Well, I’ll admit it. I’ve never really liked PB & J sandwiches. Not sure why. I like peanut butter. I like jelly or jam… if it’s raspberry or strawberry flavoured. But I’ve never had the inclination to put them together.
I celebrated my birthday last week, and had the day off today, so I figured that I’d make myself a cake. From the get-go, I was planning a Cannoli Cake. I know, sounds AMAZING. But, I found myself on a Sunday where I really – and I mean really – didn’t want to leave the house to go get any ingredients I was missing. I was missing quite a few as well, so I decided to store the cannoli cake for another day, and look for something a little more… accessible.
I was scrolling though Pinterest and saw this Peanut Butter and Jelly cake, and thought, heck, why not give it a try? After all, it’s in cake form, and I do love cake. I changed a few things… The original recipe has all white sugar in the cake. Well, my sugar bucket was running low, and I’m not QUITE strong enough to lift up my 20kg bag of sugar and balance it just so to fill up my sugar bucket without getting sugar all over the kitchen floor. That being said, I substituted half a cup of white sugar for brown, and I’m so glad I did, because it made the cake and the frosting match in flavour just that much more.
This frosting though. Oh. My. Gosh. Sooo good! A brown sugar peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream. Oh yeah – wrap your head around that. I was definitely licking the bowl… and the spatula… and the beater… yeah, you get the picture. It was knock-your-socks-off good.
Yield: 1 6-inch cake
For the cake:
2¼ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ c. butter, softened
½ c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
2/3 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
For the frosting:
¾ c. brown sugar
3 egg whites
1½ c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
Jam or jelly of your choosing (I used strawberry jam)
Chopped peanuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 six inch pans or 2 8 inch pans. (I used my miracle cake release.) Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until combined.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add in the sugar, and mix until well incorporated. Add in the eggs and vanilla, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add in half of the flour mixture, and turn the mixer on low. Drizzle the milk into the mixer bowl slowly, until all the milk is incorporated. Add in the other half of the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Tap on the counter a few times to make sure the batter is level. Bake in the preheated oven for about 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, whisk together the sugar and the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer set over a pot with 2 inches of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160°F. When the egg mixture reaches the correct temperature, take off the simmering pot, and whisk on high speed until a thick meringue starts to form. Mixture should reach stiff peaks. Beat in the soft butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Add in the vanilla, and the peanut butter, and beat until combined into a thick, fluffy frosting. It will come together.
To assemble the cake, level the cakes so they are flat. Place one cake on the serving dish. Pipe a dam of icing around the outside edge of the cake, then spoon the jam or jelly into the middle of the icing. Place the second cake on the icing/jam. Repeat with the next layer of cake.
Once all three layers of cake are stacked, frost the sides and top of the cake, reserving some icing to decorate. (I had a lot of icing left over – I just slathered it on the trimmed cake tops for a little snack for Paul!)
If desired, pipe a border around the bottom of the cake and around the top of the cake. Fill the space in the top of the cake with another layer of jam. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts on top and around the cake, if desired.
Store in the fridge, but serve at room temperature.