Monday, May 7, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes


I love baking. I love baking cakes, cupcakes, pies, tarts, scones, muffins, breads, brownies, and cookies. I love it all. When my parents' anniversary rolled around recently, I wanted to bake them something fun for dessert. I immediately thought to bake a cake, but then started perusing my Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook for ideas. Cupcakes would bake faster and be fun and individual treats for the occasion. The peanut butter and jelly ones stuck out and I knew that my family would really enjoy them! They were filled with chunks of peanut in an intense peanut butter batter, along with a rich peanut butter frosting and an embellishment of jam on top.


I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the batter, and found that it made a couple less cupcakes than the recipe said. I was fine with this, as I preferred them to have a higher dome on top. Also, instead of using an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes as the recipe specified, I piped the frosting with a large round tip, creating two loops around the top with a hollow center for the jam. I thought this was a much prettier presentation, but discovered that the frosting recipe didn't quite make enough to frost all of the cupcakes in this manner. If you'd like to pipe the frosting as I did, I would suggest making about 1 1/2 times the frosting recipe to ensure you have enough. Or you can pipe only one loop around and it should be enough! I just wanted more frosting on there :)


Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
Makes 22 (or 20 if you use an ice cream scoop to portion)
(From Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)

Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter, preferably natural-style
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted, roasted peanuts
1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry jelly or jam

Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting:
6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line standard muffin pans with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Mix in peanut butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla, Gradually add the flour mixture, beat until just combined. Mix in sour cream and peanuts.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full (I used a standard ice cream scoop and resulted in 2 less cupcakes, but they had higher domes on top when baked). Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

To make the frosting, in an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until pale and fluffy. Add salt and peanut butter, and beat to combine. Beat in vanilla.

In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold cream into peanut butter mixture (I actually whipped the peanut butter mixture back into the cream to make sure it was extra smooth). Use immediately, or refrigerate, covered tightly, up to 2 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and stir with a flexible spatula until smooth.

To finish the cupcakes, use an offset spatula to spread frosting over each cupcake leaving a small well in the middle (alternatively pipe the frosting in circles around the perimeter of the cupcake, leaving a small well in the middle*). Dollop about 1 teaspoon jelly into each well (I piped this too, to make sure it was pretty). Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 1 day in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

*If you want to make two loops of frosting on top of each cupcake as I did, you will need to multiply the frosting recipe. My estimate is that 1 1/2 times the frosting should be plenty.




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