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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate peanut butter bliss in the form of a cupcake!

This cupcake recipe will knock your socks off, and you want to know what? It’s all gluten free! Now let me give you some background on why this is came to be gluten free, and why it’s so freaking good.

I’m asked by a number of people on occasion to design recipes specific to dietary restrictions or preferences. This instance came about from a colleague of mine, Tigger Montague. As of late she has become an amazing mentor, coaching me through some foodie adventures and helping me to better understand what I’m eating. What makes her so wonderful and unique, is that she owns and operates a very special company for horse nutrition called BioStar EQ. Because of this whole and real food adventure, we came to know each other very well. It’s all about GMO free foods, and a better, healthier lifestyle where food can truly be appreciated. Her mission for me was simple, create a cupcake following the guidelines of being gluten free, not including any potato, rice, tapioca flours, cornstarch, or anything else that can severely heighten blood glucose levels. My mission was to use all that and make something that tasted good.

I decided first to experiment with gluten-free flours courtesy of King Arthur Flour, which has never let me down in my wheat experiences. The first impression was that the flour was super heavy and fine grained. Think of sand, but more in a powder format. To taste, it was very sweet and complex. There was a lot going on there as it contains tapioca, rice and potato flours. I opted to go with a vegan recipe thinking that by using things that weighed less to counteract the heaviness of the flour, I’d get more cake-like consistency. Not so much. The baking soda and vinegar made the batter reactive, but it rose millimeters and nothing more even with additions of baking powder too. After research on my failure, I learned that I should have used xanthan gum which helps bind together products that are gluten free as it’s what the gluten would have done in flour. Either way, the taste was not to my liking and not within guidelines. I moved on to another approach.

Failed gluten free cupcakes.

Flourless chocolate cake is very popular and something I wholeheartedly enjoy. I figured with using a similar approach and adding peanut flour, I was could be on to something. I’ve used peanut flour from Trader Joe’s in the past as a super peanutty enhancement for peanut butter cookies as it has a very similar texture to wheat flour. Much to my dismay however, I learned that Trader Joe’s discontinued it due to low sales. In the back of my mind  I did remember seeing a weird product recently at Wegmans, which was powdered peanut butter. I have now found a use for Betty Lou’s Organic Powdered Peanut Butter! Which by the way is non GMO and just awesome stuff!

Powdered peanut butter thanks to Betty Lou’s.

I also looked at the addition of one of my approved ingredients, which was coconut flour. It smelled amazing and even for not being a coconut lover, it was a sweet and rich flour, slightly gritty in texture. In the end, it worked well to balance out the finished cupcake. There really seemed to be no comparison when it came to using Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour.

I have a favorite chocolate, and it is some of the most expensive stuff around. However,  it’s well worth it. Many of the top chefs and pastry chefs agree, that there is no comparison to Valrhona chocolate. It’s fair trade certified, complex and wonderful.

For a sweetener I stuck with a turbinado sugar, which is essentially less processed than a a typical white bleached granulated sugar. Because I was changing so many other elements in this recipe, I didn’t substitute for an artificial sweetener and will continue to experiment with other options in the future to lighten the calories. The good news is that this is a lot better for you than high fructose corn syrup.

The next thing I did was take note from some other things I’ve learned along the way. I love the idea of buttermilk, but no one around me sells the real thing. The stuff you get in the grocery store is a bad impostor, but in some ways, you can get milk acidified to react in a certain way when baking just like buttermilk would be. For this reason, I used a small amount of vinegar in addition to my dairy products to let them curdle a bit before using them in this recipe.  I also figured that when combing with baking soda, would additionally help leaven things up.

Milk, Cream and Vinegar becoming all acid-like, similar to real buttermilk.

I also have been experimenting with using an ingredient that is local to New England, and that’s Bakewell Cream. I used it here and it seemed to do the trick. As I said above, I needed to make sure this cupcake had every bit of power to rise and succeed, and that it did.

As far as my dairy products were concerned, I used only the best organic or farm fresh stuff I could buy. As much as this recipe was about gluten free and a healthy lifestyle, it’s about supporting local agriculture and the environment. So go local and support cage free eggs whenever possible!

Now onto the recipe.

Kat’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1/4 cup of Heavy Cream

3/4 cup of Whole Milk

1 tablespoon of White Vinegar

1 cup of Powdered Peanut Butter, or Peanut Flour

1/2 cup of Cocoa Powder

4 tablespoons of Coconut Flour

½ teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Bakewell Cream, or Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon of Salt

1 cup of Turbinado Sugar, or White Sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) of Butter, unsalted

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon of Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line twelve cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a small glass bowl, mix Cream, Milk, and Vinegar together. Allow to sit on the counter for fifteen minutes. In the meantime sift together Powdered Peanut Butter, Cocoa Powder, Coconut Flour, Baking Soda, Bakewell Cream and Salt.

Place Butter and Sugar into electric mixer bowl and beat on medium until Sugar is incorporated and has lightened slightly in color, about two minutes.

Butter and sugar coming together.


Add Eggs and Vanilla. Beat on low for an additional minute.  Gradually add in the Milk and Vinegar mixture until fully incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients come together, bringing down sides of bowl as needed.

Finished batter, similar to a brownie.

Scoop out similar sized balls of batter into the cupcake tins, using a ice cream scoop if available.

Scooped cupcakes ready for baking.

If you have extra batter, place into a small baking dish like a ramekin. Bake for 16 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

Finished cupcakes fresh out of the oven.

If you did have extra batter that you put into a ramekin, I highly suggest eating them while they’re warm. Throw some ice cream on top and you have an amazing dessert.

If you’re able to wait, then you can frost with your favorite frosting. In this case I used the following recipe.

Peanut Butter Frosting

6 tablespoons of Butter, unsalted at room temperature

1/4 cup of Peanut Butter

1- 1 1/4 cups of Powdered Sugar
Combine Butter and Peanut Butter together until fully incorporated and one color. Add in Powdered Sugar until desired consistency if achieved. Use in your favorite cake recipe and double as needed.


Written by Tarte Chic

Author Kat Nielsen (formerly Kat Wojtylak) is a creative type with an immense love for food. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences.

Comments (4 comments)

  • December 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

    […] this blog on your questions and food topics you want investigated?  For example, the blog post on Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes was driven by a friend and colleague of mine who wanted a grain and gluten free cupcake that […]

  • November 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    […] Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cookies – Better in BulkBrown Butter Peanut Butter CookiesThe Food Bitch Blog Maple Bacon Peanut Butter CookiesMilk Bar Peanut Butter Cookiesbite-sized peanut butter pretzel M&M cookies.Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes […]

  • Steve
    November 5, 2012 at 6:59 am

    These cupcakes are delicious…hard to believe they are gluten free! Also, as a peanut butter addict the frosting was amazing!

  • November 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    thanks for the linkup and wow, your cupcakes look amazing!

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