Adorable PB&J cupcakes are inspired by the classic lunchbox sandwich we all know and love. How could you resist?
I’m kind of obsessed with peanut butter and jelly. In middle school, my best friend and I used to compete to see who could pack the most loaded PB&J for lunch - we’re talking triple and quadruple layer stuff. This is one of my more fantastical PB&J creations... Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes.
I used to think that PB&J’s had to be between two slices of bread to be legit… that is until my Romanian crew coach, in 8th grade, taught me differently. You see, one day some teammates and I were hanging around after practice, when she offered to make us some peanut butter and jellies.
Of course, we eagerly accepted, but did she come back with sandwiches? No. She brought us each a spoon with a hunk of peanut butter and a dollop of jam balanced precariously on it. It was unexpectedly hilarious, but the point still stands: all you need is peanut butter and jelly for a great PB&J.
Let’s talk about these PB&J cupcakes a little bit, shall we? The actual cake portion is quite possibly the fluffiest, most tender cake I’ve ever tasted. Plus, it’s loaded with peanut butter (as in over ½ cup for only a dozen cupcakes, people). But, do you see that soft crumb?!
Next, a piece of the center is removed, filled with your favorite jam or jelly, and then plugged back up - a secret jam surprise to be revealed only after you bite into it! (By the way, if you don’t happen to own a cupcake-corer, you can totally use an apple corer, or even a small paring knife to core the cupcakes.)
Lastly, the whole thing is topped with a good piping of silky-smooth peanut butter buttercream, and a drizzle of jam, for good measure. Oh, and sprinkles… sprinkles make everything better. That’s just pure science right there.
If you don’t own any pastry tips, just go ahead and spread the frosting onto the cupcakes - don’t worry, it won’t be any less delicious! Also, you really don’t have to include the jam drizzle on top. I just think that it adds a great pop of color, and balances out the P to J ratio a bit.
How about some homemade jam for your PB&J cupcakes? Try Tracy's Rhubarb Jam recipe, or classic Raspberry Jam.
For the Cupcakes:
For the Frosting:
- 1 cup Cake Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 cup Almond Milk, plus 2 tablespoons - or milk (cow, soy, nut) of your choice
- 1/2 cup Peanut Butter, plus 1 tablespoon
- 4 tablespoons Strawberry Preserves, or any jam, jelly or preserves of your choice
- 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup Confectioners Sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
- pinch of Kosher Salt
- Strawberry Preserves, or jam, jelly, or preserves of your choice to drizzle (optional)
For the Cakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tray with paper liners; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butters and sugars on medium speed for at least 5 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat for another couple of minutes.
Now, add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low to combine. Scrape down the sides and paddle and add in the milk and mix on low to combine. Follow with the remainder of the flour mixture and combine. Add in the peanut butter and mix on low, with a few bursts of high speed, until combined.
Fill the paper liners 3/4 of the way full (I find it’s easiest to fill them with a large cookie scoop), Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
When the cupcakes have cooled, use a cupcake corer, apple corer, or paring knife to remove a center plug of each cupcake. Fill the holes with around a teaspoon of jam each, and replace the cupcake plug. I like to warm the jam a bit in the microwave to make it a bit more pourable, and then put it into a squeeze bottle.
For the Frosting:
Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high for about 30 seconds to loosen it up. Add in the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing on low after each addition until combined.
Scrape down the sides and add in the peanut butter and salt. Beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes until increased in volume and somewhat stiff.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cupcakes, top with a drizzle of jam, and some sprinkles.