Tell me about your Labor Day weekend so far. What did you do? Relax at home or get away? We spent the weekend up in the Poconos, brought the pups, took lots of pictures, grilled out on the deck, rented a boat, and floated on unicorns. Yes, that’s right. It was one of those epic, yet relaxing weekends to close out a nonstop (and kinda stressful!) summer. Looking forward to Fall things.
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.
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 (use store bought or this cake flour substitute if needed), 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. ♥
(PS: If you do want to make these the other way around, try my peanut butter cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting. You can even add jelly in the middle like we do here.)
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.
Remember, when you’re filling cupcake wrappers with batter—fill only about 2/3 – 3/4 full. Otherwise your cupcakes could rise too tall then sink back down. Or worse! Spill over the edges. See above? That’s about how high I always fill mine.
And they always rise fabulously. See?
This is just about as fancy as the whole ziplock bag thing I do with my glazed lemon poppy seed donuts, but here’s how I always fill my cupcakes:
Sure it’s a little scrappy, but it works. Just cut a little circle out of the cupcake, fill with about 1 teaspoon of jelly and top with the piece you cut out. You can use any flavor jelly you like. Maybe grape is more your style? It works here!
Once you pile the frosting on top, you won’t be able to see the cut-out underneath. It can be our little cupcake secret. Now it’s time for the frosting. This is my favorite peanut butter frosting on the planet. I’ve been using it for a few years from brownies to snickers cupcakes (yes!) and, of course, chocolate cake and chocolate cupcakes. It’s rich and creamy without being overly sweet. In fact, all you taste is peanut butter. Which makes sense because it’s mostly all peanut butter! Only 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, rather than 3 or 4 like most frostings.
To frost these peanut butter & jelly cupcakes, I used Wilton piping tip #12. This is a super simple frosting method if you ever want to try it. Place the tip straight up on the center of the cupcake, then apply pressure and slowly lift up. That’s all I do!
Check out all that jelly inside these super fluffy vanilla cupcakes. Not sure which part is the best, but that strawberry surprise inside is pretty awesome.
That light and fluffy cupcake texture! Happy back-to-school everyone. 🙂Print
Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
- Yield: 14 cupcakes
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Fluffy vanilla cupcakes filled with your favorite jelly and topped with peanut butter frosting!
- 1 and 3/4 cups (207g) cake flour* (spooned & leveled)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract*
- optional: seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream*
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk*
- about 1/4 cup your favorite jelly (any flavor!)
Peanut Butter Frosting
- 5 Tablespoons (75g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- optional: crushed peanuts for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean (if using). Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Fill the cupcakes: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cupcake to create a little pocket about 3/4 inch deep. Place about 1 teaspoon of jelly inside and top with the piece of cupcake you removed to seal it. See photos above for visual. Repeat with all cupcakes.
- Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter on medium speed for 1 minute until completely smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat on medium-high speed until the two are combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed for about 20 seconds, then gradually increase to high speed. Beat on high for 1 minute. Frost the cupcakes. I used a Wilton piping tip #12 to frost.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools: Vanilla Beans | Tilt Head Beater | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Cupcake Pan | Mixing Bowls | Reusable Piping Bag or Disposable Piping Bag | Frosting Decorating Tip | Measuring Cups | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | KitchenAid Stand Mixer
- Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
- Vanilla: For best flavor, pure vanilla extract is strongly recommended. If using imitation, increase to 1 Tablespoon (3 teaspoons).
- Milk & Sour Cream: Whole milk and sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cupcakes may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk. I suggest both of these ingredients are at room temperature so they mix easier into the batter.
Keywords: peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, peanut butter cupcakes
Reader Comments & Reviews
Great recipe! Thanks!
Can I freeze leftover frosting?
Hi Maureen, you can, but we find that fresh frosting definitely tastes best. But if you have leftover frosting, feel free to freeze it–better to try than to just throw it out!
Can these be made two days in advance? My grandson’s birthday is during a family beach vacation and their will be no oven available.
Love every recipe I have tried!!
Hi Catherine, Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. See recipe notes for other make ahead options. Hope they’re a hit!
I’m so excited to try this recipe! It looks heavenly! Can I drop a spoonful of jelly into each cupcake before I bake it so I don’t need to do the work later of scooping out the cupcake and filling it with jelly?
Hi Ann, we fear the jelly would then bake into the cupcakes that way. They won’t come out the same as if you added the jelly center after the cupcakes are baked and cooled. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes!
Great recipe. I use a cupcake corer to make holes in cupcakes. It works well. I put the peanut butter frosting in chocolate cupcakes and top with Hersheys frosting. Btw, the peanut butter frosting is the same as Ina Garten’s friend. Using this recipe for decades.
Can these cupcakes be totally assembled 24-ish hours in advance if kept in an air tight container in the fridge?
Made these for a Christmas party at work.. everyone loved them! I made them in mini form and baked them for 15-20 minutes. Also after using my hand mixer for the batter I was over it and made the frosting in my food processor with the plastic blade, it worked and came together quickly (I was running late). The cake itself had an angel food cake paleness and lightness to them, Is that normal? Or did I over mix them? It was my first time using cake flour so I didn’t know what to expect.
Hi Jackie, yes! These are light cupcakes– extra fluffy from the egg whites and cake flour. So glad you tried them and that they were a hit!
I just made these for coworkers. I used a piping tip to fill cupcakes…and topped with chopped honey roasted peanuts. When I read the frosting recipe I was nervous it wouldn’t come together with just 1 cup of sugar…and so much cream. I didn’t need to worry! I will have to wait for feedback from coworkers, as I do not eat flour or sugar. They smell AMAZING, and the cake itself such a great texture. Thank you, Sally!
I love this recipe! I made this for my brother’s birthday last year and have been thinking of it ever since. My brother tells people about them all the time
My boyfriend wants a PB&J cake for his birthday. Could I possibly turn this recipe into a layer cake? If so, do you have any tips?
Hi Courtney! I recommend using this white cake recipe and adding the jelly/peanut butter frosting flavors to it.
Tried these recipe but used a little less jelly. They ended up tasting great! Thanks.
Another winning recipe! I just made these today and they turned out beautifully! The cupcakes would be good by themselves, but the peanut butter frosting is to die for! I think I may use it on a chocolate cupcake or brownies. Actually it would be great on banana muffins and call them Elvis muffins! Thank you, thank you very much!
I want to use this frosting to make a layer cake, would you recommend doubling the frosting recipe? Thanks! I love all your recipes Sally and my husband has requested a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for his birthday.
Hi Shannon! Yes, I would double the frosting.
Sally, help! I took beautifully risen cupcakes out of the oven and five minutes later they sunk. What went wrong 🙁
Oh no! Underbaked would be my guess.