Like most people from Europe I didn’t grow up with peanut butter and jelly. I also didn’t grow up with cupcakes. So these PBJ cupcakes are novelty for me. They are also a departure from the normal kind of recipe that I post on Drizzld. However, I made them a couple of years ago after buying Martha Stewart’s cupcake book and they were a huge hit with my Mum and my friend Kate. Mum took some persuading to try one, Kate didn’t! Since then they have both been badgering me to make them again! I made some this weekend and they were eaten in record time! The recipe that I have included here is a variation of Martha Stewart’s peanut butter and jelly cupcake. I tweaked the cupcake batter a bit and made the frosting lighter and fluffier!
Peanut butter was invented in the mid 19th century. To begin with it was seen as a delicacy and tended to be served in the posh tearooms of New York paired with ingredients such as cheese, pimentos or cress. However, in 1901 Julia Davis Chandler wrote in the Boston Cooking School Magazine a ‘recipe’ for peanut butter and jelly on bread and that started the PBJ combination phenomenon!
In the early 1900’s the price of peanut butter came down and with commercialisation, sugar was added to it. This meant it became easily accessible to all households and because of the sugar, a favourite with children. Adding jelly to peanut butter on bread become common and millions and millions of PBJ sandwiches were eaten across the US every year. It became such a staple part of the US diet that it is said to have been on the ration list for US soldiers during World War II.
This pairing is common in the USA – search the internet and you come across recipes for souffles, cookies, waffles, ice cream, popcorn, you name it, all made with peanut butter and jelly. However, it is still seen as an ‘odd’ combination by lots of people living in the UK and Europe. As I said, my Mum was very wary the first time I made these cupcakes, but I think she now recognises the great taste combination. There were other friends that refused to try them, despite my pleading.
So I hope if you are a PBJ convert, you enjoy these cupcakes. If, on the other hand, you have never tried PBJ combination, I urge you to overcome any ‘icky’ thoughts about it and try it in this cupcake form. My guess is that you will become a convert. They are really, really good! Promise.