One of my favorite things to do is make cupcakes based off a theme or flavor profile. For this post, the inspiration is a sandwich…
Although I personally love some really simple and common cupcakes like carrot, yellow with chocolate frosting, chocolate, and anything with citrus fruits, some of the cupcakes I often bake for others are somewhat complicated. I like it that way though. The whole concept of a cupcake is a petite few bites that incorporate big flavors. It took me a while to get on the cupcake train because I try not to jump on every trendy thing happening. There is also something so comforting about a large slice of cake presented on a real plate with a fork for easy eating. However, when I started dating Ryan, who is a shy, reserved guy by nature, I baked him some sparkly pink cupcakes with “RYAN” spelled across for our 2 month anniversary or some reason like that. He left some in the fridge at his house and when some old friends came over to visit, they were surprised to hear their quiet, younger friend had a serious girlfriend that they knew very little about. Ryan was very tight lipped about me (he is about most things), so until I met them a while later, I was referred to as “Cupcake”. It is hard to shake a nickname and this one is no exception. When people call you Cupcake, they expect you to eventually bake cupcakes for them. I truly believe that this 7 year nickname was sparked all these massive cupcake flavors I have developed:
- Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes
- Smores Cupcake
- Chocolate cheesecake cupcake
- Chocolate cherry pie cupcake
- Snickerdoodle cupcake
- Mocha Coconut Frapp Cupcake
- Caramel Macchiato Cupcake
- Tiramisu Cupcake
- Boston Cream Cupcake
- Caramelized Pear Pie Cupcake
and the Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake I am featuring today.
If you ask me, all cupcakes should have at least three components. The cake, a filling or topping, and frosting. My hope through this blog is to bring people the cupcake recipes I have created using pieces of other people’s recipes and even some of my own that over time, I have developed. I have a love/hate relationship with recipes. I love the structure, but love to adapt and add. Sometimes I do this based on what ingredients/money I have available to me and sometimes I just want to do more.
When you bake as much as I do, you start giving baked goods as gifts. My favorite birthday present to someone is to design a cupcake that incorporates all their favorite flavors. For my husband, the lemon meringue pie cupcake that has a graham cracker crust, lemon white cake, lemon curd filling, and a torched meringue frosting. For my bff’s mom it is the mocha coconut that is modeled after our favorite summer drink at Starbucks. It is a dark chocolate cake, with an espresso ganache center, pastry cream coconut frosting and a chocolate drizzle with toasted coconut sprinkled on top.
For Ryan’s birthday last week, we had the peanut butter and jelly cupcake, which is out of this world yummy. It is not his absolute favorite because of his love of lemon, but it is one of my favorites and relatively easy to make. This was important for this occasion because we combined his birthday with Easter for his family and had everyone over for brunch at our place. It was my first time hosting his whole family at our small place and I needed something manageable. I made these for a gymnastics banquet a month ago and they were really popular with people. It uses my favorite peanut butter cream cheese frosting, store bought raspberry jam, and my absolute go to cake recipe, Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake. Dorie is my favorite and her cookbook is my shining star. This cupcake reminds me of my adult guilty pleasure of white bread PBJ. Add a cold glass of milk and you can’t go wrong…unless you are allergic to peanuts.
Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, adapted to white cupcakes
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
- Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
- Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant (I hate how messy this part is so I just beat the sugar and lemon zest together with the paddle on my kitchenaid). Add the butter, and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-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 will aerated. This is very important and is why it is best to bake these right after making the batter.
- Fill each cupcake 3/4 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch- a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks
I just pump my favorite seedless jam into the middle of the cupcake. Usually this means raspberry jam. But I am not opposed to blackberry or grape. I use my favorite tool the Wilton Dessert Decorator. I am on my second one in 8 years so they are worth the 10 bucks they cost. They are such a great cupcake tool. I prefer piping frosting with a bag, but I use the long tip to pump in fillings rather than cut out anything of the cupcake. I have never had a problem with my way like cupcakes falling apart .
Peanut Butter Frosting- this is one of my favorite recipes that is from some random site I don’t remember anymore. I have adjusted it to be a good texture and flavor.
- 6 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 2/3 cup peanut butter (use regular, not natural)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 TB heavy whipping cream
- Pinch of salt
Using the whip attachment, whip the butter until fluffy and add cold cream cheese 1 oz at a time until well combined. Add the salt, the heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl and add peanut butter. When it is a nice cohesive mixture, slowly add the powdered sugar a half cup at a time while the mixer is on.
I bake, cool, fill, frost, drizzle and serve. (In this case, I sprinkled rather than drizzle jam for birthday party purposes)
PS Sorry about the fuzzy pics. I just recently broke down and got an iPhone and am still figuring it out.