Okay, confession time: When I was a kid, I didn’t like peanut butter and jelly.  Weird, right?  I think it had something to do with the thick, sticky texture of peanut butter.  I did not like the way it stuck to the roof of my mouth, not one little bit.  My dietary staple was either a cheese sandwich (what Andrew now refers to as a “regular sandwich”) or a grilled cheese.  Now, I’ll still take a grilled cheese over PB&J any day, but I have finally come around on the combination of peanut butter and jelly.  I think it was sometime during college or maybe med school that I began making them out of necessity more than anything – the quickest, easiest thing I could grab to take with me that didn’t need refrigeration.  In any case, I am now a total convert and have seen the error of my ways.

I made PB&J cupcakes last year for a coworker’s birthday and while they were good, they were a bit too dense and peanut buttery for me.  (I have previously discussed my strong feelings on the balance between the peanut butter and jelly components.)  This time around, I used a lighter, fluffier frosting and made minor changes to the cake to create a lighter crumb.  I was much happier with these results.  Give them a try, and be sure to enjoy with a big glass of milk!

  • Yield about 22 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
½ cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup buttermilk

For the filling and topping:
Grape and/or strawberry jam

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of coarse salt
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Blend in the peanut butter.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the sour cream.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk and then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until combined.

  • 02

    Divide the batter between the prepared liners filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before proceeding.

  • 03

    To fill the cupcakes, use the cone method to hollow out the cupcakes.  (I preferred using a small paring knife for these cupcakes.)  Cut the tip portion off of each cone and discard, reserving a disc from each to cover the filling.  Fill each cupcake with a small spoonful of grape or strawberry jam.  Replace the cake discs over the filling.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, combine the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the vanilla and cream just until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip (I used Ateco #809). Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake.  Use the tip of a small offset spatula or a small spoon to scoop an indentation out of the center of the frosting.  Fill the indentation with a small spoonful of jam.