I’m back with a vengeance!! Did y’all miss me? Basically, I’ve heard that absence makes the heart grow fonder so….presumably your hearts are all now filled with so much fondness you don’t even know what to do with yourself. Luckily, you may now lay down that oversized suitcase full of fondness that you’ve been carting around for the past few months that’s just been getting heavier and heavier. It’s now time to rest and relax and what better way to do that than with my all time favourite thing? Something with peanut butter in it! (Hopefully that news didn’t shock you so much that a trip to the emergency room was required…especially if you live in the States because I absolutely refuse to be financially responsible for that 😉 ).
Another favourite ingredient of mine is honey (I know, I know all you vegan purists out there are now out for my blood – how you don’t see the irony in that is beyond me, but I digress 😉 . Feel free to exchange said honey for any other thick-ish sweetener of choice. I will humbly suggest agave or maple syrup, which is another of my favourite things. Hmmm…is it still considered a “favourite” if a million billion things fall under that heading? I’m suspecting that I will possibly be gifted with a lot of dictionaries for my birthday and Christmas this year. “Ummm…Amber, I don’t want to be a jackass here, but “favourite” implies the best, or numero uno…you know, like how your blog is my favourite and all other blogs are now dead to me/ I have sworn off all other blogs in favour of it?” 😉 – that’s how it is for you guys right? RIGHT???!!!! That may have looked a bit too threatening…possibly because it IS 😱 Good Lord, talk about your tangents! But really, just admit that you’d be disappointed if you were to start reading this and there were zero side tangents and meandering pointless stories. The alliterative puns, pointless stories and poppycock (embracing my inner old man/ elderly nosy neighbour lady here) is what makes this blog go round. One could say that it’s the eco-friendly fuel that gets me from point A to point B if you will (with a lot of side jaunts to point X, point Q etc in between 😉 ).
What was I talking about again? Oh right! Honey and how much I also love that. My favourite kind is buckwheat honey simply because it just has a nice molasses-y flavour to it, and basically just has a more intense flavour profile in general compared to other honeys. Essentially, I buck all other honeys in favour of it 😉 . So if I ever randomly decide to start calling you buckwheat, you can most definitely assume that it’s a super high compliment 🙂 .
On to the recipe at hand! (Finally Amber, sheesh, remind me to hire you if I ever need a little filibustering done because you are clearly the greatest in the land). Today I bring you peanut butter ball cupcakes filled with a strawberry balsamic jam and topped with a salted honey cream cheese frosting. It has all the things!
Perhaps I should have just called them “Everything Cupcakes”. Trust me, I seriously considered it, but then there would’ve been all the confusion (and possible trademark infringement? 😉 ) around the already existing “Everything Bagel” ™ ( 😉 ). I didn’t want people thinking I’d completely lost it and was opting to put garlic and sesame seeds and…I don’t know, bagels? into my cupcakes. I know I go a little (read: a lot) off the rails sometimes with my flavour combos, but even I wouldn’t do that…well, that’s probably a lie, I feel like practically anything can be incorporated into a dessert if you do it right, but for the sake of these cupcakes, let’s pretend that’s true 😉 .
Salty sweet combos virtually always rule the day in my personal opinion, so tossing a little fleur de sel (or coarse sea salt) into the honey frosting just seemed like a no brainer. Just my opinion though, so feel free to take it with a grain of salt 😉 .
Yield: 1 dozen
- 1 1/2 cups pastry flour (or AP is OK too, I just prefer pastry flour for cake and cupcakes. Trust me when I say it really does make a difference)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan butter room temperature (i.e. slightly softened)
- 2 egg replacer
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
Mini Maple Peanut Butter Balls:
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional – if using, may need to add another tablespoon of icing sugar)
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Strawberry Balsamic Filling:
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (depending how strong you want the flavour to be)
- 2 tablespoons chocolate liqueur (optional)
Salted Honey Frosting:
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (or ideally, fleur de sel if you want to get fancier/ have better flavour)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups icing sugar
- Make the mini maple peanut butter balls by combing all ingredients except the chocolate until fully combined.
- Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
- Form large pea sized peanut butter balls and place on baking sheet. Place sheet in freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Place chocolate into a small bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is fully melted.
- Remove peanut butter balls from the freezer and dip in chocolate, placing peanut butter balls back on the baking sheet. Return sheet to freezer while preparing cupcake batter.
- Preheat oven to 325F (170C)
- Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg replacer, and vanilla and beat until fully combined.
- In a couple of batches, alternate mixing in the non-dairy milk and flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix.
- Remove peanut butter balls from the freezer and fold as many as you want into the cupcake batter.
- Divide the batter evenly among your prepared cupcake liners (Fill them about 2/3 to 3/4 full). Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Filling – place all filling ingredients in a small saucepan on the stove and simmer until it becomes a jam-like consistency (i.e. not too runny. This isn’t an exact science, just use your best judgement). Set aside to cool. Lazy man/woman Note: if not using chocolate liqueur, you might be able to get away with just nuking this in the microwave briefly to thicken slightly.
- In a small bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter, honey and vanilla until smoothly combined. Slowly beat in the icing sugar until spreadable consistency is achieved. Add salt slowly, testing for degree of saltiness you want.
- Once cupcakes are fully cooled, use a butter knife or spoon to hollow out the centre of each cupcake (reserving the top piece of cake to use as a “plug” after) and fill with strawberry balsamic filling. Replace “cap” of cake over the hole. Frost with salted honey frosting.
- Store in the refrigerator.