As Ever, The Perfect Combination


Even though the Wall Street Journal has declared the cupcake trend to be over, they still seem to be pretty popular anytime I serve them. But one problem I often have when baking cupcakes is that they can be a bit difficult to transport with their mounds of frosting. Plus, despite my sweet tooth, the piles of sugary stuff can be a bit over the top for me sometimes.

So I arrived at these “self-frosting” cupcakes – a swirl of peanut butter on the top of each before baking gives chocolate cupcakes a little something extra, but still leaves them clean enough to throw in a bag without risking a frosting disaster. If you don’t love peanut butter, I imagine these would be fantastic with some Nutella or other spread as well.

Peanut butter chocolate swirl cupcakes: Makes 24

1 cup water
3/4 cup oil
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups plus two tablespoons flour
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Whisk together the oil, water, sugar and salt until combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each until smooth, then add the vanilla. Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and stir until just combined and no white streaks remain.
Divide the batter up evenly up among 24 paper-lined muffin cases.
Microwave the peanut butter for 15-20 seconds until it has a slightly thinner consistency. Using a spoon or knife, swirl about a tablespoon of peanut butter around the tops of each cupcake.
Bake on 375 F for 18 to 22 minutes or until the cupcakes test done with a toothpick.

Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute’s baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs at She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.