filled 24 cups with cupcake liners and I portioned out the cake batter among the cups. We put them into the oven I’d preheated to 350°F and set the timer. The box said 18-23 minutes but I knew they’d be done quicker.
I tested the cupcakes with a wooden toothpick at 15 minutes and the toothpick came out clean. Great! I set the pans of cupcakes on racks on the table to cool. Bella and I played games on my Wii until I was sure the cupcakes were ready for handling.
I used a small cookie scoop to scoop portions of cake out of the center of the cupcakes. One site had suggested a cookie cutter, but I didn’t have one that small. The scoop worked great!
I set the cutouts aside in a container to replace them once the cupcakes were filled. Bella opened the peanut butter cups and put them on a chopping board while I scooped.
I cut the corner off the piping bag and showed Bella how to pipe the chocolatey peanut butter filling into the hollowed out cupcakes, leaving ½” space at the top to replace slices of the rounds I’d removed. She did a good job! Bella picked up on how to pipe in the filling pretty fast. At almost 7 she’s very patient when baking and decorating.
Filling done, I sliced the tops off of the rounds I’d removed so we could put a “cap” back on the cupcake and have a flat top again. While Bella put the caps on I opened the tub of chocolate frosting I’d bought in a tub (I know, I’m probably breaking blogger laws with my premade ingredients. It was a long, hot week). I smoothed a layer of frosting over the tops of the cupcakes then set them of a plate.
I’d roughly chopped the peanut butter cups up and put the pieces in a container. Bella sprinkled the chopped up pb cups over the tops and arranged the cupcakes in 2 containers. We sprinkled the remaining pb cups over the tops and we were done.
They looked fabulously delicious and we were proud of our efforts. Bella was so thrilled she’d been able to do so much of the baking and decorating. We put them into the refrigerator to chill until the party the next day.
When dessert was served at the party, the cupcakes were a hit. What’s not to like about cupcakes, anyway? But add a creamy filling and frosting and chopped peanut butter cups on top and you may have an item that could start a riot. Luckily nobody was hurt in the devouring of said cupcakes.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes
1 box chocolate cake mix; prepared according to box instructions
24 cupcake liners
4 ounces cream cheese; room temp
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 box instant vanilla pudding; prepared according to box instructions with one cup milk
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1 cup powdered sugar
Tub of chocolate frosting (I used Duncan Hines Whipped)
16 Reese’s PB Cups; coarsely chopped
Bake cupcakes according to box instructions and let cool on racks.
Cut a circle into the center of the cupcake about 1” round, taking care to keep the top intact. A small cookie scoop or a paring knife works well. Cut down into the cupcake about 1/2 of the way down, taking care not to reach the bottom. You want some bottom left under the filling.
In a bowl, whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the peanut butter and continue beating until smoothly mixed. Add prepared pudding, cocoa, espresso powder and powdered sugar and beat just until mixed. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Scoop filling into a zippered storage bag or piping bag and snip a small portion of a corner off for piping. Fill cupcake centers, leaving ½” from the top open.
Slice the very top off the removed centers of the cupcakes and place on top of filling.
Frost with chocolate frosting in preferred manner. I used a knife.
Sprinkle tops with roughly chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups. I liked the pieces still fairly large.