These were just amazingly fluffy and talk about melt in your mouth! WOW!
The trick to making a scrumptiously moist cupcake is to make them and eat them fresh. Having worked at a bakery, they tend to make their cupcakes ahead of time and then freeze them. When they freeze them, they are just put in a big plastic bag and tossed in a box and that is that. This allows air to get to the cake and causes freezer burn.
Anytime you refrigerate cake of any kind, it will start to dry it out. It loses it's moistness and freshness.
So when I make cupcakes for someone, I always try to make them the day of.
It's the icing that you want to make a day ahead if you wish, especially if you are coloring the icing, you will want to make the icing ahead of time as the color will deepen and set overnight. This allows you to see how true of a color it is and also helps you to not use as much color as you think you need and thereby avoiding the colored teeth and after effects when the color has gone through your body.
This icing however is not colored, but the natural tan of the peanut butter so you can make it the day of so it will be the most soft and fresh.
For the cupcakes, it is a simple Devil's Food box cake mix. You can make it from scratch if you want, go for it, but it's pretty easy from the box. Now the icing, I made that from scratch because it is very difficult if not impossible to find a peanut butter icing and besides, it's not going to be as good as you making it yourself and it's super easy to make! The 'ants' of course are chocolate sprinkles. The surprise is a miniature Reeses' peanut butter cup baked inside.
Here's the Recipe:
1 boxed Devil's Food cake mix, doesn't matter the brand
Eggs, (according to the back of the cake mix box)
Oil, (according to the back of the cake mix box)
Water, (according to the back of the cake mix box)
24 miniature Reeses' peanut butter cups
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used the chunky cause I prefer the nuts to crunch and it adds to the 'ants')
3 Tablespoons milk, or as needed (I just put this in gradually enough to make the icing creamy and light)
2 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar, I added a lil more if I put too much milk in to help thicken it)
Prepare the Devil's Food cake mix according to the instructions on the back of the box using the Eggs, oil, and water in the quantities they list.
Preheat the oven to the temperature according to the cake mix.
Line 2 cupcake tins, 24 cupcakes total with paper cupcake liners.
Pour the cake mix equally amongst all the cupcake portions.
Unfoil the Reeses' peanut butter cups and remove all the paper so they are naked and bare and ready to pop into your mouth but instead, push one peanut butter cup into each of the 24 cupcake batters.
Bake as directed.
Don't worry about the peanut butter cups not being covered up when you put these into the oven. The batter will rise and cover it up for you.
Take them out when done and set them to cool. I left the cupcakes in the pan until they were cooled down well and then I made the peanut butter frosting.
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.
Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy. I used the highest speed to really whip it, adding more milk or powdered sugar depending on the consistency you are looking for and then I added a couple more tablespoons of peanut butter to also help thicken it too and make sure I had enough of a peanut butter flavor, the one of choice I used was the Natural Skippy Chunky.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, I frosted them with the icing. It's important to let them cool completely before you put the icing on so the icing does not melt with the warm cupcake.
Then I sprinkled the chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies if you call them that depending on where you are from), these are the 'ants'. You also want to sprinkle these on right away so that they stick to the icing before the icing dries a bit, otherwise they will just bounce off.
Enjoy!! These are the bomb! So light and fluffy and not too sweet. The Reeses' peanut butter cups melt down to a flatter disc inside the cupcake, making them a little crunchy. They also dropped to the bottom but man these were so delicious!