Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar FrostingI

Let’s talk cupcakes.

Some people think they are overrated. I tend to agree when they cost $6.50 a pop and crumble in your hand like fallen plaster or require chugging a gallon of milk to cancel out the dryness.

And I don’t even drink milk.

But I’m like, cake-impaired or something and can’t bake a whole layered thing to save my life. That kind of stuff requires patience… which we all know I do not have.


Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar FrostingI

And the other crazy thing? I just don’t LOVE cake. I like it – some cake is absolutely fabulous – but it’s rarely my first choice. Unless it’s one of those massive tower-of-love death-by-chocolate so-rich-your-teeth-ache cakes.

Always down with that. Yessiree.

So cupcakes it is. They provide just enough cake for me, myself and I, and just enough cake if I want a second serving too. Or even a third. And a fourth? Don’t mind if I do.

But really?

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar FrostingI

I make cupcakes because I miss being in first grade and bringing in treats for my birthday. I miss the excitement that cupcakes used to bring my seven year old self, and I crave innocence and simplicity. I miss birthday parties at bowling alleys that smell like, well… bowling alleys and skating rinks with “couples skate” that makes 2/3 of the people in attendance feel like utter crap at age 9. Cupcakes bring all that fun back.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar FrostingI

You know what else I miss? That wacko, borderline please-shoot-me “give me that filet o’ fish” McDonald’s commercial that played every Lent while everyone and their mother whined and complained about it. Ummm I loved that commercial. I sang along each time. I still am singing along. My husband bought earmuffs tonight.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar FrostingI

These cupcakes are perfect for that day when you need dessert but have had, frankly… just a little too much chocolate. It doesn’t hit me often, but occasionally I’ve just had TOO MUCH. Chocolate overload. Chocolate OD. Almost literal death by chocolate.

These solve all that. Brown sugar (the healthy kind since it’s BROWN) and peanut butter. Super fluffy cake that is a change up from vanilla and definitely not chocolate. Life’s cure all!

Write that down.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar FrostingI

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

[adapted from brown sugar banana cupcakes]

makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, stirring to mix. Set aside. Line a cupcake tin with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar and egg until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and milk, again mixing until combined. Slowly pour in melted butter, continuing to whisk. Add in the flour, soda and salt, mixing with a large spoon until batter is smooth.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to liners. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until tops are puffy and golden, and don’t jiggle when touched. Let cool completely.


Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting

6 ounces cold cream cheese

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

raw turbinado sugar for topping, if desired

Add cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until smooth, then add peanut butter and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Add in brown and powdered sugars gradually, with the mixture on low speed. Once everything has been added, turn to medium-high speed and mix for 4-5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides. If you’d like the frosting a bit sturdier, add additional powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, mixing like before. Frost cupcakes!

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar FrostingI

Let’s make this cupcake in a jar of milk a thing. I dunno I was bored.

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167 Responses to “Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting.”

  1. #
    Blog is the New Black — March 8, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    I don’t even have words for your posts anymore. I will just continue to profess my love for you. I, Liz, love, you, Jessica.


  2. #
    Katrina — March 8, 2012 @ 8:04 am

    This – is beautiful.


  3. #
    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — March 8, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    Incredible. It’s time for my breakfast and I’d eat one of these cupcakes this morning with no problem whatsoever.


  4. #
    Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles — March 8, 2012 @ 8:09 am

    Oh.My.Gosh! DELICIOUS!!!
    I am also a lover of the “massive tower-of-love death-by-chocolate so-rich-your-teeth-ache cakes” too! ….Haven’t had a cupcake in ages, this recipe is good enough to bookmark and make over the weekend- so I don’t have to bring them to work and share!


  5. #
    Erika - The Teenage Taste — March 8, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    These cupcakes look fabulous…and that frosting…ohmygosh…I want to eat it by the spoonful! Yum! :-D


  6. #
    Krystal — March 8, 2012 @ 8:14 am

    I’m thinking of making that frosting a little thicker and putting a dollop in the middle of the cupcake… time to experiment!


  7. #
    Debbie Rogozinski — March 8, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    Well lucky me – I just happen to have everything I need to make these in the house… Love your posts. So glad I found you!


  8. #
    Simply Life — March 8, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    wow! you are incredible and that first photo BELONGS on a magazine cover. Seriously. I just want to lick the whisk (TMI)?!


  9. #
    kathleen @ the daily crumb — March 8, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    peanut butter brown sugar?! oh boy.

    i am actually the world’s most impatient person, so instead of me taking the time to make these, could you just send me some of yours, please?! thanks :)


  10. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — March 8, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    Yum, yum, yum! This cupcake looks amazing and it’s not bad on the healthy scale! I love it!! I am bookmarking these babies and making them on Sunday!! Yum!!!


  11. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — March 8, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    I think some magazine or bakery needs to hire you to be their resident professional cupcake froster! These are amazing…. I can almost taste them just by looking at your photos!


  12. #
    Sally @ sally's baking addiction — March 8, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    oh my goodness. you continue to blow me away! sometimes i have a chocolate overload… did i just admit that??… and all i want is peanut butter…. with brown sugar… in cupcake form. amazing! ps: love that last picture!


  13. #
    Krissys Creations — March 8, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    I love how the top of your cupcakes actually look like Peanut Butter Coookies. Very cool! And love the addition of Turbinado Sugar on top. Those things always make the Cupcakes extra special :)


  14. #
    Em (Wine and Butter) — March 8, 2012 @ 8:41 am

    I’m trying to give up gluten for a couple of weeks but Ive just realised I can still frost a mini serving of chocolate cheesecake frosting with a little bit of peanut butter frosting. Amazing!


  15. #
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh — March 8, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    I’ll take a glass of milk with a cupcake cork please!


    • Jessica — March 8th, 2012 @ 8:45 am

      Cupcake cork… I love it.


  16. #
    nancy k — March 8, 2012 @ 8:51 am

    OH, YUM. These cupcakes look unbelievably delicious.Your photos are mouthwatering! I love, love, love anything that is peanut buttery sweet and this creation seems just about perfect. I can’t wait to try them…might have to be what I bake today. I’m wondering if you used a small hole icing tip to get the thin rope look with the icing?Love that look as well. Thanks for sharing!


  17. #
    Andrea — March 8, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Those look awesome, now I know what I am making this weekend!!!


  18. #
    Villy @ For the love of Feeding — March 8, 2012 @ 9:08 am

    Wow! The last photo should be a thing, cause it is awesome :) I love how much the frosting is, cause it’s my favorite part :)


  19. #
    Mara @ what's for dinner? — March 8, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    I can’t make a layered cake either. I tried one last year for the husband’s birthday, and while one side looked gorgeous, the other side looked like i’d thrown it against a wall. I covered up the damage with extra frosting and sprinkles :)


  20. #
    Gabby @ Gabby's Gluten-Free — March 8, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    Is it so wrong that the first thing I thought when I read the title was: “my husband would totally sprinkle candied bacon on these” ?


  21. #
    Christine — March 8, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    These looks SERIOUSLY good, but one question. Does the brown sugar not make the frosting gritty?


    • Jessica — March 8th, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

      Not really – as long as you mix it a fairly high speed for close to 5 minutes and add the powdered sugar, it’s not too bad. Occasionally you might get a little crunch but not as much as you’d think.


  22. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — March 8, 2012 @ 9:25 am

    Loving on all those beautiful swirls of creamy, dreamy, peanut buttery frosting. On the cupcakes, off the whisk. All of it.


  23. #
    Kelly — March 8, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    Those cupcakes (and everything else I see on your blog) look fabulous. I really want to know where you find the time to bake, photograph, and blog. Seriously. I’m stumped. :)


    • Jessica — March 8th, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

      It’s my job. :)


  24. #
    Jennifer — March 8, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    I love the way you iced the cupcakes. And how you put it in the milk jug. I’ll help you make that a thing haha.


  25. #
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — March 8, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Yum, this looks so good!! I love all your unique cupcake flavors. and I’d rather have a cupcake than cake any day. Although sometimes I just eat the top half of the cupcake with all the frosting…


  26. #
    Lisa — March 8, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    oh my….these look beyond good. you had me at peanut butter IM SO EXCITED!
    and they look so perfectly frosted :)


  27. #
    Kayle @ The Cooking Actress — March 8, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    Such a pretty pretty cupcake


  28. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — March 8, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    I need one of these right this second!


  29. #
    Living The Sweet Life — March 8, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    Anytime I don’t have to share my desert – – I get a little happier… that’s why cupcakes are so great. And let’s not even start discussing my love affair with peanut butter!


  30. #
    natalie — March 8, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    oh boy am i in trouble…..


  31. #
    Kim in MD — March 8, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    My computer is only allowing me to see the first photo for some strange reason, but the name of this cupcake and the recipe sound amazing, Jessica!


  32. #
    Kim in MD — March 8, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    Oh, yeah! I can see the photos! All I can say is YUM! :-)


  33. #
    Ashley — March 8, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    Now that filet ‘o fish song is stuck in my head, and I’ll be singing it to my co-workers all day! Thanks! :)


  34. #
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food — March 8, 2012 @ 10:10 am

    Beautiful cupcakes! :)


  35. #
    Jewel at Eat.Drink.Shop.Love. — March 8, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    The frosting looks too pretty to eat!


  36. #
    Gen — March 8, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    Looove the recipe!! Not a huge cake fan either, so these look absolutely perfect!


  37. #
    Chelsy — March 8, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    couples skate! totally AWKWARD haha! I always had my bday parties at the local roller rink…my dad would start the skate “train” you know with the song “come on ride the train…choo-choo” and it would be all the rage of conversation in my third grade “home room” on Monday at school. My dad is a badass! haha!


  38. #
    Earthycrunchgal — March 8, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    Can I just day how much I love reading your blog first thing in the morning. Not only does it bring a smile to my face but it also makes me feel like it’s totally okay to have sweets for breakfast!!


    • Jessica — March 8th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

      Thank you!


  39. #
    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables — March 8, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    It’s hard to come across new cupcake flavors these days that I haven’t seen before, but this one looks awesome! Great idea!


  40. #
    Paige — March 8, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    These look awesome. My family tends to like “less rich” deserts ( I personally think they are crazy) but it is good to have these options. I love that the frosting has other elements than just powdered sugar and flavoring. For some reason those never seem to work out for me. Thanks for the beautiful pics and recipe!!


  41. #
    Katie — March 8, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    Three cheers for cake! I made a whole layer cake at 10pm last night and then ate one slice and was done. My first thought was “I should have made cupcakes like Jessica” – so even a cake lover (adorer) gets the cupcake thing. Especially when I’m the only one who likes cake in this dang house.

    And these look fantastic.


    • Jessica — March 8th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

      Please show me a picture. I can’t even imagine.


  42. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — March 8, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    Oh my gosh, I love the cupcake in a jar thing! I feel like that’s how they all should be served from here on out. So cute!


  43. #
    Expedition Eat (Dina Krohne) — March 8, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    The pic of the cupcake in the jug of milk should be a print. Foodie cupcakie art – what could be better? And peanut butter is a huge family fave in casa de Krohne, gotta make these for the fam.


  44. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — March 8, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    i’m kind of sort of in love with that last shot…i need to be bored more often :)


  45. #
    Becky — March 8, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    I like cake and cupcakes, but not a big fan of icing. My hubby usually eats my icing when we have cake because I scrape it off and ditch it on the side of my plate. BUT. The icing on these cupcakes sounds delish and something I would definitely find heaven-ish. yum


    • Jessica — March 8th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

      I’m not a huge icing fan either. I only like a little smear!


  46. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — March 8, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    I love the cupcake in the milk jar. Just wait and see everyone will start doing it.


  47. #
    Ashley — March 8, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Brown sugar is only like one of my top 3 flavors ever. Can we call brown sugar a flavor?? Yes! And, I can totally hear you saying “Ohhhhhhh my gosh!!” baahaha


  48. #
    Bethany — March 8, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    Apparently I don’t eat enough chocolate because I’ve never had chocolate overload. I guess I’ll have to eat LOADS of chcolate first and then make these cupcakes? Sounds like a plan.
    And I’ve quit buying cupcakes. Never again. It’s not like I make amazing cupcakes (I dont) so when mine are moister and have better flavor, there is something wrong with the world of cupcakes.


  49. #
    Cassie — March 8, 2012 @ 11:17 am

    Life isn’t the same without that McDonald’s commercial. At least we have brown sugar to fill the void!


  50. #
    Lauren — March 8, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    Cupcake heaven!!


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