Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Peanut Butter Mousse

Peanut Butter Mousse

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1/4 c. milk

3/4 c. creamy peanut butter

2 c. heavy whipping cream

1 Tbl. vanilla extract

Using a mixer, whip the heavy cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Put in the refrigerator.  In a separate bowl, cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and peanut butter.  Stir in about 1/3 of the whipped cream to lighten up the mixture.  Then, carefully fold in the remaining whipped cream.  It may take a minute or so until it is combined and no white streaks remain.  Refrigerate until very very cold (several hours).  

Chocolate Cupcakes

2 1/4 c. cake flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cocoa powder

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 c. vegetable oil

1 c. cold water

1/2 c. sour cream

1 c. chopped peanut butter cups, for garnish 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa and sugar; set aside.  Cream together the eggs, vanilla, oil, water and sour cream.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Scoop evenly between 24 lined muffin cups and bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly, remove from pans and set on cooling rack to cool completely.  Yield: 24 cupcakes.    

To assemble double layered cupcakes:  Remove wrappers from cupcakes.  Cut cupcakes in half horizontally.  Pipe mousse onto the bottom cupcake half.  Place the top half of the cupcake over the mousse.  Pipe more mousse on the top of the cupcake.  Top with chopped peanut butter cups.  Serve immediately or keep in the refrigerator.      

Jenn's Notes:  I cut the cupcake recipe in 1/4 and had enough batter for exactly six cupcakes.  I baked mine for 18 minutes and they were perfect.  I made half of the mousse and had tonz leftover.  If you end up doing single layer cupcakes, I would definitely cut the mousse in half or you will have way too much.  Immediately after the cupcakes cooled, I tried to pipe on the peanut butter mousse.  It was way too soft and got a little messy.  So, if you are going to make a double layer cupcake make sure to refrigerate the mousse for several hours or overnight if possible.  I don't think the double layered cupcakes would transport very well.  The mousse firms up when refrigerated, but it softens pretty quickly once removed from the fridge and it makes the top cake layer a little unstable.  They sure are yummy!!!      

adapted from: Stephanie's Kitchen