Nope, the extra “B” in the title is not a typo. Sure, you can easily figure out what a PB&J cupcake might consist of but any guesses on the extra “B”? I would usually be happy to fulfill a request for muffins instead of cupcakes for my boyfriend’s birthday. The only problem was, we were having a party for almost 40 people and I didn’t think I could get them as excited about muffins at 9pm as my boyfriend would have been. “There has to be cake,” I told him, “I promised them cake!” Compromise is so important in relationships and clearly, this one was an important one to figure out, so we agreed on cupcakes with a jam filling, in order to have the best of both worlds. Since it was the boy’s birthday, I decided to take it a step further and make the cupcake itself with bananas, producing a banana-bread-meets-vanilla-cake base and then a peanut butter frosting to finish the whole thing off because once I was thinking jam and bananas, it seemed wrong to leave out the peanut butter.
I’ve made all sorts of different types of cupcakes and I know it’s all the rage to fill them but I’ve never tried it before. I started looking up methods to fill the cupcakes with jam and the most popular was to cut a cone shaped hole in the top of the cupcakes, scoop a bit out, pipe it full of jam, then cover that area with the frosting, which I didn’t want to do because I hate wasting food and would have ended up eating 18 cupcake insides. Another, less popular option was to bake the jam inside of the cupcake, which seemed to me like it would simply produce jam-bottomed cupcakes since the jam would be heavier than the batter. Then, I came across another method that not many people recommended, but I couldn’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t work: bake the cupcakes and then use a very pointy and small piping tip to puncture the top and fill the cake with jam. This worked brilliantly which made sense since cupcakes are so fluffy that there’s plenty of extra room for some fruity filling. My tips, if you do decide to do it this way are:
1. As I said, use a very pointy piping tip.
2. Since the hole on the piping tip will be very narrow, buy jam that does not have seeds or chunks of fruit. If you have one with chunks of fruit, blend it until smooth and either way, heat it up until runny.
3. Make your cupcakes big. Fill the liners to the top so that you have a lot of room to play with inside for filling. This recipe should yield 18 cupcakes that are sized just right to support the jam.
To make the cakes:
5 ripe bananas (a little more than 2 cups)
1 cup of almond milk mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 stick of (8 tablespoons) Earth Balance Butter
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a 12 oz jar of jam
To make the frosting:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of Earth Balance Butter
1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
5-6 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of almond milk
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the lemon juice to the almond milk and blend or food process the ripe bananas until creamy. Add the almond milk mixture and continue to blend. Melt and add the butter and vanilla. Blend until combined.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix in the sugar and then pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until all the lumps are gone.
3. Spoon the batter into a lined cupcake pan and tap on the counter to remove bubbles (this is especially important since a bubble at the bottom of a cupcake could result in a jam underflow). Bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.
4. Once the cupcakes are cooled, fill piping bag that has a fine tip with the jam (keep your finger on the tip until it has contact with the cupcake, the jam will want out). Puncture the tops of each cupcake, put the tip in as far as it will go and squeeze in the jam slowly, until you see it begin to overflow on top (the cupcake will swell a bit, that’s fine).
5. Make your frosting while your cupcakes cool down entirely and set. Melt your butter and with an electric hand mixer, cream it together with your peanut butter. Add in half the powdered sugar, then the milk. Add remaining powdered sugar a little bit at a time until the frosting is stiff enough to pipe.
6. Cover up the hole by piping on the frosting.