These decadent treats taste like your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in cake form. Each chocolate fudge cupcake has a creamy peanut butter filling and is topped with homemade malted vanilla buttercream along with a drizzle of melted chocolate and a sprinkle of crushed chocolate-covered pretzels.
a medium piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip; a large piping bag fitted with a 1-inch or larger plain round tip
For the chocolate fudge cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cups of standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Combine the boiling water and cocoa powder in another bowl and stir with a heatproof spatula until it becomes a thick paste. Stir in the buttermilk, then whisk until smooth and set aside.
Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until pale in color and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla bean paste and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk mixture in 2 additions each. Mix until just combined.
Fill each prepared muffin cup with batter until about two-thirds full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in the tins, then turn out cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the peanut butter filling: Beat the peanut butter and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners' sugar, salt and nutmeg and mix to combine. Next, add the milk and vanilla bean paste and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Place in a medium piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip.
For the malted vanilla buttercream: Whisk the confectioners' sugar and malted milk powder in a medium bowl. Beat the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla bean paste and beat on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Place in a large piping bag fitted with a 1-inch or larger plain round tip.
For the assembly: Use a rounded teaspoon or a melon baller to scoop out a small core in the center of each cupcake and fill it with peanut butter filling. Smooth out the top. Pipe a large swirl of malted vanilla buttercream on the top. Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed chocolate-covered pretzels.
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