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!

  • Yield about 30 cupcakes


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.