PayDay Cupcakes

These PayDay Cupcakes consist of a moist, fluffy chocolate cupcake topped with a rich and creamy peanut butter caramel frosting that’s then sprinkled with chopped PayDay candy bars. I mean, is there anything better than chocolate and peanut butter?

If you love cupcakes as much as I do, then you’ve got to try my Mini Cheesecake Cupcakes and my Yellow Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream Frosting!

Four chocolate peanut butter cupcakes topped with chopped PayDay candy bars, aka PayDay cupcakes |

The Best Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes You’ll Ever Have

My Mom has always had a sweet tooth and would always reach for something sweet after she finished a meal. One of her favorite desserts are PayDays, which are chewy caramel candy bars coated in salted peanuts and milk chocolate. The sweet and salty combination of this bar is hard to resist!

I was inspired to create a baked version of this candy bar for Mother’s Day because I knew my mom would love it, and she did! This is a great dessert recipe to make for any occasion like birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays.

When making the frosting, I knew I needed to mimic the caramel flavor of the candy bar, and using brown sugar made that happen. It’s sweet and has the flavor of molasses which mimics caramel perfectly. Creamy peanut butter was added as well as a pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness.

As far as the cupcakes go, I kept it simple with a store-bought chocolate cake mix because, let’s be honest, it’s all about that icing. Just try not to over-mix your cupcake batter — the more you mix the tougher the cupcakes will be.

Four chocolate peanut butter cupcakes topped with chopped PayDay candy bars, aka PayDay cupcakes, on a black metal cooling rack |

Key Ingredients

  • Chocolate Cake Mix: You only need one box of the store-bought stuff. Use whichever type of chocolate cake you like. Devil’s Food would be delicious with the super peanut butter caramel sweet frosting!
  • Butter: You’ll need two sticks of unsalted butter softened to room temperature.
  • Brown Sugar: I like using light brown sugar because the caramel flavor is strong without becoming too overpowering or making the cupcakes too dark.
  • Peanut Butter: Opt for regular creamy peanut butter. It has the best consistency and texture for icing (especially since we’re not using butter or cream cheese).
  • Powdered Sugar: It wouldn’t be a proper icing without a good amount of powdered sugar!
  • Heavy Cream: This helps make the peanut butter icing super creamy and spreadable.
  • PayDay Candy Bars: Chopped fine to use as a garnish for these chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.

raw chocolate cake dough divided into cupcake molds in a metal cupcake tin |

How To Make Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

  • Make the Chocolate Cupcakes: Prepare and bake these per the box instructions, dividing the cake batter evenly among 24 cupcake molds in a baking tin. Fill each spot 2/3 of the way, leaving room for the cupcakes to rise. Once baked, remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before cooling on a wire rack before icing.
  • Make the Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting: Cream together the butter, sugar, and peanut butter with a hand mixer until creamy and smooth. Fold in the powdered sugar in two equal parts. Add in heavy cream and mix until creamy and thick like below. If frosting is too runny add in powdered sugar. If it is too thick add in more heavy cream.
  • Frost the Cupcakes: To frost cupcakes with a pastry bag simply start at the edge of the cupcake and work your way around the cupcake in a circle. You can also just schmear the frosting on with a spoon or spatula, if preferred.
  • Garnish and Serve: Top each cupcake with payday crumbles, and serve with a glass of milk. Enjoy!

cooked chocolate cake dough divided into cupcake molds in a metal cupcake tin |

Tips and Variations

  • Sometimes the toughest part of this task is getting the frosting into the pastry bag. I always place my pastry bag in a tall glass, folding the top of the bag over the sides. This ensures you are getting your frosting inside of your pastry bag and not on the outside. When you are done filling simply roll up the sides and push the frosting down to the tip.
  • Not a fan of PayDays? Leave them out or swap them for your favorite chocolate candy bar. Snickers would be great here!
  • Add some chocolate ganache and a drizzle of melted peanut butter (because why not!)
  • Garnish with some chopped roasted peanuts!

Four chocolate peanut butter cupcakes topped with chopped PayDay candy bars, aka PayDay cupcakes |

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions

  • Store leftover iced chocolate peanut butter cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing any leftover or extra peanut butter caramel icing in an airtight, freezer-safe bag or container for up to 6 months. I don’t recommend freezing the cupcakes because they’re simple enough to make fresh as needed, but I suppose you could freeze them in an airtight, freezer-safe plastic bag for up to a month, if desired. Just make sure to freeze separately.
  • Reheat the frozen frosting (and cupcakes, if applicable) by allowing them to thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter at room temperature until their soft enough to manipulate and eat.

More Easy Cake Recipes To Try

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Payday Cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Total Time: 54 minutes
Servings: 24

Chocolate cupcakes topped with a caramel, salted peanut butter frosting. Topped with payday bits. A replica of an old favorite candy bars.


  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 7 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 payday bars roughly chopped


  • Bake chocolate cake per box instructions. Allow them to cool and set aside until you are ready to frost.


  • To make the frosting, combine butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Mix until creamy and smooth. Fold in powdered sugar, in two parts then add in heavy cream.
  • Mix until creamy and smooth. After cupcakes have cooled frost cupcakes and top with payday crumbles. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
Nutrition Facts
Payday Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 253 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 26mg9%
Sodium 121mg5%
Potassium 104mg3%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 300IU6%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cupcakes, Dessert, Easy Recipe, Payday Cupcakes


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