PB&J Layer Cake

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As with many things I share here, this cake came about because I wanted to make something new to bring into work.  I wanted to celebrate a coworker’s birthday so I asked what kind of dessert he would like.  His response was “cake with some really good frosting”.   It was the perfect request because I didn’t have to totally guess what to make but could also be creative and try something new. 🙂  I’d been wanting to try a layer cake with the combo of peanut butter and jelly in some form, so this was my chance!  After brainstorming with Derek we decided the best format was yellow cake, with blackberry jam between the layers and covered in a peanut butter buttercream.  It was a big hit at work!  I also discovered this cake has a magical power- it stays fresh for like 4 days!

Alright, let’s get our pb&j on!

This all begins with the cake.  I used a yellow cake recipe with a hint of honey. Start by preheating your oven to 350° and greasing 3 9″ cake pans.  Now whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl and set that aside.

In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium until pale yellow and fluffy.

Beat in each egg for 1 minute, then beat in the vanilla and honey.

Turn down the mixer to low and add half of the flour mix. Blend that until that’s completely mixed in and slowly pour in all of the buttermilk.  Trust me on this, you want to do this part slowly or the buttermilk will slosh everywhere. Now add the rest of the flour mix and beat just until combined. Finish mixing it together by hand with a rubber spatula.

Now divide the cake batter between the 3 greased pans.  Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Give them at least an hour to cool completely.

Before putting the cake together, you’ll make the peanut butter buttercream.  I adapted Joy the Baker’s recipe from her Homemade Decadence cookbook (you should really check out all her cookbooks, they are just great!). In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment on medium until softened.

Now add the peanut butter, vanilla and salt and beat until it’s all combined and creamy.

Now add one and a half cups of the powdered sugar and beat well. Add 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and another cup of powdered sugar and beat until creamy.  Then add more powdered sugar and heavy cream as needed to get to a smooth spreadable texture.  You want the frosting thin enough to spread on the cake, but thick enough that the cakes won’t slip and slide everywhere. Then beat another few minutes until it’s fluffy and smooth.

Now comes the assembly.  Find the layer that is the most level and use that as your base.  Put the cake on whatever you’ll be serving it on.  Plop 4 tablespoons of the jam on top of the cake and spread it around to about half an inch from the edges. I chose blackberry jam because we have a stockpile from last summer that I canned.  However, I think raspberry would also work well.  Just make sure it’s one with a strong flavor so it doesn’t get lost among the peanut butter.  You really want to be able to taste both flavors equally to get that perfect nostalgic blend.

Now put on the next cake and spread the rest of the jam on it.  Top with the final layer and next you’ll frost the cake.

I have learned that the best way to frost a cake is to do what’s called a “crumb coat” first.  If you watch any professional baking shows, you’ll see this is always what they do.  The crumb coat is sort of what it sounds likes.  It’s a thin layer of frosting you put on the cake that all of the crumbs will be in, rather than on the layer of frosting that everyone will see.  For this cake, it also holds in any of the jam that’s oozed out of the filling so that it doesn’t get into your final coat of frosting. You’ll only be doing the crumb coat on the sides of this cake.  Take a butter knife and slather frosting lightly along the side of the cake, spreading a little more in between the layers to seal in the jam.  Occasionally wipe down the butter knife if there are a lot of crumbs or jam in the frosting before dipping it back in the bowl to get more. The layer will be thin enough that you can still see the cake through it.

The crumb coat

Now you’re ready for the final coat of frosting (you’re almost there!). Start by plopping about a third of the frosting on top of the cake and spreading it around, letting it go off the sides.  Now take a knife or offset spatula and start spreading the frosting along the sides, smoothing as you go.  Once the frosting is all applied, I usually go around again once or twice with my offset spatula to smooth it out.  Then just smooth the top again.

Since this cake it 3 layers, it will feed a crowd!  I think it would be great for a kiddo’s birthday, but it’s also really fun for adults.  You get the perfect balance of peanut butter and jelly that is so satisfying and will take you back to being a kid again!

 

If you don’t serve it all, cover it with a dome of put a piece of parchment between the cut section.  It will last up to 4 days.

Enjoy!

 

PB&J Layer Cake
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Ingredients

    Yellow cakes
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Frosting and filling
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup blackberry jam

Instructions

    Yellow cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease 3 9" cake pans.
  2. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar on medium in the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, until pale yellow and fluffy.
  4. Beat in each egg for 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla and honey.
  5. Turn down the mixer to low and add half of the flour mix. Blend until that's completely mixed in and slowly pour in all of the buttermilk. Add the rest of the flour mix and beat just until combined. Finish mixing it completely by hand with a rubber spatula.
  6. Divide the cake batter between the 3 greased pans.
  7. Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely.
  8. Frosting and assembly
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment on medium until softened.
  10. Add the peanut butter, vanilla and salt and beat until it's all combined and creamy.
  11. Add one and a half cups of the powdered sugar and beat well.
  12. Add 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and another cup of powdered sugar and beat until creamy.
  13. Add more powdered sugar and heavy cream as needed to get to a smooth spreadable texture and beat another few minutes until it's fluffy and smooth.
  14. Find the layer that is the most level and use that as the base. Put the cake on whatever you'll be serving it on. Plop 4 tablespoons of the jam on the cake and spread it around to about half an inch from the edges.
  15. Put on the next cake and spread the rest of the jam on it. Top with the final layer.
  16. Take a butter knife and slather frosting lightly along the side of the cake, spreading a little more in between the layers to seal in the jam. Occasionally wipe down the butter knife if there are a lot of crumbs or jam in the frosting before dipping it back in the bowl to get more. The layer will be thin enough that you can still see the cake through it.
  17. Apply the final coat of frosting by plopping about a third of the frosting on top of the cake and spreading it around, letting it go off the sides.
  18. Take a knife or offset spatula and start spreading the frosting along the sides, smoothing as you go. Once the frosting is all applied, go around at least once more to smooth it out. Then just smooth the top again.
  19. If you don't serve it all, cover it with a dome of put a piece of parchment between the cut section. It will last up to 4 days.
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http://www.rachelpounds.com/2017/04/19/pbj-layer-cake/

 

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Book Club- Everything I Never Told You - By the Pounds

  2. Pinned! So making this soon, I just need to find an excuse for the occasion :)
    1. How about that it's Wednesday ;)

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