Everybody loves peanut butter and jelly. Now combine these flavors in a cupcake and you've got a hit! I have also make this recipe as a 8" cake, using a bit more filling to fill the inside layers, than icing with the peanut butter icing. Young and old alike love the marriage of peanut butter and jelly. I use strawberry or raspberry most of the time, but really any flavor will work. Happy baking!
Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake tins with cupcake papers. This recipe makes 24 so you'll need 2 tins.
Combine first 4 ingredients in mixing bowl, beat on low for 1 minute to combine ingredients, than beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick. Now fill cupcake papers aprox 2/3 full, I use a 2 inch cookie scoop level full so I get nice uniform sized cupcakes. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, till light brown and tops spring back when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Using a small knife, make a 1/2" wide circle cut going about 3/4" into the center of the cupcake, and remove the cake from that opening. (Wilton also makes a small tool for removing the center that is quick and easy to use) Repeat on all cupcakes. Fill disposible pastry bag or a zip lock bag with jam or filling. Cut tip off leaving a 1/4 inch opening. Now fill each opening on the top of the cupcakes with the jam, filling just to the top of the cupcake, do not over fill.
Set aside and make your icing.
In mixing bowl combine butter, shortening and peanut butter, using flat paddle mix ingredients together till well blended and smooth. Now add sifted powdered sugar and meringue powder (if your using it) and blend in on low speed till it's incorparated, add vanilla and half and half, one tablespoon at a time, just till icing is creamy and spreadable, if you need more than 4 tablespoons go ahead and add more, but I find 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) is perfect. Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes to get a nice creamy icing.
Ice filled cupcakes using either a pastry bag or a knife. Store cupcakes in a air tight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge and let sit for a half hour or so before serving. Now just enjoy!