Confession: When I bake, it’s in uniform — a Yankees apron and backwards Yankees hat. Even though for nearly ten years I’ve lived in a city where the baseball players also wear pinstripes, my loyalty still lies in the Bronx with the New York Yankees.
No matter how many times I’ve visited Yankee Stadium, there are a few seconds before entering the park, when I can’t help but look up in awe,
thinking of the legends who have played for the club previously,
and will take the field that evening.
On Thursday night, I joined my family (and 50,000 other fans) in the Bronx for Game 4 of the ALDS. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric as the Yankees hoped to clinch the series.
In addition to watching great baseball, another part of the fun of going to a major league ballpark is indulging in the concessions! Everyone in my family has a favorite — Dad always eats a soft pretzel, Mom orders a soft ice cream in a plastic helmet,
and Brother gets garlic cheese fries.
For me, all it takes is the 7th inning stretch suggestion from the singing of “Take me out to the ballgame” to start keeping an eye out for the Cracker Jack vendor.
The salty, sweet treat is the perfect companion for the remaining innings — especially when things get tense as they did in Game 4.
The Yankees lost the game in 13 innings but won the series. And since there’s still a lot of baseball left to play this postseason, I wanted to enjoy the upcoming games with a taste of the ballpark made right in my kitchen — Cracker Jack Cupcakes!
Yield: 24 cupcakes
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
Crunchy Peanut Candy Filling
- 12 ounces lightly salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
Salted Caramel Frosting:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 bag Cracker Jacks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with 24 liners.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping bowl after each pair. Add vanilla and mix well, scraping down sides of bowl. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk, and mixing on low speed. Set aside.
Prepare Crunchy Peanut Candy Filling in a medium sauce pan. Melt butter, vanilla, corn syrup, brown sugar, and molasses over medium heat, stirring frequently until combined. Remove from heat and stir in coarsely chopped peanuts with a rubber spatula until coated.
Fill cupcake liner 1/3 full with cake batter, add a layer of crunchy peanut candy filling, and top with more batter until liner is 2/3 full.
Bake until toothpick comes out clear, approximately 18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in tins and remove to wire racks to cool completely.
For frosting, stir sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue cooking without stirring until mixture turns amber color. Remove from heat and add in cream and vanilla. Stir until smooth and set aside until cook to the touch, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat butter and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed. Reduce to low speed, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated, scraping bowl when necessary. Add caramel and beat frosting on medium high until airy and thoroughly mixed.
Frost cupcakes and top with Cracker Jacks.
Note: You will have leftover crunchy peanut candy filling. We highly recommend rolling your ice cream sandwich in the peanuts for a delicious treat!
DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO THE BRONX: 105 miles