Peanut Butter & Jam Cupcakes

Update: I finally got a chance to re-make these delicious cupcakes and this time I was sure to fill them with jam once they cooled. I also got to garnish them with a darling raspberry jube and they were a great success.
I don’t often re-visit cupcake recipes, there are so many to try, but these will be made again, and soon!

A quick introduction to the other  kitchen; I’m Alex, currently living in Brisbane, though I spent my first 20-odd years in Melbourne. I’m currently working in an office…. to fund my passion for cooking and baking! I tend to have short-term obsessions; once I find a recipe I love, I will make it several times and then move onto something else. My preference is for recipes that are simple, because baking is a hobby and as such, I think it should be relaxing. I also prefer recipes without lists of obscure ingredients, because I hate ending up with a pantry full of half-used jars and bottles!

This recipe comes from a book Mel gave me, Cupcakes Year-Round. It fulfils the criteria above, using simple ingredients and being fairly simple to make. Please forgive the use of cashews as a garnish. I always have peanut -butter in my house but rarely have nuts, so I used what I had handy. If I’d had the time and energy to buy a garnish, I think a raspberry lolly would have looked sweet (I used raspberry jam in the cake).

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  •   2 1/ 2 Plain flour
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/ 4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 3/ 4 cups jam (I used raspberry) Plus more for piping

Icing

  • 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 Cups of icing sugar
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1/ 4 Cup of peanut butter

To begin with, the butter and sugar must be creamed with an electric mixer. Because I can never seem to plan ahead enough to have room temperature butter, I popped it in the microwave for a little bit. Some of it melted, but I don’t think it affected the batter at all.  To this mix, add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In an additional bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Personally, I did this step first, but that’s because my grandmother told me to always beat the egg whites in any recipe first, so that your beaters and bowl are perfectly clean and dry.

NB: Do NOT bow to pressure from ‘kitchen helpers’ to eat the rest of the batter at this stage. There was still a whole cupcake’s worth of batter in there!

Now add the buttermilk and flour mix alternatively to the butter mix. Though I’m not quite sure why they need to be added alternately, I have seen this method before in other recipes and they came out well, so I followed the instructions here and added bit by bit. Now stir through the jam until just combined (it helps to microwave it for 30 seconds or so, to make it runny).

Finally, fold in the egg whites gently using a rubber spatula.

Dollop 1-2 tablespoons of the mix as neatly as you can into your patty-pans, which are lining the cupcake tin.

Pop the cupcakes in your pre-heated 180° oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

When they’re cool enough to lift out of the trays and onto wire racks, half-fill a piping bag with more jam and squirt a little into each centre, until it just squeezes out the top.
If, like me, you have an electric oven, you will be all too familiar with the joys of uneven browning! But, as they say, icing covers a multitude of sins so…. on to the icing.

Cream the butter until fluffy with your electric beaters and then gradually add the icing sugar. If, like me, you find the icing sugar starts to coat your kitchen with a fine layer of sugar dust, you’ll need to add the milk in a little at a time, along with the sugar.

Now add the salt and peanut butter. Continue beating until it reaches spreading consistency, adding more milk if necessary. Once the icing is complete, taste it and make sure the peanut butter flavour is clear enough. I had to add another little sprinkle of salt to taste at this point, you really want the contrast to the sweet jam cupcakes.
If you need to wait a little longer for your cupcakes to cool before icing them, cover the surface of the icing with glad-wrap until you’re ready to ice them.

To me, this cupcake fairly successfully evoked the sandwich of my childhood (peanut butter and jam, obviously) but the first time I made these I skipped one step in the recipe, which I felt was superfluous at the time.
The recipe calls for extra jam to pipe into the centre of each cupcake.  While the jam flavour was still present, the peanut butter flavour was very strong and the dollop of jam in the middle would have balanced it well.

Having said that, the cupcake and icing recipes are both lovely, creating moist, light cupcakes and a rich peanut butter icing. If you are, or know, a peanut butter and jam fan, I would highly recommend this recipe.

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