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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~Charles M. Schulz

I have been experimenting with different, fun, and low(er) cal variations of cupcakes and muffins for a few years now. It started with a muffin baking phase in the summer of 2006, where I would make a different type of muffin almost every single day all summer. In 2007 for my Tata’s 50th birthday I made a 12″x18″ layered cake with layers of pineapple frosting with blueberries and strawberries. It was a big success and motivated me to take a cake decorating class at Michael’s to learn more tricks of playing with frosting. In ’09 I started my MBA, and the baking died down, except for holidays. Now I’m back, and want to return to making sugary creations. My office works a 9/80 schedule, so I have every other Friday off, which provides me with some quality baking/cooking time. Today is one of those “me” days.  A’s dad and brother are coming down to help us with some of the handy work at the new place, so it is a good excuse to bake, so that I don’t end up eating everything myself.

I’m not very good at following recipes, which I think is why I’m not very good at cooking (yet). I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe down to the last word, I always put my own spin on them. So, with this recipe, I found the idea on tasteofhome.com, but during the course of trying to follow the steps, I made some of my own variations and completely changed the frosting recipe because the original one did not taste good at all.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 ounces fat-free cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 12 miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, finely chopped

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk (more if needed)


  1. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, buttermilk, oil and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended.
  2. For filling, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; mix well. Stir in the candy bars.filling
  3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups one-third full with batter. Drop filling by tablespoonfuls into the center of each cupcake (cups will be about half full).  I covered most with a layer of batter, but once I ran out of batter, I left the filling as a top layer. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the filling comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For frosting, with electric mixer on low, blend all ingredients together for about 2 minutes, adding more milk (if necessary) until the icing is creamy (and soft enough to squeeze easily through a pastry bag). Frost cupcakes. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cupcake equals 250 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 23 mg cholesterol, 248 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

phases of filling cups

cups with candy bar layer instead of filling

finished with filling

finished with candy bar top layer


The finished product is good! It reminds me of a healthier version of the Reese’s peanut butter cup cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory because of the cream cheese and candy bar filling (or top layer in some of the cupcakes). The recipe can be done with any candy bars. Next time I might try it with Kit Kats, or Snickers, or Twix, or thin mints…