This month’s theme for the Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge was “Childhood Memories.” At first I was trying to think of a place – like the beach or the zoo – for decoration purposes, but then it hit me…
My favorite lunch I ever had as a kid was a Fluffernutter Sandwich (peanut butter with marshmallow ‘fluff’ spread) at my babysitter’s house. My mom met a wonderful woman in lamaze class, when she was pregnant with me, whose daughter was born a couple weeks before me, and she would watch me when my mom was at work. Her daughter and I were best friends, and if memory serves I was over there nearly every day. I distinctly recall (even over 20 years later) eating Fluffernutter sandwiches with cheese puffs on the side. Just the thought of that sandwich brings me back there, and I can’t even remember the last time I had one.
I decided to recreate the combo with a peanut butter cupcake and marshmallow frosting. (Next time, I might try marshmallow filling with peanut butter frosting, just to get all I can out of the ooey-gooeyness of the actual sandwich). When I told my friends about it, they were just as excited as I was to relive that memory in cupcake form.
I got the cake recipe from Martha Stewart, and I used the marshmallow topping I’d made previously for my homemade mallomars (and had much better luck with it this time!). These were pretty straight-forward to make, and from my friends’ reactions I hear they captured the flavor of the sandwich pretty darn well! The peanut butter flavor in the cupcake isn’t overwhelming, and the cupcake as a whole wasn’t so rich that you’d get a bellyache – as I probably would if I tried one of those sandwiches nowadays.
PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES – Makes 18 regular sized cupcakes
- 1 3/4 Cups AP flour
- 3/4 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter – softened
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Start off by preheating your oven to 350F. Line 18 muffin tins with paper. I ended up making 14 regular sized cupcakes and 20 mini ones.
Cream the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy, then add the peanut butter and mix completely.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated. Then, using the dry wet dry method, alternate the flour with the sour cream and vanilla (you can add the vanilla all at once).
Fill your muffin tins so they are about 2/3 full. It’s about 1/4 cup, and for the minis it’s about a Tablespoon.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. These don’t get very brown on top, but you can leave them in a minute longer to decrease their pallor if you like. Didn’t really matter to me because I was covering the top anyway!
While those are cooling, you can make the fluff! (or run to the food store to get ingredients to make the fluff, either way.)
You should have a candy thermometer for this, but I like to wing it. 😉
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1Tbsp gelatin (one packet)
- 2 Tbsp cold water
- 2 egg whites at room temp
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
Start off by whipping your egg whites in a mixer for 7 minutes until soft peaks are forming. While that’s going, sprinkle the gelatin over the 2Tbsp cold water (in a bowl). Put your corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and sugar in a medium sized sauce pan, don’t turn on the heat just yet.
When the egg whites are about halfway done (I set a timer) you can bring your sugars and water to a boil on the stove. There are more detailed pictures on my post for the mallomars of these couple of steps, along with warnings of the mistakes I made my first go-round with those. After the sauce pan’s contents have been brought to 235F (here’s where the thermometer comes in handy) and reaches the soft ball stage, take the pan off the burner and mix in the gelatin. Mine got all foamy when I did this and, since it happened last time too, I took it as a good sign.
Your egg whites should have hit the 7 minute mark by now, so add your vanilla and then slowly add the syrup while they’re still whipping. This part was not easy, you should probably put it into a pourable measuring cup or something before you do this. I, of course, did not. You’ll need to mix this vigorously, for a while, to make the marshmallow. You’ll see steam rising up from the bowl as it mixes because, yes, the ingredients are that hot! Once stiff peaks form in the mixture, and the sides of the bowl no longer feel hot (maybe 15 minutes?) your marshmallow should be ready to pipe on top of the cupcakes (or to be spread on a real Fluffernutter sandwich).
You can see the lovely speckling of marshmallow on the underside of the mixer, it splattered pretty much everywhere. Yum.
And, since there’s no better way to serve a Fluffernutter, I present you with my completed creation; a light, not too sweet, Fluffernutter Cupcake, complete with cheese puffs and a glass o’ milk.
The smell of all of this being made in my kitchen really brought me back, I hope they provide you with a wonderful journey back to childhood yourselves.
The winner of September’s Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge will receive prizes from:
- Bake It Pretty; a $5 electronic gift card
- Bakerella; an autographed copy of her new book Cake Pops
- Beanilla; 2 each of 4 special vanilla beans
- Hello Hanna; a pack of Sweet Stands cupcake stands
- Miss Kitty Creations; a handmade cupcake charm of your choice
- Sweet Cuppin Cakes; a prize pack worth $25
- Tundra Books; a selection 3 very sweet children’s books
Thank you to all our prize sponsors and to Jamieann for hosting!