• Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 17 minutes
  • Serves: 16

Peanut Butter Lava Fudge Cupcakes

  • Recipe Submitted by on

 Ingredients List

  • For the Hot Fudge Sauce:
  • 5 oz (140g) finely chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (1/2oz/ 15g) cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
  • 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (1⅛oz/ 32g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons milk (use water instead for a darker chocolate taste)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ tablespoons (3/4oz/ 21.3g) unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • For the Cupcakes: (you can substitute your favorite cake mix for a shortcut)
  • ½ cup (1 stick/ 4oz) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 egg, at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process* (see note)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups cake flour* (see note for substitution)
  • ⅔ cups sour cream, at room temperature
  • ¾ cups hot water (or coffee)* (see note)
  • Peanut Butter Frosting:
  • 1¼ cups (10oz/ 283g) unsalted butter, softened but still slightly cool
  • 1⅓ cups creamy peanut butter***(see note)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2¼ cups (9oz/ 255g) confectioners sugar (sift if lumpy)
  • 16 to 17 storebought or homemade chocolate-covered pretzels, for garnish (optional)****(see note)
  • Chocolate sprinkles, chopped peanuts or crushed pretzel, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2oz (15g) melted chocolate, for sticking garnish to the cupcake rim (optional)


For the cupcakes:
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350F/180F. Line 2 cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, if using a handheld mixer), whisk the butter on high speed until smooth.
Add the brown sugar and mix together until slightly lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
Scrape down the bowl, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add in the vanilla and continue mixing until lightened more in color and texture and looks fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and mix until well blended. Scrape down the bowl.
With the mixer on lowest speed, add one-third of the flour, followed by half of the sour cream, then mix to blend. Then add the second third of the flour, followed by the rest of the sour cream, mix again. End with the remaining flour and mix just until combined. Scrape the bowl as needed.
With the mixer running on medium low speed, drizzle in the hot water (or coffee) and mix until very smooth, about 1 minute. Batter will be very thin and soupy.
Portion the batter evenly among the cupcake liners (I like to use a 3 tablespoon measure ice cream scoop) until ⅔ full.
Bake until the tops spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes clean or with a few cooked crumbs attached, 16 to 17 minutes. Start checking after 15 minutes. The cupcakes might deflate slightly after they come out of the oven, but should NOT look sunken. If the do sink, that means they were underbaked. They should have slightly domed tops.
Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.
While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting (instructions below)
To make the Peanut Butter Frosting: (could be made uo to 3 days ahead)
Beat the butter, peanut butter, cream, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar, and neat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes.
*The frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Let the frosting stand at room temperature until softened, then whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.
To Assemble:
To make a hole in the cupcake, use a pairing knife to make a deep circular (1-inch in diameter) cut in the center of the cupcake. Make sure you only cut about halfway through the cupcake, and don't go all the way through the bottom. An apple corer would also work perfectly here. Using the tip of the knife, lift the cut piece of cake from deep inside and remove it completely. Let's call this the 'plug.' Cut the bottom half of the 'plug' and snack on it or do whatever you want with it. Set aside the top half of the plug, which will be used to cover the cupcake after filling them.
Using a small spoon or a piping bag or a zipper lock bag with the corner snipped off, pour in the Hot Fudge Sauce into each cupcake. Be generous:) Fill almost to the top. You might need to rewarm the sauce just slightly for easy filling.
Use the cake 'plug' to cover the tops of the cupcakes, where they have been filled.
To decorate the cupcake rim with sprinkles, use a clean paint brush to paint around the rim with melted chocolate, alternatively dipping the cupcakes in a small bowl of melted chocolate will also do the trick. Dip the now-wet rim of the cupcake into a small bowl full of sprinkles, rolling it around to adhere to the entire circumference.
Using your favorite piping tip (I used a large round tip Ateco 808) or an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes with the Peanut Butter Frosting. The way it's done here, is by starting to pipe in the center, going aroung once, the ending in the center with a burst of pressure.
If desired, top with chocolate-covered pretzel.
Serve cupcakes right away or store in an airtight container.
*The cupcake batter will make anywhere between 16 and 17 cupcakes. Making 16 will result in a larger cupcake with a muffin-top-like cap (just like the ones pictures above), enabling enough room to decorate the rim with sprinkles. Making 17 on the other hand, will produce cupcakes that rise just right above the cupcake liner, without any muffin-top-caps. If you're not planning on sticking sprinkles around the rim, I'd recommend making 17.

*Dutch processed cocoa powder gives a deeper, more chocolatey flavor to these cupcakes. However, if you can't find it, no worries, natural unsweetened cocoa works really well too, without affecting the outcome. If using natural cocoa, use the darkest, best quality cocoa you can find. I use Hintz unsweetened cocoa and love it!

*Cake flour gives these cupcakes a soft and tender crumb, but it could be hard to find, at least where I live. I substitute this by placing 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or cornflour in my measuring cup, then add the all-purpose flour on top of that and continue measuring like I normally would. So I end up using 1½ cups minus 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch. If you have cake flour, just use that.

*Using coffee in chocolate baked goods intensifies the chocolate flavor without making it taste like coffee. I just stir in 1½ teaspoons of instant coffee (Nescafe) into my ¾ cup of hot water. If you're not okay with using coffee then just use hot water instead.

*Do not use crunchy, natural style or homemade peanut butter in this frosting. Only thick commercial peanut butter will work here.

*To make homemade chocolate-covered pretzels, simply dip each pretzel, one by one, using a toothpick into melted chocolate (I used milk chocolate). Arrange on a parchment lined plate and freeze a few minutes until chocolate is set. Using a different color/type of melted chocolate (I used dark chocolate), drizzle lines on top of the pretzels in a zigzag pattern. Return to the freezer to set. Peel pretzels from the parchment paper and use as cupcake toppers.

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