Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello Dear Ones, 

Thanks for stopping by. This week I have a good old fashioned flavour combo for you. What could give more warm fuzzies than a classic peanut butter and ‘jelly’ sandwich? Let’s not get too hung up on the whole jelly/jam dilemma, but swing with the American version, well, simply because it just sounds better.

Last week I shared my love affair with all things musk, making the most delicious musk lamington cupcakes . Another favourite flavour, perhaps only second to caramel, is peanut butter. I love it in any shape or form, particularly with chocolate or said caramel, but gee whiz, strawberry jam will do nicely thank you very much. 

I’ll admit these sweet cuppies may not look very elegant. I was actually hoping for a more sophisticated finish with the frosting, trying about three or four different piping tips and styles, but nothing seemed to work for me. Interruptions from little people, humidity in the air or just one of those days when plans do not work. Who knows. whatever I did just created more mess and my delicious peanut butter buttercream would not cooperate.

On the verge of giving up, I made one last attempt at folding strawberry jam into the peanut buttercream and piping swirls, albeit a little roughly, on top of the cupcakes.  A dollop of peanut butter, sprinkle of roasted salted peanuts and voila! You have one messy, masterfully made and oh so tasty PB & J cupcake.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes


A delicious vanilla cupcake filled with strawberry jam, topped with peanut butter Swiss meringue buttercream and a sprinkle of roasted salted peanuts. This cupcake has a delicate sweet and salty balance and smooth peanut butter flavour which will bring back all the delights of childhood sandwiches.
Servings 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, light beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 cup strawberry jam, approx. Use good quality jam

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 300 grams butter, chopped
  • 2/3 cups smooth peanut butter Don't use the pure/healthy peanut butter, you want the original creamy one.
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam, extra
  • 1/2 cup,approx salted peanuts, roasted and roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Line two muffin trays with 18 cupcake liners.
  • Put peanuts in baking tray and lightly roasting oven for ten minutes or until slightly browned. Chop roughly and set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, hand whisk together eggs, oil, sour cream, vanilla and water. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, sift together flour, sugar, bicarb soda and baking powder.
  • Carefully pour wet mix into dry mixture. Use a hand whisk to combine well.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake in a moderate oven for 18 minutes or until firm to touch. Leave to cool.
  • When cool, use an apple corer to scoop out the middle of each cupcake. Put jam in a piping bag and fill each cupcake with jam. Top with Swiss meringue buttercream and chopped salted and roasted peanuts.

Peanut butter Swiss meringue buttercream

  • Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add castor sugar.
  • Sit bowl on top of a saucepan with an inch of water, like a double boiler. Hand whisk mixture until it goes slushy and milky. Whisk every few minutes until sugar has dissolved. Check by rubbing mixture between your fingers. Make sure sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Remove bowl and place in stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk on high till stiff peaks form. Change to paddle attachment and put mixer onto low.
  • Slowly add butter two cubes at a time. This will take about ten minutes. Mixture will deflate, then turn soupy, then curdle like scrambled eggs. This is all normal. Keep mixing. Eventually it will come together.
  • When the mixture becomes silky smooth, keep mixer on low. Add peanut butter. Mix again for 30 seconds until combined. Carefully fold strawberry jam into buttercream. Do not mix. Out into piping bag and frost cupcakes as desired.

The hidden treasure in these cupcakes is the  generous dollop of strawberry jam in the middle. Bringing a continuity of strawberry flavour throughout the whole cupcake, you won’t want to miss this easy step.  

Last weekend I was all set for the markets, with a fridge full of cupcakes and loads of props  and cupcake boxes ready to load into the van. At 5:20am Sunday morning, the market was cancelled because of wet weather. It’s quite disappointing when so much work has gone into preparing. By lunch time I had decided it was worth a try selling mixed boxes online. After putting it out on socials,I organised a local pick up point and amazingly pretty much sold all cupcakes. What a relief!

I really loved meeting grateful customers, greeting new faces and seeing so much interest in my sweet treats. A happy ending in an unfortunate turn of events. Here’s hoping the weather will hold up for the next Lennox market on October 30th.

Well, thanks for joining me in my happy place. Be sure to drop me a line and give any cupcake flavour suggestions you would like to see in a recipe. Lately I have been thinking of doing some old retro flavours inspired by the Arnott’s biscuits we all enjoyed as kids. Monte Carlo, Iced Vovo, Shortbread Cream, Kingston biscuits…who remembers those? Let me know what you think would make a fabulous cupcake.

Until next week,

Love Anna xx

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