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I love cookbooks, especially easy ones that don’t give me a ton of recipes but lots of ideas.  Cupcakery by Toni Miller is such a book.  This is one I would have bought for my son before he went off to Culinary school because it takes a simple recipe and lets you make the most amazing cupcakes.

All the cupcakes start off with a cake mix.  The recipes for all the cakes are nearly identical making it easy to learn the formula – cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, sour cream, melted butter.  From there, Toni teaches you how to dress up the cupcake with various fillings and frostings.  It’s a perfect beginner cookbook or for the busy cook who really has dreams of being Martha Stewart.

Since we’ve been experimenting with making our own cake mix, I searched for a recipe that started with a white or yellow cake mix.  When I found Toni’s PB&J cupcakes, I knew I had a winner.  My family loves peanut butter frosting.

I wish I could say that I found time to make beautiful frosted cupcakes but I didn’t.  I did get the cupcakes made and hope I’ll find time tonight to make the frosting.  However, I’ll share the recipe with you.  This worked beautifully with our homemade mix which I made with white whole wheat pastry flour and vegan margarine.  I used Ener-G egg replacer and sour cream powder (water added).  It’s a weird mix, I know but I was pressed for time.  The end result – the most amazing cupcake.  It was so good we ate a really hot cupcake at 10 pm last night and another for breakfast this morning.  I am truly surprised.  The recipe came together so quickly and easily.  I did notice that it took longer to bake than the recipe called for but I think that might be an issue with my oven.

PB & J

Cupcakes and kiddos go together like, well, peanut butter and jelly! We love to make these cupcakes for a special after-school treat. Try letting them join in with this recipe; kids make great jelly fillers and peanut sprinklers.


1 box white cake mix
4 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding
4 large egg whites
½ cup sour cream
1¼ cup milk
¼ cup melted butter (slightly cooled)

1 cup grape jelly

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 cups powdered sugar
5–7 Tbsp. milk

¼ cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together cake mix and pudding and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl) using the paddle attachment, beat together egg whites, sour cream, and milk at low speed. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Beat in melted butter until just combined. Once all ingredients are incorporated, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and turn mixer up to medium and beat once more for 15–20 seconds. Do not overbeat.  Spoon three tablespoons of batter into each cupcake liner and bake on middle oven rack for 16–18 minutes, baking up to 24 cupcakes side by side at a time. (For best results, bake cupcakes one pan at a time.) Once a toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and allow cupcakes to rest in pan for 2–4 minutes before removing and transfer to a cooling rack. Prepare pan and repeat this step with any remaining batter.  While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl) using the paddle attachment, cream butter at medium speed until soft and smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar, beating slightly between each addition. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, beating in between additions until at desired consistency. Turn mixer up to medium-high and beat for 1–2 minutes.
Once cupcakes have completed cooled, core and fill cupcakes with grape jelly. Frost cupcakes with peanut butter frosting using the traditional swirl technique and a large circle tip. Allow cupcakes to chill for 5 minutes before dipping the top in chopped peanuts.

To order the book: