What is a fluffernutter, you ask? A fluffernutter sandwich is peanut butter and marshmallow fluff stuffed between two pieces of white bread. So just think of that, but transform it into a cupcake. These fluffernutter cupcakes have a vanilla cake topped with a peanut butter cream cheese frosting and a toasted meringue (AKA marshmallow fluff). It does NOT get any better than that.
Why you will love these fluffernutter cupcakes
- The texture. These fluffernutter cupcakes are SO soft. I pride myself in how fluffy and moist these vanilla cupcakes are, and they stay moist for days after baking.
- Two frostings. Yes, you heard me. These cupcakes have two types of frosting on them to get those ultimate fluffernutter flavors. The first is a peanut butter cream cheese frosting, which is *mwah* chef's kiss. The second is a toasted meringue, which is basically like marshmallow fluff, because they are made from the same ingredients (sugar, egg whites, etc.).
- They're easy to make. I am all for simple recipes - follow this recipe to a T and I promise you will not regret it. These cupcakes are so easy to make, and the frostings are self-explanatory, too.
Key ingredients for fluffernutter cupcakes
- All purpose flour: all purpose flour is the flour of choice for these cupcakes - it leads to the perfect soft and tender crumb.
- Leavener: baking soda is used to give these cupcakes a beautiful rise.
- Fats: the key fats in this recipe are the butter, oil, eggs and milk. All of these ingredients add moisture which results in an incredibly soft and tender cupcake.
- Sugar: granulated sugar is used to add sweetness, flavor and moisture in the cupcakes and meringue. We also use powdered sugar in the frosting.
- Peanut butter: I like to use all natural creamy peanut butter for the frosting, with the only ingredients as peanuts. I think it mixes well and tastes amazing.
- Cream cheese: cream cheese is another key ingredient in the frosting - it adds a slight tanginess to an otherwise very sweet dessert. It really helps even everything out!
- Egg whites: egg whites are a crucial ingredient in the meringue - whipping the egg whites is what gives us those luscious stiff peaks.
- Make the cupcakes. Whisk the dry ingredients - this includes the flour, baking soda and salt. Then beat the wet ingredients - start with the butter and oil. Then add the sugar and beat. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined, then half of the milk and mix until almost combined. Repeat with the other halves of the dry ingredients and the milk.
- Bake. Evenly separate the cake batter into a 12 cup cupcake tin and bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Make the peanut butter frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and butter, then add the peanut butter and mix. Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and milk and mix until combined.
- Make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla extract in a bowl over 2 inches of boiling water until thin and frothy on top. Remove from the heat and beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Assemble. Once the cupcakes are cool, dollop a bit of peanut butter frosting on the cupcake, followed by the meringue. Toast with a kitchen torch. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container.
Why are my cupcakes dry?
There are two main reasons why cupcakes can be dry. The first is over measuring the flour. A lot of people make the common mistake of dunking the measuring cup into the flour and scooping. Doing this packs down the flour in the measuring cup, which will lead to way more flour than you need. To properly measure flour, spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. Or, and this is my preferred method, measure your flour using a kitchen scale! That will yield the most accurate results.
The second reason is over baking. A cupcake can be over baked in the matter of minutes. Just a few extra minutes in the oven can turn a soft and moist cupcake into a tough and dry cupcake, so make sure to keep an eye on it. It is finished when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Why did my cupcakes sink?
Cupcakes can sink from over mixing the batter. Make sure to only mix your cupcake batter until the ingredients are JUST incorporated, not any longer. Don't just turn on your mixer and walk away (I have made this mistake many, many times). Additionally, an underbaked cupcake can sink, so make sure to bake the cupcakes all the way through.
Can I use a different milk instead of whole milk?
Technically, yes. However, I really recommend sticking to whole milk due to its fat content. The fat content of the milk really adds to the moisture and softness of these cupcakes.
Can I use olive oil instead of vegetable oil?
Technically, yes. But the cupcake flavor will change significantly. Vegetable oil is used because it is a very neutral oil and does not have a lot of flavor. Olive oil, on the other hand, has a very distinct flavor that will most definitely come through in the cupcakes if you choose to use it.
Why is my frosting grainy?
Grainy frosting can be due to butter or cream cheese that is too cold, or unsifted powdered sugar. In order to avoid grainy frosting, make sure to use room temperature butter/cream cheese and sift your powdered sugar if you notice it is clumpy. If you do both of those things and your frosting is still grainy, let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then re-mix it with a tablespoon or two of liquid (milk, half and half, heavy cream, etc.).
Why is my meringue not forming stiff peaks?
A common reason why a meringue won't form those beautiful stiff peaks is most likely because grease or fat got into the meringue mixture. Any fat from the egg yolks or grease residue left on the bowl you are using can prevent stiff peaks from forming. Make sure to separate one egg at a time and wipe your bowl down thoroughly before using.
Other reasons could be that you simply have not beaten it long enough, or you forgot to add the cream of tartar. Cream of tartar stabilizes the egg whites by preventing the egg proteins from sticking together, thus speeding up the whipping process and leading to a soft and pillowy meringue.
Other recipes you may like
- 1 ¼ cups (157 grams) all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 mL) whole milk room temperature
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup (65 grams) all natural creamy peanut butter
- 1 ½-2 cups (180-240 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk/heavy cream room temperature, if needed
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and oil together on medium-high speed until completely combined. This will only happen if the butter is fully at room temperature. About 2-3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, stream in the granulated sugar then beat on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well on low speed in between each addition, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low-medium speed until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients. Once almost fully incorporated, add half of the milk and mix until almost combined. Repeat this with the other halves of the dry ingredients and the milk. Do not over mix.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake cups. The batter should be the perfect amount for 12 regular-sized cupcakes. Fill the liners until they are ½-3/4 of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium-sized bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter by themselves until the mixture is light and fluffy. On high speed for 5 minutes. Make sure they are both room temperature - if they are too cold, you may end up with grainy frosting.
- Add the peanut butter and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and milk/heavy cream and mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then on high speed until completely combined.
- You may need to add more powdered sugar (to thicken) or more milk (to thin) depending on the desired consistency. Cover tightly and set aside in the fridge.
- Once the buttercream is done, make the meringue. Fill a sauce pan with about two inches of water and bring it to a gentle simmer.
- Separate the yolks from the egg whites and make sure NONE of the yolk gets into your egg white mixture. Any fat can prevent your meringue from setting up and getting those stiff peaks.
- In a heat proof bowl, place the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Place the bowl on the sauce pan over the simmering water but do NOT let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water. If you think there is too much water, pour a little out. You can also use a double boiler if you have one.
- Continuously whisk while the mixture heats up. It will start out thick but will thin out as you keep on whisking. Whisk for about 4-5 minutes until the mixture is thin and frothy on top. If you have a thermometer, it should be around 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from the heat. Using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (preferred method), beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes until luscious, puffy, stiff peaks form.
- You will most likely have left over meringue - store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It is delicious to top on ice cream, dip berries in, etc.!
- Once the cupcakes are cool and the frosting and meringue are finished, we assemble. I like to use piping bags for this, but it is not necessary. You can also use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. Pipe or dollop some of the peanut butter cream cheese frosting across the entire top of the cupcake. Follow with a dollop of the meringue. If you have a kitchen torch, I highly suggest toasting the meringue. Repeat this process with all of the cupcakes. Enjoy!
- I like to scrape down the bottoms and sides of the bowl every time after I add a new ingredient, this will ensure the cupcakes are properly mixed.
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!
I can’t wait to make these!!! What brand of peanut butter do you use? I tend to avoid all natural PB in baking because it’s hard to really incorporate that thick layer of oil. Please let me know what you use?
Hi Laura! I have used Crazy Richard's peanut butter in the past! I mix up the peanut butter very well when I open the jar so that layer of oil is totally mixed through. Hope that helps!
Store peanut butter upside down to avoid oil settling. Read about this trick a few years ago...works! I have a great peanut butter frosting recipe I've used over & over. I used Jif until this last recall. God bless