Speaking of Fall! I want to share THEE most perfect September treat. Nothing brings me back to September school days growing up quite like PB&J sandwiches, except for maybe a new set of butterfly hair clips and a lisa frank pencil case.
It’s almost a year to the day since our last jaunt to America. This time last year, we were road trippin’ through Texas, traipsing through the snow covered streets of New York and discovering the political wonders in Washington DC.
One of our all-time favourite travel memories was landing in New York late afternoon when Storm Juno was due to hit and the city was going into lock down. A grim situation for some, but our plane wasn’t cancelled. As dusk fell, we found ourselves rolling our suitcases through the snow with the streets absolutely deserted, feeling like we had New York all to ourselves.
Something you’ve gotta know about these peanut butter & jelly cupcakes: they start from my simply perfect vanilla cupcakes. Have you had the chance to try them in the past week? I love them. They’re fluffy and sweet, soft and light, moist and buttery all in one cupcake wrapper. We can owe all the lightness to the sour cream, cake flour, creamed butter, and egg whites.
I chose to make them this way– rather than a peanut butter cupcake base– because I wanted just the right balance of peanut butter and jelly. So peanut butter frosting, on top of a vanilla cupcake, filled with strawberry jelly. Now doesn’t that sound like the quintessential lunchbox treat? Nostalgic and comforting. ♥
Just like the original, I added vanilla bean to the cupcake batter. You can leave it out completely, but I really like the extra flavor it brings. Vanilla bean and peanut butter… vanilla bean and strawberry… these flavors are just so beautiful.
FOR THE CUPCAKES
- 1 1/2 cup cake flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/8 cup unsalted butter (2 1/4 sticks), softened
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups grape jam (plus a little more for garnish)
FOR THE FROSTING
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), slightly softened but still cool
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
US CUSTOMARY – METRIC
TO MAKE THE CUPCAKES:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a cupcake pan with papers.
- Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the butter, and mix on medium-low speed, until the mixture resembles damp sand.
- Stir in the peanut butter, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the Greek yogurt, milk, and vanilla.
- Mix on medium-high speed for approximately 90 seconds, to aerate the batter and build the cake’s structure.
- Place about 1/4 cup of batter in each well of the cupcake pan.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool completely, then cut a small well in each and fill with grape jam.
- Top with buttercream and drizzle with more grape jam.
TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM:
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a large metal mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Set the bowl over a small pot of simmering water, and heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture becomes translucent and no longer feels gritty when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger.
- Remove from heat and whip on high speed until the meringue becomes glossy and thick.
- Cool completely (there should be no hint of warmth when the hand is place on the side of the bowl. Place in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes, if necessary.)
- Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, while whipping on medium-high.
- When all the butter has been added, fold in the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt.