Confession: I'm an easy sell. I probably stand in the 0.01% of Americans who actually like television commercials, so when Pillsbury sponsors a huge block of programming on the Food Network, I will sit and zombie stare at their ads. Even if they insist on running a loop of the same three commercials. Throw in a lovable giggling mascot and you can forget it--I'm hooked. I want to make Funfetti® cake NOW, dagnabbit, and no one's gonna stop me. Because honestly, sprinkles DO in fact make things better. And thus was born my second Cupcake Hero entry:
PB & Yay! Cupcakes:
Peanut butter Funfetti® cupcake with grape Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with a white peanut butter cup and rainbow sprinkles.
Voting begins a few days after the entry deadline (Nov.15th). Don't worry, I'll remind you guys to vote! :)
This is definitely a very kid-friendly recipe, but it will certainly delight any adult with fond memories of a good PB & J sandwich for lunch and a Funfetti® cake on their birthday. Want more nostalgia? I added Kool-Aid® to the frosting recipe (for flavor & color)! But...I wonder if I could substitute a package of grape Jell-O® for a portion of the sugar? It's mostly sugar, after all, and the gelatin might help stabilize the egg whites while beating. The only problem I forsee is the acidity interfering with emulsion formation. Any thoughts?
PB & Yay! Cupcakes (makes 24)
18.25 oz. box Pillsbury Funfetti® cake mix
8 oz. sour cream
1/3 cup oil
½ cup milk
½ cup peanut butter
Grape Swiss Meringue Buttercream, recipe follows
24 miniature white peanut butter cups
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper liners into the wells of 2 muffin pans. In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, oil, milk, peanut butter, and eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds to moisten, then scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium and continue beating for another 2 minutes.
Portion into 24 muffin cups, and bake at 350°F for 18-23 minutes, or until cakes test done. Let cool in muffin pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to finish cooling (cupcakes will be somewhat fragile until cool). Frost cupcakes with grape Swiss meringue buttercream and top with rainbow sprinkles. Press a miniature peanut butter cup in the center of each frosted cupcake.
Grape Swiss Meringue Buttercream (adapted from HTEAC)
(enough to frost 24 cupcakes generously, with some leftover)
1¼ cups sugar
4 egg whites
8 oz. unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/3 cup grape jam
¼ tsp. grape Kool-Aid®
Place sugar and egg whites in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (double-boiler set-up). Heat, whisking constantly, until mixture reaches a temperature of 160°F. Take your time and bring the mixture up to temperature slowly; you'll know you're close when the mixture starts to get a little foamy. Once mixture has reached 160°F, remove from heat and pour into the work bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the hot mixture on high for 5-7 minutes, until a marshmallow-type consistency is acheived.
**Important: Feel the sides of mixer bowl at this point. It needs to be at room temperature before proceeding. Chances are, it's still a bit warm. 160°F is pretty hot, so it may take some time to cool off.
Once the sugar-egg mixture has cooled down, switch over to your paddle attachment. With the machine running at medium-high, add the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time. At some point during this process, the frosting might look curdled--that's okay. Keep going and it should work itself smooth. Once all the butter is added, continue beating until a thick frosting is formed. I hate to use this phrase, but...you'll know it's done when you see it. Your mixture will probably look loose and batter-like for the longest time, then as you're watching the mixer go and go for what seems like an eternity, in an instant it will transform to a thick & pipeable consistency.
While frosting is beating, combine grape jam and grape Kool-Aid® in a small bowl; stir to dissolve and set aside. Don't be tempted to add more than ¼ teaspoon...the unsweetened powder is very sour! Once frosting is finished mixing, add grape jam and beat to incorporate.