Years ago, I shared a peanut butter and jelly bar with you that completely rocked my socks. What I didn’t tell you at the time (or any other time in the 8+ years I’ve been writing here), in the midst of my lamenting about the intrinsic greatness of this very American combination, was that I have a very particular way about how I like to make a pb&j sandwich.
It’s more of a “special occasion” pb&j version, which is to say, it happens no more than a couple times of year. And I’m pretty sure it will gross some of you out but here goes:
You take the whitest of white breads, slather equal parts creamy peanut butter – never crunchy – on one slice and strawberry jam on the other. Andthenandthenandthen!!
You add a hefty layer of Nacho Cheese Doritos atop the peanut butter before sandwiching the two sides together. Alternate combinations have included Cool Ranch Doritos and also just plain salty ridged potato chips. Both of the alternatives are also delish!
And to drink with this sandwich: an ice cold glass of chocolate milk on the side. Always and only chocolate milk with this sandwich!!
Yup! So there you have it. Probably my biggest food confession/guilty pleasure since I was a kid and now it’s out there for the world to know about.
And for the record, my cousin has been known to put puffy Cheetos on a tuna salad sandwich. So there’s that to compare me to. Ha!
ANYWAY! These peanut butter and jelly cupcakes do actually have some relevancy here aside from the ingredients. They are some KILLER cupcakes, causing almost as big of a ruckus in our house as the day my mom found out the aforementioned is how I like to eat my pb&j sandwiches.
Similar but different.
These cupcakes definitely won’t freak anyone out and cause people to consider how they raised their children. (Thanks, Mom!)
They will however, with their soft and tender peanut butter cake, strawberry jelly/jam filling, and the fluffiest of vanilla bean frostings, actually make people explode with excitement.
OK, maybe that’s too literal but you get what I’m saying. You NEED these cupcakes. You may not NEED a pb-Doritos&j sandwich with chocolate milk on the side, but you need these peanut butter and jelly cupcakes. You absolutely do.
And truth be told, if you want to amplify the peanut butteriness of these cupcakes, you MUST make my go-to peanut butter frosting instead of the whipped vanilla frosting. No one would ever complain about more peanut butter!
For the cupcakes:
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp table salt
- 12 tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- ⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup buttermilk
For the filling and topping:
- ½ cup strawberry jam (or whatever your preference is)
For the whipped vanilla bean frosting:
- 3 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and bean scraped
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of table salt
- To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy then blend in the peanut butter until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the sour cream. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and buttermilk/vanilla mixture in three additions beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, taking care to mix only until they are each just incorporated before adding the next and scraping down the bowl as needed. Divide the batter between the liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes rotating the pans front-to-back and top-to-bottom halfway through the baking time. Transfer the pans to wire racks and cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan and allowing them to cool completely on the racks.
- To make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed (#4 setting) for 8 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. It seems like a long time to beat frosting but this frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy. It's pretty much perfection.
- To assemble: With a sharp paring knife, cut a little cone shape (about 1-inch in diameter and about 1-inch deep) out of the top center of the cupcakes. Cut off the tips of the cones and discard (or eat) and set the tops aside. Add a small spoonful of jam to the hole in the cupcakes, leaving enough room to replace the lid of the cupcakes without the jam smooshing out. Replace the lids.
- Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip (I used Ateco #809) and fill the bag with frosting. Pipe large swirls onto the cupcake or, to make a seamless mound of frosting, hold the tip close to the top of the cupcake and squeeze the bag firmly while slowly pulling up; the frosting will spread out to the edge of the cupcake and start to form a mound while you pull up. Make a small divot in the frosting and add another small spoonful of jam to the divot.
- Store in an airtight container. Cupcakes will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days and they get better on day 2 when the peanut butter flavor has a chance to bloom.
As a member of the Amazon Associate affiliate program, I earn a small percentage from your qualifying Amazon purchases when you click the Amazon links on this page. I'm not informed of who purchases what, just of what products are purchased.