Our trip to Ben & Jerry’s was such fun and (after a brief recovery from the mini Vermonster) it left me so inspired.  Their passion for the craft of ice cream making and their unique and constant stream of creative concoctions was infectious.  I could not wait to get home and make a Ben & Jerry’s inspired treat.  And you all know what I love to do…I take other things and make them into cupcakes.  These cupcakes are based off the Chubby Hubby flavor of Ben & Jerry’s pints – a malted vanilla base with a peanut butter swirl and chocolate covered pretzels.  Using this as my inspiration, I set out to make a malted vanilla cupcake base with a chocolate pretzel filling and peanut butter frosting.  As it turns out, apparently every malt cake recipe in the history of the world is for chocolate malt cake, or at least that’s what close to an hour of research uncovered.  So I decided to make some adaptations to my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe and cross my fingers.  Good news – it worked.  Even better news?  The malt powder added a really amazing touch to the cupcakes.  It was a subtle flavor but ultimately I think this could potentially be my new favorite vanilla cupcake base.  I guess I probably wouldn’t use it all the time since they require a specialty ingredient, but man, the cake alone was wonderful.  (Note: I purchased my malted milk powder from King Arthur Flour.)

So then, we take that awesome vanilla malt cake and using the cone method, fill it with dark chocolate ganache and pretzel pieces, and top it with a whipped peanut butter frosting.  I originally had a peanut butter cream cheese frosting in mind but realized I was out of cream cheese and it was past 10 o’clock at night.  Instead I improvised with what I had on hand and ended up being glad for it because this frosting was absolutely wonderful.  These were a major hit with everyone who got to try them and struck a nice balance between sweet and salty.  The only slight issue was that the pieces of pretzel did lose some of their crunch after being in the ganache.  One potential remedy to this might be adding in a few pretzel M&M’s in lieu of chopped pretzels.  I cannot wait to play around with more cupcake renditions of Ben & Jerry’s flavors.  This could become a fun and tasty project!

Quick housekeeping note: Thanks to everyone who entered the Vermont themed giveaways from last week.  I loved hearing about your favorite cheeses, and also your dream foodie vacation destinations.  I added quite a few to my own list from your suggestions!  Without further ado, the prizes go to…

The winner of the Vermont package including Dishing Up Vermont, a maple syrup sampler and a piece of maple candy is Kristy who said, “What: A strong, sharp cheddar…like Irish Dubliner cheese.  How: Sliced thin on whole grain bread with crisp apple slices, seed-y mustard, and roasted red peppers!  OR, along side a juicy pear.”

The winner of the King Arthur package is Kristan who said, “I would love to go to San Fransisco and Seattle.”

Congrats to both of you!


For the cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1 cups malted milk powder
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature

For the filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups coarsely chopped pretzels

For the frosting:
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. heavy cream

To garnish: 
Mini pretzels drizzled with melted chocolate


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, mixing for 1 minute after each addition. Blend in the malted milk powder. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

  • 02

    Divide the batter between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 03

    To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Add the cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer (or warm in the microwave). Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated. Let stand at room temperature, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened.

  • 04

    To fill the cupcakes, use the cone method to fill the cupcakes part way with ganache. Top off each ganache center with some of the chopped pretzel pieces (or a few pretzel M&Ms). (You don’t need to replace the cake tops for these cupcakes but you can if you would like.)

  • 05

    To make the frosting, combine the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the vanilla and cream just until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip (I used Ateco #809). Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Garnish with a chocolate drizzled pretzel.


  • Whoa. These are freaking heavenly.

  • Love the direction you took with your inspiration!

  • Stephanie

    SO excited to try this!!

  • I love the idea of making cupcakes inspired by ice cream flavors, genuis! The cupcake with malt powder you describe is quite intriguing and I would definitely love to try it out sometime. Once again, your cupcake posts leave me inspired and itching to make and decorate some beautiful mini-cakes :)

  • *drool*

  • Would you believe that they don’t sell Chubby Hubby at the supermarkets here in Arkansas. Gah. :( But these cupcakes would make an awesome substitute!!

  • These look really yummy! The malted milk powder is kind of scary though. I guess because I’ve never really worked with or had anything with it. When I think of malt, I think of Whoppers which I am not a fan of. How does the taste compare? Regardless, I know these are definitely something my family would devour up!

  • Rachel

    Chubby Hubby is my favorite B&J flavor! The pretzels are actually peanut butter filled, and then covered in chocolate, yum! Will definitely have to give this recipe a try!

  • ellie

    annie, where did you get that decorating tip that you used on the cupcakes??

  • Lauren Ochoa

    Chubby hubby is my all time favorite ice cream flavor! One of the biggest disappointments of my life…accidentally ordering chunky monkey ice cream and expecting yummy salty sweet and crunchy and getting banana flavor instead.

  • These cupcakes are absolutely beautiful, I want one (or two!)I love how food can be so inspiring!

  • These sound AMAZING!!!!

    Annie, on a completely seperate note… you once mentioned your organzied xcel sheet of recipes. Did you ever do a DIY on it?

    I am in need of some mad organizing help… and you seem to the be gal! ;)

  • Ben & Jerry’s cupcakes?! This I could get into …

    I’m so jealous of your trip to Ben & Jerry’s! We stopped there once passing through Vermont, but it was overrun with people and we didn’t have time to wait it out. It’s still on the list and thanks to you so is King Arthur Flour. :)

  • Annie

    Gah! I know, I promise I will post about it very soon. It’s just that there is always so much to fit in, it keeps getting pushed back. But I haven’t forgotten, promise!

  • Annie

    It’s a pretty subjective thing to try to describe, but obviously I loved it. I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise. The only way to know if you like them is try and see :)

  • joyce

    These look amazing. I am so excited. I going to try and find some excuse to make these cupcakes other than that I just want to gorge myself.

  • I love this Annie! My fave Ben & Jerry’s is Chunky Monkey, which could make an awesome cupcake. I also kind of want to make Scweddy (cake)balls because hello! I could include rum!

  • Maryse

    Hey Annie,

    These cupcakes look super good, I want to try them out tomorrow but I wanted to know what brand of malted milk powder did you use for the recipe?

  • kathryn

    Is there anyway you could substitue the malted milk powder if you can’t find it or are unable to get it? Or if you left it out because you didn’t have it, would that make a significant difference?

  • I always get so excited when I see the title of your post suggesting a cupcake recipe in my reader. I love all your recipes, but the cupcakes are especially fun to see. I’ve never actually tried the Chunky Monkey ice cream flavor, so maybe I should try it before I make these, but it sounds delicious!
    On a side note, I agree with the previous commenter. I’m very interested in your organizing tips and excel sheet. But no rush, especially with the holidays. I’m sure you are VERY busy!

  • Courtney

    Those look delicious!!!!!! What a good idea to use the malt powder.

  • Those sound amazing!

    Can I put forth a vote for the next Ben & Jerry’s flavor you should turn into a cupcake? :) I’m completely hooked on their ‘What A Cluster’ flavor (used to be called ClusterFluff which was a way better name) but regardless of the name, it’s amazing, and I bet it’d be an awesome cupcake!

  • Annie

    Kathryn, if you want a malted cupcake, you’ll need the malt powder. You could just use a different cake base if you prefer.

  • Annie

    King Arthur, as I mentioned in the post :)

  • YAY! I knew it! Totally next on my list of things to make and feature on our blog :) Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe.

  • I must must must try these. They look and sound delicious! Thank you!

  • I bet these cupcakes taste even more gorgeous than they look!

  • I’ve never had Chubby Hubby before, but i think it’s about time to pick up a pint… and eat it WITH one of these cupcakes. :D

  • Wow…just wow. Chubby Hubby is my all time favorite ice cream and I never hear anyone else mention it. These look delicious! I’m saving this… thank you so much for sharing!!!

  • gorgeous!

  • Emily K.

    I love Chunky Monkey. I have been wanting to try the red velvet flavor. I hear its amazing!

  • Yummy!! Sounds delicious!

  • I think I may have just gone to cupcake heaven…

    Maybe when I’m there, I can figure out how your frosted cupcakes look like fluffy clouds of delicious and mine look like little piles of poo!

  • Paula B.

    Yummy! Great pics as usual, and the recipe, genius. Glad that sojourn to the Granite state was so inspiring – I just love visiting there – off to Deerfield, Mass.(close to the Vermont border) today,lo oking for inspiration for holiday ideas myself.

  • These cupcakes are so inspired! Such a gorgeous combination of flavours. Very jealous of your trip to the Ben & Jerry’s factory too…must have been such fun :-)

  • Those are soo cute!

  • Sue

    Does the filling in the middle stay soft?

  • CarolH

    I like several kinds but the ultimate is Coffee heath Bar Crunch. And, I visited the B & J factory on a hot summer day. Enough said.

  • Honi Bean Barrett

    Strawberry Cheesecake! Yum! Although I like it with chocolate sauce! We live about 5 minutes from B&J’s and we bring the kids a lot just to play on the playground. Such a fun spot! Thanks for visiting and supporting VT!

  • I love your inspiration and the resulting cupcakes…these are so fun! :)

  • Too cute! And sounds delicious too. what a great idea. Thanks!

  • Holy crap these look delicious. I have been wanting to bake with malt powder ever since I first read through the Baked cookbook, but I could never find any! Thanks for the tip and the great recipe!

  • Traci Howard

    Goodness gracious! I made these magnificiat works of art today, and they are a gift from heaven!!!! Soooo moist, yet light and fluffy! One addition I added was to add a bit of homemade caramel to the well of ganache! A WINNER!!!!

  • They turned out so pretty, Annie!!

  • Jacquelyn

    I’m glad to see someone has made them that has posted. We’re you able to find the malt powder in the grocery store or did you order it online? Just wondering. Thank you and I hope to try making these soon.

  • Carolyn

    I made these last weekend and they were a hit! Looking forward to more Ben and Jerry’s flavored cupcakes!

  • Candyland

    I have to say anything I’ve made that you’ve blogged about I have never been disappointed!! I’ve followed for a while, and while I haven’t commented I just wanted to say I love your inspiration method!! I haven’t made these ones yet, but it inspired me to make a little Ben & Jerry’s treat myself! One of my favorite flavors is Half Baked so I combine your brownie bites with the chocolate chip cookie dough icing and it was a big hit!!! Keep up the great blogging!

  • That’s the funniest, cutest cupcake I’ve seen lately. I’ve never tried that flavor ice cream, but I know my boyfriend would love that ice cream AND these cupcakes.

  • Colleen

    Hi Annie!!

    I’m dying to make these cupcakes again…but I’m having more difficulty figuring out the way the ingredients are partitioned. Last time I made them, I thought it was divided (For the cakes:, For the ganache:, and For the frosting:). Did that get changed when the website was reconstructed??

  • Anonymous

    Hi Colleen,
    Yes, that was a glitch with the new format. I finally had a chance to go back in and update this recipe, so it’s correct now. Sorry for the delay!

  • Ariana

    I just finished making these cupcakes and WOW! Super yummy. I am definitely going to be using the vanilla malt base again in the future, and the peanut butter frosting is heavenly. Very light & melts in your mouth. The only issue I had was with the ganache…a little too runny for me, but i just added about 1/3 cup more chocolate and it turned out great! Thanks so much for the recipe, love it!

  • Anonymous

    You don’t need to add any chocolate to the ganache, you just need to let it cool so that it thickens up. Glad you enjoyed them.

  • Melanie Eymann

    wow i made these cupcakes for my birthday and my friends and family loved them! My dad took them to his firehall and the guys there said they really liked them because they weren’t crazy sweet like most cupcakes:) My favourite part was the frosting absolutly the best peanut butter frosting on the planet! Thank you so much!

  • Athba

    hi Annie,

    i wanted to ask you about the cake flour, do you mean normal white flour ?

  • annieseats

    No, cake flour is different. Please see the FAQ page.

  • Catherine Scott

    These sound DELICIOUS!

  • Sue

    I’m making these right now. The cake is tasty, but they are turning out very short. I’m going to take them out of the foil liners and set them on some prettier ones to mask the fact that they are a little stunted-looking.

  • Sue

    Is the 1 tbsp of baking powder really the right measurement? It seems like a lot.

  • annieseats

    Yes, it’s correct.

  • Lilly

    OMG this frosting is A M A Z I N G!!! i cut back on the butter by half a stick and it is the perfect consistency and has amazing flavor and color. I never thought I can make such a delicious frosting! Thanks for the super easy and perfect frosting!

  • melinda

    Hi there! Did you use natural (no sugar added) PB or something like Skippy/Jiffy?

  • annieseats

    I used Jif.

  • Jessica Kamna

    This will be my first batch of cupcakes using this Website. I’m really excited, I’ve been looking for a good cupcake site for a little time now & I really enjoy the recipies so far!

  • danielle

    hi I’m from australia and am unable to find cake flour can i substitute this with anything?

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding substitutions. Thanks!