Sally McKenney

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

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If there are only two flavors I could enjoy for the rest of my life, it would be salted caramel and peanut butter. I have a go-to peanut butter cupcake and a go-to salted caramel frosting. I’ve never combined the two before, but I knew they would be an unbeatable pair!

I’ve been making these peanut butter cupcakes for years. They are unbelievably soft and moist, which is in part because of the brown sugar and 2 eggs in the batter. They are loaded with peanut butter flavor too. The frosting is legendary. It’s thick and tastes identical to salty caramel corn, but in creamy dreamy frosting form.

I adorned the finished cupcakes with green sprinkles, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting finished serving


Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting ingredients

For the cupcakes

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup Smooth Operator peanut butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk

For the frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup light brown sugar
additional pinch of salt, as needed
green sprinkles


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with liners. Set aside.

2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. With a handheld or stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla.

4. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting step 1

5. Divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 23-26 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool.

6. While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt.

7. Allow to bubble for 3 full minutes, no more. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Do not place in the refrigerator to cool. With a hand mixer at medium speed, beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency. I used 4 cups. Add more salt if the frosting tastes too sweet.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting step 2

8. Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting step 3

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting finished product

*Extra frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow it to come to room temperature again before frosting anything.

Cupcakes stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


What other dish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day would you possibly add peanut butter to?

Leave a comment below with your answer to enter for a chance at winning a jar of Smooth Operator peanut butter, the jar used in this recipe.


– The giveaway is open to USA residents only and will run until Monday, March 18, 2013 at 11:59 PM EST.
– One entry per person.
– Winner(s) will be generated via a random number generator and notified via the contact email provided on the comment form.
– Winner(s) will have until 03/21/13 to claim their prize or we will choose another winner.
– Winner will win one 16oz jar of Smooth Operator. Product will be shipped by Peanut Butter & Co.
– No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 years of age to enter. See Official Giveaway Rules.

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20 Responses to Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

  1. Francisco says:

    Peanut butter glazed fingerling potatoes and carrots to accompany corned beef!

  2. Erin R. says:

    Ooh, looks good! I do love Irish soda bread (no sugar and no nonsense with raisins) and I’ll bet that would be good toasted with peanut butter spread on top.

  3. Natalie J Vandenberghe says:

    I would make peanut butter cereal bars (a family favorite). I love Peanut Butter and Co!

  4. megan kupres says:

    I would make yukon gold potatoes with a heat is on peanut butter dip as an appetizer for the dinner course

  5. Stacey E says:

    Peanut Butter Cookies with green sugar sprinkles

  6. Heather Lamoureux says:

    Peanut Butter soda bread.

  7. Josephine Jones says:

    I’d use peanut butter with soda bread, twice baked potatoes, and mint brownies!

  8. Sherri Pforr says:

    I would add peanut butter to Irish Soda Bread — and spread it on nice and thick too! 🙂

  9. Kate says:

    I would add peanut butter to mint chocolate chip ice cream!!

  10. Kate says:

    I would add peanut butter to mint chocolate chip ice cream !!

  11. Mark says:

    I’ve been following Sally’s blog for a little while now and I’ve made a few of her recipes and they’ve all been great! As a fellow peanut butter lover, I’m looking forward to trying more (possibly starting with these cupcakes). The only downside is I’m pretty much the only PB lover in my house so I end up eating all of the goodies. I’m also in the process of trying to come up with my own peanut butter recipes. I bought some raw peanuts from a local farmers market so I can roast them fresh before grinding them up in my food processor. BTW, your White Chocolate Wonderful is by far my favorite!

  12. Laurie Miller says:

    Green bagels with peanut butter & jelly

  13. Lyn says:

    Peanut Butter Rice Krispies =) Just add about a 1/2 cup (or more, depending on how much you love peanut butter ; ) to your favorite Rice Krispies Treats Recipe. Cutting them out with Shamrock cookie cutters makes them more festive. I also like to add some shamrock sprinkles or chocolate chips for some extra deliciousness!!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! =)

  14. DENISE says:

    You could eat it on scones with a cuppa tea.

  15. Kelli says:

    I’d try to make a peanut butter sauce to eat with corned beef & cabbage.

  16. Alexi says:

    I would add some food dye and make some green peanut butter cookies!

  17. Brittany Whetzel says:

    I would add this peanut butter to an Irish pound cake! I want to try it baked into the pound cake and used as a glaze.. Yum!

  18. kathy says:

    peanut butter thumb print cookies with green sprinkles!

  19. kathy says:

    peanut butter thumb print cookies!

  20. Tsz says:

    Guinness chocolate panna with a PB caramel sauce!

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Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting