Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sis!

 "A sister is one of the nicest things
that can happen to anyone."

Today is my sister's birthday.  We're miles apart, but that doesn't stop me from baking her a special cupcake and shipping it off to her...hoping FedEx takes really, really, good care of them.

Last June, Kelly, Ari, and I took a "road trip" from Kentucky to Virginia to visit my sister.  She lives in the Shenandoah Valley and has the most breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Our oldest daughter, Erin, flew in from New Jersey and we had a Sister's Weekend!  It was perfect and we had fun reminiscing, as well as, adding new memories.  Memories that we didn't realize would be the last time the four of us would be together.
 I am blessed to have a sister who shares with me her talents, especially in knitting, and who has been a "shoulder to lean on" through losing Kelly.  I'm hoping this time, next year, I'm living in Virgina, just a stone's throw away and can take her birthday cupcakes instead of allowing FedEx to delivery them without me!

Banana Cupcakes with Berry~Berry Jam Filling and 
Peanut Butter Buttercream

Banana Cupcakes

Berry~Berry Jam

Peanut Butter Buttercream

Homemade Peanut Butter:
2 cups shelled, roasted, salted peanuts
1 T peanut oil
This will make approximately 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. Peanut Butter Flavoring
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2-3 T Heavy Cream

Make the Banana~Fana cupcakes or you can use a vanilla cupcake recipe.  I used the "tulip" cupcake liners and the recipe made 18 cupcakes.

They baked in a 350F-degree convection oven for 22 minutes.  If you don't have convection, adjust time to result in a golden brown cupcake.  Don't over bake!  Remember, the cupcakes will continue to bake slightly even after they're removed from the oven and you want a tender cake.  Cool completely.

While they are cooling.
Make the homemade peanut butter:
In a food processor or blender, put the peanuts and oil and pulse at first, then turn ON until the peanuts turn to a smooth paste.

This is a really good peanut butter and makes wonderful sandwiches.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Peanut Butter Buttercream:
Beat the butter until smooth.  Add 4 cups of the confectioners' sugar, the flavorings, and the peanut butter.  Beat until combined.  Add the last 2 cups of confectioners' sugar, adding 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream to create a fluffy buttercream.

To assemble the cupcakes, use an apple corer to remove a "plug" from the center of the cupcake and fill with the jam.  Using a piping bag will make this easier.

Fill another piping bag with a large 6B tip to pipe the buttercream.  I placed a small plug over the jam opening before piping the buttercream.

Finish the cakes by sprinkling some additional peanuts on top.   The cakes came out perfect and when I cut one in half, you can see the center is just oozing with delicious jam.  Enjoy!


  1. Happy! Happy! Birthday! to your sister! She sounds like a very treasured friend! The first photo is very beautiful Susan, very professional! You are very dear to make such a birthday treat with such love! Of course reading about this precious road trip and seeing your photos made me cry... One similarity I notice between you and your girls is that you all hold yourself in the same way with your head up and that is so beautiful to me. It speaks so clearly of the way your personalities are. My fingers continue to be crossed for your house to sell so that you can be near your dear sister. Love you xoxo

  2. These look amazing! Tell your sister I am terribly sorry, but the FedEx truck will never make it. I'm heading out now to hijack it and eat all the cupcakes. :)

    Still, I wish her a very Happy Birthday! ;)

    Love you! xoxo

  3. Erica~Just think...when I move to Virginia, you can come down for a movie weekend and cupcakes.:)

  4. Everytime I start to write, I start to cry---I am so totally overwhelmed by the birthday tribute and the beautiful pictures. I have wonderful memories of our "Sister's Weekend" and will forever treasure the time we spent together. You have made my birthday very special this year and very "sweet" also, with the arrival this morning of the PB&J cupcakes. (Sorry Erica, the FedEx truck made it!!) Thank you Erica and Nicole for the birthday wishes and thank you, Sis, for all the thoughtful and loving things you do. Love and Hugs, Barb

  5. Sis~There's more to come. I love you xoxo

  6. Happy, Happy Birthday Barbara!

    Lots of Love,


  7. Happy Belated Birthday Wishes to your Sister xxx

  8. Such a beautiful tribute to your beautiful, wonderful sister and my bestest friend!!!