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. #
    Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt — March 8, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    It looks too perfect to take a bite out of it! Lovely


  2. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — March 8, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    Ha, brown sugar is definitely the healthy kind! I like your logic! lol Fantastic recipe!!


  3. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — March 8, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    These look so delicious! I can’t remember what size tip you say you use for decorating (I know you have a favorite Wilton…)

    I’ve been trying to decorate cupcakes with a pastry bag and frosting lately and it’s seems like so much more work. Ok, and lot’s of frosting gets wasted on the sides of the bag. Lol


    • Jessica — March 8th, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

      Keep trying because seriously a bag is SO much easier. Fill it, pipe, and you’re done. This is how I frost:


      • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — March 8th, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

        Ok thanks girl. I remember that post but couldn’t remember the title…I was searching for it! The #12 wilton, ahh, yes.

        I have been trying to use something WAY too small. And it’s like trying to squeeze super thick toothpaste out of an opening that is just tooooo small and it creates the biggest mess, icing is coming out the back end of the bag, it’s all over my hands, very little gets on the cupcake; it’s everywhere BUT the cupcake. I need to use a #12 AND thin out my buttercream a little I think :)

  4. #
    Christina @ This Woman Cooks! — March 8, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    I love the last photo with the milk! Definitely makes me want one.


  5. #
    Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner — March 8, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

    I just love your photos! These cupcakes look SO good and I am SO making them this weekend.


  6. #
    Jessica — March 8, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    So All that had pulled in my browser was your title….and I litteraly said out loud OMG as i read it and then the first line of your post…OMG!!! please send these to me in the mail…i would pay millions…I cant bake for the life of me.


  7. #
    Brittnee — March 8, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    I make cupcakes like this but I use browned butter. I cant wait to make that frosting!!


  8. #
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — March 8, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

    I recently made brown sugar frosting and really loved it. Didn’t think to add peanut butter! I could eat brown sugar straight off a spoon…just sayin’.


  9. #
    Jen — March 8, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    The last picture made me laugh out loud. Hey, why not?


  10. #
    Melissa — March 8, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    K, I totally thought you sprinkled sea salt on your cupcakes. I’m willing to bet that would not be a bad idea . . .


  11. #
    christina @ ovenadventures — March 8, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    this look, omg, i just don’t have words. i love cake, but not chocolate cake. Weird because I love chocolate but I always want chocolate cake to taste like a brownie. anyways…… seriously fantastic!


  12. #
    DessertForTwo — March 8, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

    Everybody calm down! Give me 12 of these and no one gets hurt!


  13. #
    Mariah — March 8, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    Cupcake on a milk cup is now officially a “thing”. Super cute. And who doesn’t love celebrating their birthdays with cupcakes for the whole class/office/living room. Can’t wait to try these!


  14. #
    Margarita — March 8, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    I love the fact that I can go home after work today and make these cupcakes without having to stop at the store for ingredients.


  15. #
    Sarah — March 8, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

    Ahhh these look amazing; I’m with ya on the cake thing, not such a fan, but cupcakes are so much fun because there’s about 8 million dif. version! Thanks for this recipe!


  16. #
    Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy — March 8, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    Oh these sound amazing, that peanut butter frosting looks to die for!


  17. #
    Renee — March 8, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    I’ll take two!


  18. #
    Jasper @ crunchylittlebites — March 8, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    you should host another kid-cook helper post again…please :D


  19. #
    Cindy — March 8, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

    Ohhh, my. Must. Make. Now. The frosting has I think the most elegant swirl I’ve ever seen.


  20. #
    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — March 8, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

    This is serious, SERIOUS cupcake perfection. Oh, my!


  21. #
    Chelsea@Chelsea Is Dishing Up — March 8, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

    your last picture looks like an Irish cupcake-bomb. I feel like you’re about to drop it in and slam the milk! too funny.


  22. #
    Erin — March 8, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

    You had me with the first photo, dripping of the whisk. O.M.G.


  23. #
    melanie — March 8, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    Your bored is cute and fun!!! i like it!


  24. #
    JaNelle — March 8, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

    I want to smack my entire face into that batter! I’m NOT kidding!


  25. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — March 9, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    The shot of the cupcake on top of the jar of milk cracks me up. I would love it if someone would hand it to me – milk, cupcake and all. I was drawn to your peanut butter frosting. In the past year, I have developed a huge crush on peanut butter and love the taste in my baked goods. It’s certainly a pity that gradeschool days of cupcakes on everyone’s birthday is over, though we never had cupcakes that looked/tasted remotely close to your recipe. Nice work!


  26. #
    honeywhatscooking — March 9, 2012 @ 1:07 am

    this looks crazy good. i love the peanut butter brown sugar frosting… where do you come up with this stuff? :-)


  27. #
    Chels R. — March 9, 2012 @ 1:25 am

    Well, now you’ve done it! I’m caving and making these next week!


  28. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — March 9, 2012 @ 3:57 am

    Too much chocolate?! Never! lol But that doesn’t mean I can’t make room for one of these lovely cupcakes.


  29. #
    Choc Chip Uru — March 9, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    Another perfect recipe – I am dying to eat one of these :D

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Brown Butter Surprise M&Ms Ultra Chewy Cookies


  30. #
    kerry — March 9, 2012 @ 7:42 am

    i dont love cake either but a cupcake goes down a treat every once in a while! ;)


  31. #
    Beth @ 990 Square — March 9, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    So I made these last night (for a friends birthday party tonight) and my centers caved horribly. I know I can fix it with icing–I’m an experienced baker so I know all the tricks!–but I was really disappointed in how these look. Shiny tops, caved in middles :-(


    • Jessica — March 10th, 2012 @ 10:11 am

      Beth could your baking soda possibly be expired?? The only other thing I can think of is that maybe your oven temp is off? I’m not sure why they would sink!


  32. #
    thelittleloaf — March 9, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    Brown sugar, peanut butter and brown butter? I’m sold :-)


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

    So I thought I was the only one who missed roller skating parties! I swear I want to open one up just for my future children. There was always one weird old guy skating by himself. Looking back I think the distinct smell was sweaty feet.*Gross* Oh and those cupcakes look delish.


  34. #
    Terry — March 9, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    LOVED the old filet-o-fish commercials and still sing them too! The guy with the beard looks just like my kids’ band director -same expression on his face and everything!
    These cupcakes rock – can’t wait to try them!


  35. #
    C — March 9, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    Totally making these today! They look amazing.


  36. #
    Moni'sMeals — March 9, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    wow, speechless. please please please just one. :)
    Amazing combo Jessica, you are seriously so fun to read up on!


  37. #
    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips — March 9, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

    I literally want to make ALL of your recipes!! Peanut butter and brown sugar are two of my favorite things.


  38. #
    Ann — March 9, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

    They look lovely and I SO remember skating rinks….I loved them! …except at couples skate!


  39. #
    annie — March 10, 2012 @ 10:17 am

    just pulled these out of the oven for a party this afternoon… i might have burned my mouth but couldn’t help it because they are so good! i can’t wait to give these to my niece. yummy!


  40. #
    Hilary — March 10, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Jessica, I love your site, your recipes are fab and I love making them. They’re fun to do and quite delicious!!!
    I was just wondering if you could put peanut butter in the cupcake batter? I’m new to peanut butter and absolutely adore it. I’m trying it with everything well most things. Hubby’s not keen though – but will have to get used to it!
    What is natural peanut butter? Is it the crunchy one or smooth?
    Keep the recipes coming I can’t wait to try some more. Thank you.


  41. #
    Amanda — March 10, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    Your recipes ROCK! These were the best cupcakes I’ve ever made, and your blog posts make my day! Thank you for making the first thing I read in the morning so awesome!!


  42. #
    Rosie @ Sweetapolita — March 10, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    Dying. Love these! Sometimes I wonder what would happen if you and I joined forces and baked cake together. Yes, I think about these things. I’ve been on an unexpected cupcake thing lately, so I may have to give these a whirl. I’m not even kidding, I could close my eyes, point to any recipe on your site and want to make it (and holy cannoli I can’t keep up with your posts–you’re super blogger woman!). xo


  43. #
    vanillasugarblog — March 10, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

    totally loving that frosting!


  44. #
    Ariel — March 11, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    I just wanted to tell you that your cupcake recipes “veganize” very well. I eat a vegan diet but your cupcakes always look so creative and delicious, so I just substitute with animal free ingredients. Thanks for all your amazing cupcake recipes!


  45. #
    Jill — March 11, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    made them this wknd – best cupcakes ever!! everyone died over them.


  46. #
    Courtney — March 11, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    I made these today and they are fabulous! Thank you for another amazing recipe!


  47. #
    Purabi Naha — March 12, 2012 @ 5:17 am

    Loved the recipe and the photograph!! You are so talented!


  48. #
    Dianne — March 12, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    Great recipe!Made these last night. Only thing was I added chocolate chips and used non fat cream cheese. Tasted like a reese’s peanut butter cupcake!


  49. #
    Deborah — March 13, 2012 @ 1:22 am

    I totally don’t think cupcakes are overrated. Especially these. Yum!


  50. #
    Ashalia — March 13, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

    You crack me up!! And these look heavenly!! I need to run more so I can eat more!



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