These Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter and Jelly from Melissa Ben-Ishay transform classic PB&J into a portable dessert. The sweet vanilla cake is filled with grape jelly (but you can certainly use your favorite flavor; just be sure to buy a high-quality brand). The frosting is simply smooth, creamy peanut butter piped on top—so again, be sure to buy a great-tasting brand, preferably natural, but not too runny at room temperature. Check out Melissa’s Chocolate Chip Pancake Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe and her Doughnut Cake with Matcha Glaze recipe too.

For more PB&J desserts, get our Peanut Butter and Jelly Fritters recipe, and our Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars recipe.

  • Yields: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr, plus cooling time
  • Active: 30 min

Ingredients (10)

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk (or buttermilk; let the cup overflow a bit)
  • 1 1/2 cups store-bought grape jelly
  • 1 16-ounce jar smooth peanut butter, preferably natural, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 24-count cupcake pan or line it with paper liners. (Buttering the pan will make the edges less crispy.)
  2. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  3. Add the vanilla extract. While mixing at medium- low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the edges of the bowl midway through.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a separate bowl.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When it’s mostly incorporated, add half the milk. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.
  6. Take the paddle attachment off the mixer and lick the batter— it should be delicious!
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it, about 30 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely, then fill a disposable pastry bag with the grape jelly. Massage the bag a bit before cutting off about 1/2 inch of the tip, so that you get an even mixture. With a small circular cookie cutter, cut a hole in the top of a cupcake and press open the edges. Slowly squeeze the bag to fill the cupcake with jelly. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
  9. Fill another disposable pastry bag fitted with a round tip with peanut butter. Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake, up and around but not covering the jam.

Recipe from CAKES BY MELISSA by Melissa Ben-Ishay. Copyright © 2017 by Baked by Melissa. Used with permission by William Morrow. Image courtesy of Ashley Sears. All rights reserved.