Question: Who is ready for a solid week of nothing but sweet treats?
Answer: Who is ever not ready for a solid week of nothing but sweet treats?!
This Saturday, The Sword in the Scone is venturing out of the blogosphere and catering an event. *Yay*
This will be the second time I’m officially “catering.” Because I won’t count the 100+ parties/gatherings I’ve been to where I brought seven different things to share only because I felt like it. This past November was the first time I was formally asked to cater; I made a dozen different miniature-sized desserts for one of my girlfriend’s bridal shower.
It was so much fun. I’m pleased to say I got really good feedback from the guests, and it was there I finally decided my cooking and baking addiction should become more than just a hobby. The birth of this blog, if you will.
My good friend Ann is giving her master’s recital this weekend, and I’ll be making sure the reception is extra special. I am too excited. For those of you who haven’t been to music school, in order to get a degree in music, be it a bachelor’s, master’s, or a doctorate, you have to give a recital. There are a slew of requirements, which become more difficult and extensive the higher your degree level. For singers, this includes the minimum amount of music that must be performed, the number of languages that must be sung, and specifications for the style and eras of the music programmed.
Yup, it’s as fun as it sounds. If you’re not on the verge of a nervous breakdown by the two weeks leading up to the performance, you’ve probably done something wrong. Either that, or you’ve done something very, very, right, but I wouldn’t know because I went through a series meltdowns in the month before my recital.
Anyway. Ann’s recital is going to be superb. Because Ann is a rockstar. She was a huge source of support to me when I was getting my master’s degree, and I truthfully say she has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard live. She sings all styles of music with apparent ease and total finesse. She is as kind as can be, and brings a can-do, positive attitude toward everything she does that I only wish I could emulate. Oh, and I should mention Ann was also the first non-family member to subscribe to this blog, which means a great deal to me.
All this considered, you better believe I am bringing out all the sugary stops for this lady’s reception on Saturday! And I’ll be sharing one recipe a day for the next week.
First up, peanut butter and jelly cupcakes. Mini peanut butter and jelly cupcakes! A comment I got from multiple people at my last catering endeavor was how much they liked that all the treats were made miniature. I totally understand. My grandma calls me a “grazer” because I always have to try everything; I can’t just pick one thing if there are multiple choices in front of me. By baking things small, people don’t have any reservations over trying whatever they’d like.
I personally like making things in miniature when serving multiple people because it’s an easy way to stretch ingredients. Bake 12 cupcakes, and only 12 people get one, and will likely throw half away. With the same amount of ingredients, you can get at least three dozen mini cupcakes and make three times the amount of people happy, without waste. It’s a no brainer!
I came up with this recipe on a whim the other day, totally not expecting it to become one of my favorite recipes to date. Everything about it. The cake is an adaptation of my yellow cake recipe, but uses peanut butter in the batter. It tastes just like a peanut butter cookie in cake form. I use raspberry jam for the filling, but feel free to use your preferred flavor, just like in these bars. As I say in that post, I know everyone has a “way” with PB&J, so do yours!
The frosting. Oh my god the frosting. I based the recipe off my Nutella cream cheese frosting. I subbed peanut butter for the chocolate-hazelnut spread, and upped the sugar a bit to compensate. After the first batch, I then had to make this peanut butter version two more times. No, not because I needed to adjust the recipe. Because I ate it all before it made its way onto the cupcakes. I’m serious. Spoon, frosting, mouth. Maybe a banana or a graham cracker made its way in there. I can’t remember. This frosting is that good. I’ve stated my opinion before on overly-sweet buttercream. So if I can literally eat this peanut butter cream cheese frosting straight from the bowl, you’d better believe it is out-of-this-world good.
The cake, jam filling, and frosting come together to make what will soon be one of your new favorite desserts, and I’m already dreaming of different ways in which I can use these cake and frosting recipes. I have a feeling these miniature Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes will be the winner among the crowd on Saturday, but I’ll keep you posted!
Check back tomorrow for recipe number two in this sweet treat marathon. 🙂
Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
Yields 60 miniature cupcakes, or 18 full-sized cupcakes
Fluffy peanut butter cake, sweet jam centers, and a dreamy peanut butter cream cheese frosting that together will undoubtedly become your new favorite cupcake!
Peanut Butter Cake:
- 2 1/2 (300g) cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup (78g) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup (150g) brown sugar
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. canola oil
- 1/3 cup (85g) creamy peanut butter
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4oz. (1/2 package) brick-style cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (128g) smooth peanut butter*
- 1 1/2 cups (180g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp. heavy cream
- Dash of salt
- 1 1/4 cups (300g) seedless raspberry jam*
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Prepare 60 miniature cupcakes liners, or 18 full-sized cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
Cream the butter in a large bowl using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Add the sugar and mix until combined. Add the peanut butter and canola oil, then continue to beat until fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, then add the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, begin adding the flour in three batches, alternating each with the buttermilk until everything is incorporated. Do not over beat!
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake for 12-13 minutes for mini cupcakes, or 19-21 minutes for full-sized cupcakes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing and transferring to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before filling and frosting
For the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the powdered sugar a half cup at a time.
Once all the sugar is in the bowl, add the vanilla, heavy cream, and a dash of salt. Continue to beat the frosting at medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator while the cupcakes cool.
Using a paring knife, cut and remove a small cone from the top of each cupcake. To do this, angle the knife towards the center and insert it about a half inch from the cupcake’s edge, stopping a little below the center. Continue to hold the knife at an angle as you rotate the cupcake, making a circle about one inch in diameter. Lift the knife, and a small cone of cake will come out. Set aside.
Fill the cavity in each cupcake with about a teaspoon of jam.
Pipe frosting over the top of the cupcakes, or simply spread it on with a knife. Uneaten cupcakes may be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
* I recommend you do not use an oily, natural style peanut butter. You need a traditional brand that stays emulsified and doesn’t need to be stirred. I like either Skippy or Jif Naturals.
*You may use whatever flavor of jam you prefer