Monday, January 30
When I started this blog in 2009, I didn't plan on being drawn into the Cupcakean Nebula. I never had anything against cupcakes, they were just too trendy.
For as accommodating as I am, I can also be quite contrary. I cut my hair super-short after someone said they didn't like girls with super-short hair, If someone says "You're a good mood!", it puts me in a bad mood, despite the fact that I consider myself a realist, I believe in the idea of soul-mates, and I like knee socks with just about everything, including shorts. So when the world became obsessed with cupcakes, my automatic response was to avoid them, at all costs.
Thankfully, that didn't last very long. :D
Almost three years, and several cupcake recipes later, I was elated when Jaclyn, of Celebrations, asked me if I would like to enter a cupcake contest! Because as trendy and commercialized as they are, I can't deny the fact that I adore cupcakes.
Besides, a little almond told me that macarons are quickly becoming the new "it" dessert.
At their core, these cupcakes are classic white cakes, filled with raspberry jam. The magic is in the frosting!
At first, I wanted to make a Nutella frosting, but all hopes were dashed when I discovered that the jar was nearly empty. (Seriously, who puts jar of Nutella back in the the cupboard with only a teaspoon left to scrape out?) Luckily, I'm neurotic and had a plan B (and C, and D).
I made a peanut buttercream frosting, but it looked nonchalant and painfully bored. Okay, fine, why don't you just tell me what you want, peanut buttercream frosting? (Yes, I talk to the food that I bake with.)
And boy did it talk! Who knew that P.B. had such an attitude? (I can all it P.B. because we're tight.) Anyway, P.B. suggested that I add some raspberry jam and a few spoonfuls of cocoa powder, oh, and some maple syrup...oh, and since I'm past the point of no return, why not some cream cheese too?
Told you it was cheeky. (I'm too uptight. I admire sass.)
Anyway, after much collaboration, we came up with a knock-your-knee socks-off frosting! It really tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich...and that's even before your teeth sink into the soft, fluffy, jam-filled cupcake.
If you would like to cast a vote for these cupcakes, you may do so here. (Thank you!) The competition is tough, but I enjoyed the opportunity to play around with a new recipe. Aren't you glad that I didn't make yet another citrus doused dessert? :D
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
2 cups Cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons (that's 1 1/4-sticks)unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 room temperature eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup room temperature sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam, well-stirred and at room temperature.
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam (feel free to use your favourite flavour)
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with 20 cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment (a hand-held mixer will work too), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until well combined. One by one, add the eggs, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the almond extract.
On low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Begin and end with the dry ingredients, ( you'll be adding the flour in 3 additions, and the sour cream in 2).
Only beat until the flour streaks have disappeared, and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes are golden and spring back when lightly touched.
Remove the from the oven and allow the cupcakes to sit in the pans for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Once they have cooled, use a small pairing knife to cut out a small hole inside each cupcake. You don't have to go all the way to the bottom, just to the centers. (Don't worry if the holes are not perfect circles, they're going to be covered with frosting anyway.) Use a teaspoon to fill each hole with the raspberry jam. Lightly cover the cupcakes while you prepare the frosting.
Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and salt together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and jam. Beat until well combined and smooth.
Gradually add the confectioners' sugar in about 1/2 cup increments, beating well after each addition. If the frosting looks too thin after adding 3 cups of sugar, add more until it thickens and becomes spreadable. If the frosting is too thick, add a teaspoon or 2 of cream and beat until smooth.
Use a piping bag or a small off-set spatula to frost the cupcakes and dollop a drop of jam or chocolate chip on top of the frosting (if desired).
Makes about 20 cupcakes