Friday, August 5, 2011
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
I do not like peanut butter. I know...it seems criminal, however I just do not care for peanut butter in things. I will eat it on an apple, with carrots, or with honey on toast, but in things like ice cream, cake, candy, etc. I am not a fan. So when I was asked by a friend to make chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing, I was at a loss. How do you try out something that you don't really like?
I ended up making PB&J Cupcakes because I had a vanilla recipe I wanted to try and so had cupcakes already on hand. I didn't think that just plain cake and peanut butter icing would be so good alone so I decided to add some flavor by filling the cakes with blackberry jelly. The end result was pretty good. I did try one and liked the flavors together. The icing recipe I got from Cara at Cara Lee Cupcakes and Cake was excellent and I will be using it for the cupcakes that I am making for my friend's wedding. The vanilla cake recipe was pretty good too. It was light and fluffy with good vanilla flavor and stayed fairly moist the next day. I am not sure if it is the best vanilla cake recipe I have found, but it is easy to make and better than others I have tried.
The cake recipe came from Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires. It was a great read, not a cook book, but a narrative of her years as a food critic for the New York Times. It was very entertaining as she described the different disguises she would use to avoid being recognized. There are recipes interspersed in the chapters that meld well with each story she tells.
Slightly Adapted from
Nicky's Vanilla Cake
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Makes approximately 18 cupcakes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put papers in cup cake pan.
Mix butter and sugar in a mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a seperate bowl. Mix well then add to the butter and sugar bowl. Mix well. Add the sour cream and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until blended.
Using a medium cookie scoop fill cupcake liners with batter or use a spoon and fill until 2/3 full. The batter is thick so the cookie scoop works well.
Bake in the oven for 14 minutes. Do not over bake or they will get dry!
Using a paring knife or small sharp knife, cut a small circle into the center of the cupcake and remove the chunk of cake. This will be similar to coring a tomato. You want enough cake cut out to create a small well for the jelly. Don't take out too much or the cake won't hold up.
Fill the depression with your choice of jelly. I used blackberry because that is what I had on hand. Also it helps to mix the jelly in a small bowl first so that it is not chunky. Use a teaspoon to fill the cake.
Peanut Butter Icing
Slightly Adapted from Cara Lee Cupcakes and Cake
1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 block of cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter (I used pretty heaping tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of powdered sugar (Add a bit more if you want a slightly thicker frosting)
Cream butter, cream cheese and peanut butter in mixer until well blended and smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, blending well after each addition and scraping the sides as you go.
At room temperature, pipe onto cupcakes. The frosting can be refrigerated, but let it come to room temperature before using.
I gave these to my neighbor, who has two little boys. They were quite happy to get cupcakes with pirate wrappers!