nuts about it – peanut butter & jelly cake

nuts about it – peanut butter & jelly cake

I go through unexplainable phases of food cravings–almost possessions by culinary spirits. Right now, my X-File is all about peanut butter.

With fall settling in for a stay, there’s no shortage of good, local fresh ingredients for creative baking, but I can’t stop thinking of peanut butter . . . with bananas. There’s something about these flavors, though it certainly didn’t come from my childhood. I was never regular consumer of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and bananas were just another fruit. I wasn’t much of a fan of Chinese peanut soup, either.

According to Dr. Google, I’m craving fat, sugar, and salt.  I do have a fondness for sweet and salty combinations. Maybe peanut butter is my substitute for trying to avoid fried foods. In any case, I’m embracing my peanut butter possession, which includes peanut butter and jelly shakes.

Desserts take it to another level: Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Pudding and now Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake. Beyond satisfying my craving, the cake triggered a sensation among my friends who grew up with peanut butter

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake


Peanut Butter Cake

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (5-5/8 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (4 ounces) packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, room temperature

4 tablespoons ( 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature

Banana-Rum Filling
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 can (6 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup ( 1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, (about 10 ounces) mashed
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
Grape Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons grape jelly
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops violet food coloring (optional)
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 stick/6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 12 pieces
  • Peanut Butter Cake layers
  • Banana-Rum Filling, recipe to follow
  • Grape Frosting, recipe to follow
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and chopped (optional)


Peanut Butter Cake

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 ℉. Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder and baking soda  together in a small bowl, set aside.

2. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes until combined. Add peanut butter and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add egg and vanilla, beat until just combine.

3. Beat in half of flour mixture until just moistened; add milk to combine. Add remaining flour mixture until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 25- 30 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen edges and turn cakes onto wire rack. Cool completely.

Banana-Rum Filling

1. Whisk yolks in medium saucepan; gradually whisk in evaporated milk. Add sugars, butter, and salt and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until sugars have dissolved.

2. Stir in bananas and continue to whisk until it comes to a boil, frothy, and slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl, whisk in vanilla and rum. Cool until just warm, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool or cold, about 2 hours.

Grape Frosting

1.Combine sugar, baking soda, flour, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in milk until very smooth. Pour mixture and 1/2 cup grape jelly into medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is very thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer grape mixture to clean bowl and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cooled grape mixture, extract, remaining 2 tablespoons grape jelly and food coloring (if use) on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Recipe Note:

1. Grape-milk base can be made ahead and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

2. Frosting can be refrigerated in airtight container for 1 week. When ready to use, let stand at room temperature until softened, about 1 hour. Beat with stand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

3. Use food coloring sparingly or it will take over the grape flavor of the frosting.


1. Line an 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap with ample overhang, about 6 inches. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on the bottom of prepared cake pan, spread approximately 1/3 banana filling over cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with filling and cake layers until top with the 4th cake layer. Wrap cake with overlap plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Remove cake from refrigerator, unwrap cake and place it on a serving platter or cake stand. Spread or pipe frosting  on top and side of cake.Garnish with chopped peanuts. Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes, Serve.