I love hosting parties. And most of all, I love hosting birthday parties (hear that, friends? I am happy to host any and all birthday parties for you - just say the word. Seriously. Don't feel shy). One of the best parts is that it gives me a chance to bake a birthday cake. I strongly strongly believe that, at the very least, everyone deserves a home-baked, delicious, made-with-love birthday cake on their birthday. Or cupcakes.
This year, because my party was on a weeknight, I decided to go the cupcake route (they're much faster than a traditional layer cake). My favorite cupcakes are these peanut butter and jelly cupcakes. I developed the recipe a couple of years ago when, in a fit of nostalgia for America, I decided that the two arguably most American of American foods - PB&J sandwiches and cupcakes - should be merged into one delightfully perfect cupcake. It worked like a dream.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups white flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick (4 oz) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
your favorite jam - I recommend strawberry or grape (in Germany, Waldfrucht works great)
2 sticks (8 oz) butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
24 oz. powdered sugar (in Germany, this is 3 boxes)
4-6 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 170 C.
2. Butter cupcake tins or line with paper liners.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and egg whites.
5. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Cream for a full 3 minutes.
6. Beat the vanilla extract into the sugar butter mixture. Then add 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/3 of the milk mixture, continuing to alternate adding the flour and milk as you mix to incorporate it.
7. After everything is added, continue to beat mixture for another full 2 minutes so that the batter is well-aerated.
8. Spoon batter into muffin tins so that they are about 2/3 full. There should be enough batter for 20 - 24 cupcakes.
9. Bake 18 - 22 minutes, until a knife poked in the middle comes out clean.
10. Remove cupcakes from the pan and let cool for 10 - 15 minutes.
11. Once cool, take a small paring knife and cut a round the size of a thimble (or slightly larger) out of each cupcake. Save the rounds that you cut out of the cupcakes, as you will want to cut off and re-use the tops as "caps" for your jam pockets.
12. Spoon jam into the hollow rounds in the middle of each cupcake.
13. Cap the jam pockets with the tops of the pieces of cake that were removed (at this point I usually spoon some jam onto the soft middle bits of the cupcake that would otherwise be discarded and make sure that nothing goes to waste...)
14. Make the frosting: cream together the butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream or milk.
15. If you're fancy, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. If you're lazy or somehow incapable of getting your fancy frosting pipers to work, like me, just haphazardly glob some of the frosting on the cupcakes and spread it around. The more the better.