Wow, is all I can say. The goodness of a PB&J sandwich in a small delicate-delicious cupcake, is in my opinion, a masterpiece of baking. Anyone who enjoys a unique cupcake needs to make this at least once in their lifetime. I talked up this particular recipe at work, preparing my co-workersr for a scrumptious treat on Monday morning. They were all looking forward to it, and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint! I only wish I would have doubled the recipe.
Now to the preparation:
My favorite element is the fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting. It is such a light and rich frosting. I will definitely be making this again! As I started to combine ingredients creating a whipped base with the peanut butter and butter, the next step ‘Add 2 lb. confectioners sugar’ had me confused. I had to take a second glance to make sure it didn’t say ‘2 cups’. This seemed like a lot, but that’s what it called for and being my first time attempting this recipe, I couldn’t argue. Adding more and more sugar started to make it very clumpy and dry looking. I began to worry that maybe it was a typo and it was just ‘2 cups’. Now left with about a 1/4 cup of sugar, I went ahead and added the wet ingredients, in hopes that it’s addition would bring back the creaminess. My prayers were answered as it gradually combined and started to create peaks of fluffy peanut butter goodness. When I tasted it for the first time, I actually went back for a seconds…and when putting away the remainder of the frosting (btw, you will have about 2-3 cups left over), I actually ‘licked’ the spoon! This is so not like me, not much of a frosting person, let alone a peanut butter person, but somehow I could not get enough!
Onto the jam (or jelly if you prefer) centers. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to execute this going into it. I had researched ‘filling’ cupcakes and came across a couple different ways. One of which was scooping out the center and I didn’t want to waste the yummy cake! So I experimented and came up with my own way. I used a dull small tipped knife, to poke a hole in the center. I twisted a bit to enlarge the hole. My next step was to get a large round frosting tip and pipe in the jam. The only issue I had was that the jam I used, which was ‘Smuckers’ brand, had large chunks of strawberries. They were getting stuck in the tip. I went ahead and pulled out what I could find to make the piping easier. And, in the end, all were stuffed and ready to frost!
Once frosted I decided to use the strawberry chunks I pulled out as a garnish…Perfection! It was just the thing these little cakes needed to finish them off. I saw a few takes on various garnishes, but this seemed to be the best fit.
I hope you try these ‘fabulously sweet’ treats! Happy baking!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
YIELD: approximately 24 cupcakes or 48 mini-cupcakes
FOR THE CAKE
2 1/4 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose flour since I didn’t have cake flour on hand)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature (this helps it to not curdle)
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER BUTTERCREAM
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6-8 tablespoons heavy cream (if using milk, amount will be less)
FOR THE FILLING:
Jelly or Jam in your favorite flavor(s)
FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in center. Line cupcake tins with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites until creamy.
3. Place the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes or until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the vanilla, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the buttermilk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Using a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells, filling each well 2/3 full.
4. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool on wire rack.
5. Once cupcakes have cooled, create a hole to pipe in filling or hollow out. Fill the center of each cupcake with a dollop of jelly or jam in your favorite flavor.
FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER BUTTERCREAM
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar (yes, all 2 pounds!), and continue mixing until well blended.
2. Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. 6 seemed to be the magic number. Then beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
3. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and garnish tops with a dollop of jelly or jam.
– Frosting was piped onto cupcakes using the large round tip from Wilton.
– Cupcakes will store in a sealed container within the refrigerator for up to four days.