Dark Chocolate Espresso Cakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter FrostingLast weekend a few friends and I headed up to New York City for a girl’s getaway. It was my first time in New York and it just so happened to be restaurant week. So we literally ate and drank our way through the city and picked up 2 Broadway shows along the way.

Our trip started out early Thursday morning. We checked in at our hotel, found a local eatery for an egg sandwich, and headed down Broadway for some shopping and sight seeing. We ate lunch at the amazing Craft Bar and thanks to restaurant week, I was able to have three delicious courses with a blueberry peach parfait to wrap things up. For dinner, we had reservations at The Lamb’s Club and to wind down the evening, we had drinks at The View courtesy of the Marriot Marquis. If you have never been to The View, it is honestly the coolest place to see a 360 degree roof-top view of the city. The restaurant actually spins, slowly, so that you get to check everything out while you are dining.

Friday morning we were able to pick up tickets to Rock of Ages for later that night. After breakfast, we paid our respects to Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower.

Groud Zero

Standing there, among the thousands of names of people who lost their lives on 9/11 is quite humbling and emotional to say the least. My heart goes out to all of you who lost someone on that tragic day and for the ones who are continuing to fight.

The rest of the day included adventures in Chinatown, Chianti in Little Italy, lunch at Mercer Kitchen in SoHo, drinks at Samovar {Russian Vodka Room} and finally, Rock of Ages. I also got to stop by the infamous Junior’s for a slice of Red Velvet Cake. Yeah.

Saturday began with brunch at Sarabeth’s. Yes. THE Sarabeth’s. I have a huge secret crush on Sarabeth’s. I have her jams and her jellies. Her preserves. I even have her cookbook. This was by far my favorite place to eat. I had almond crusted french toast and fried potatoes. So delicious!


After brunch, we did a bit more sightseeing, taking in St. Patrick’s cathedral and stopping for drinks at Rockefeller Center. We ate at Carmine’s for dinner before our next Broadway show, Kinky Boots. We had great seats and even got to meet several cast members afterwards. I was in total awe of the cast, the set, and the costumes. I highly recommend it. After the show, we took the Subway back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before our early flight back home the next day.

So to celebrate my first trip to the big city, I made you fancy Dark Chocolate Espresso Cakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

These cakes are the perfect little treat for any occasion, but I think the espresso and dark chocolate give it more of a New York City feel. Don’t ya think?

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting


    Dark Chocolate Espresso Cakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa, fill with hot water to the 1/2 cup line
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 8 tablespoons {1 stick} unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels
  • Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting:
  • 8 tablespoons {1 stick} unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
  • splash of milk


    For the cakes:
  1. Adjust your oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with baking cups.
  3. In your bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add egg and egg yolks, one at a time until incorporated.
  5. Beat in vanilla and sour cream.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix again for 30 seconds.
  7. Measure out 1/4 cup cocoa and then add hot water to the 1/2 cup line; stir until it becomes a thin paste.
  8. Add cocoa mixture to your wet ingredients and mix well.
  9. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, espresso powder and salt.
  10. Add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, a little at a time, until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
  11. With a rubber spatula, stir in the dark chocolate morsels.
  12. Divide the batter evenly among the cups of the prepared tin.
  13. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  14. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  15. For the frosting:
  16. In your stand mixer bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff.
  17. On low speed, slowly whip in your confectioner sugar one cup at a time until smooth.
  18. Add a splash of milk as needed to make your frosting creamy and fluffy.
  19. Spread 2 -3 generous tablespoons of the frosting on top of each cooled cupcake.
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Red Velvet Espresso Brownies

Whenever the forecast calls for a little bit of snow in the Piedmont region of North Carolina everything stops…

People race to the grocery store to stand in a ridiculously long line for milk and bread. The gas stations are lined with cars waiting to fill up their tanks. The local schools call for a snow day. And all the busyness just stops until the snow melts away.

That is exactly what happened today. I had hoped and prayed the night before for a snow day. Not because I didn’t want to go to school and teach, but because it had been about 2 years since the last snow day. And I love my snow days. I have this tradition when it comes to snow days. First, I sleep in. I mean really sleep in… Let the sun wake you up and not feel guilty about it sleep in. Second, I stay in my pajamas all day. I mean why wouldn’t you. There is no where to go…not with my mountain of a driveway anyway. Third, I bake. I try to bake something chocolatey, warm, and gooey that would be perfect for a snowy day. And I think I these brownies are perfect.

Red Velvet Espresso Brownies


  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and adjust your oven rack to the middle position. Spray an 8-inch glass or metal square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, red food coloring, and vinegar until it makes a thick paste.
  4. In your stand mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until combined. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, then add the cocoa paste. Once blended, add in the flour a little at a time until just combined.
  5. Pour mixture into the prepared pan, spread into the corners, and level with a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs. Cool on a wire rack or eat warm on a snowy day.


Recipe by Carrie, inspired by No. 2 Pencil's recipe found on TatertotsandJello

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