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Back to the Basics: PB+J Cupcakes

March 27, 2011

Life just isn’t simple. I’m a girl who thrives in structure, or better stated, someone who can meet and exceed clearly outlined expectations (really, that’s not impressive anymore…). This whole life bit completely lacks structure. Too many options, too many decisions, too many directions to go. I know, I know, what a hard life. Recently a friend was sharing with me how nice it would be to have someone else plan out your day…make your breakfast, pick out your clothes, make your lunch…. With a quizzical look, her friend bluntly stated, “that was childhood.”

And ouch.

Reality sinks in. Growing up, one must learn to be flexible and comfortable in the complexity of possibilities. But then a second realization sinks in deeper. I lack the ability to deal with any and all possibilities with grace when I lack a firm foundation. And here we are…day by day, moment by moment, going back to the basics.

Admittedly, I lack any answers here. I’m really just on this journey. But what better way to link childhood and basics with a little foodie creation…the PB+J Cupcake.

While my yearnings for simplicity did not lead to this creation–I’ll be clear: it was 80% competition that spirred these beauties. A few of my friends had a PB+J cupcake last weekend at DC restaurant,which they described as less than impressive. On Monday morning I received a forwarded e-mail with all their thoughts on what they did and did not like about their cupcakes. And, yes, I decided to do my own spin…

[note: the amazing photography by Caitlin Hodges]

Peanut Butter Cake:

  • 1 3/4 c. AP flour
  • 1 c. 1/2 and 1/2 (can use regular milk)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. peanut butter
  • 1/3 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-3 c raspberries (fresh or thawed)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins with papers. Measure all the ingredients (except raspberries) into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat all ingredients together for about 2 to 3 minutes until well combined, then turn the mixer to high speed for 2 minutes. Fold in 2-3 cups fresh or thawed raspberries. Spoon into cupcake tins, about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

Raspberry Jam (or thickened sauce):

  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 T cornstarch

Bring the raspberries and sugar to a boil on medium high heat. Slowly mix in the cornstarch until thicken. Allow to cool before applying to cupcakes. You want a thick consistency so they do not slide off the tops. It will become more thick after it has cooled.Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/2-3/4 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2c powdered sugar


From → Baking

  1. Oh dear these cupcakes look delicious!

  2. em,
    all i could do while reading this post was nod my head… it’s so nice to know that someone else understands. “this whole life bit completely lacks structure.” thanks for putting it into words more eloquently than i could in my own mind.
    and those cupcakes, honestly, look amazing! :)

    hope all is well :)

    – danielle.

  3. Cathy Denney permalink

    What’s the verdict Em? How do you think they turned out and did your friends that had them at the restaurant get to try yours? They look gorgeous and so yummy!

    • Verdict: Amazing! We loved them! And yes, they did get to have them and I received an e-mail titled: “Who has two thumbs and just at the most delicious cupcake ever?!”

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