nuts about it – peanut butter & jelly cake

by hungryrabbit on October 5, 2012

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

yield: one 6-inch 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, recipe to follow
Grape Frosting, recipe to follow
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and chopped (optional)


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


2 large egg yolks
1/2 can evaporated milk (6 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (1-3/4 ounces)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ripe bananas, (about 10 ounces) mashed
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum


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

adapted from Cook’s Country
yield: about 2 cups


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


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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ A Thought For Food October 5, 2012 at 8:23 am

Oh Ken. You nailed this one. There was a dessert that we had at the French Laundry that this reminds me of. But this may be better with that banana rum frosting. Also, that grape frosting is the most awesome color! Amazing!

Meeta October 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

This is such a pretty cake! i love the flavors and well i am still oohing about how pretty it looks! Love it!

Natasha October 5, 2012 at 11:10 am

I absolutely love this cake! It’s stunning and sounds delicious. Bookmarked!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm

What a fun idea! Yum!

Lina @lina_to_u October 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Yum, peanut butter& jelly AND banana & rum…my fav foods (ok ,Rum only in cocktails) All in a slice ! Sounds great ♡

Jess October 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm

That is seriously one good looking cake there!

Colette October 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Love the blue
the rum.

thelittleloaf October 12, 2012 at 8:18 am

This cake is genius and loving the flavour combination. I just made peanut butter biscuits with jelly filling and know exactly what you mean – that salty sweetness is totally addictive!

marla January 31, 2013 at 6:35 am

This is a stunning cake! Just pinned to 2 boards :) Will be linking back to this in an upcoming post too.

Rachel January 31, 2013 at 9:15 am

Love the frosting design, especially on the sides, I’d be interested in the details of the technique if you’re willing to share. Thanks!

hungryrabbit January 31, 2013 at 9:19 am

Hi Rachel, I did it with a comb for decoration. You can get them at any baking supply store. -Ken

Rachel February 6, 2013 at 11:23 am

Great idea! Thanks so much!

Anna October 1, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Hi there! This looked awesome so I thought I’d give it a try. I did have a question though. In the cake ingredient list you have milk, but in the description you say sour cream. Which is it? I used sour cream and the batter was kind of thick. It’s in the oven know and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I made the right call.

hungryrabbit October 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

Hi Anna, how did the cake turned out? Apologies for the confusion, it should be milk but I suspect sour cream will do as well (more moist?) Keep me posted. -Ken

Anna October 17, 2013 at 12:24 am

It came out really good! My coworker was leaving us and since she literally ate a pb&j for lunch every day, I thought this would be perfect. I doubled the recipe to make enough for the whole office and piped the frosting on top into roses…though no one cared about that when they were stuffing their faces with cake :) Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

Geneviève September 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Wow this cake looks amazzzinggg… I would like to make it for my little girl’s birthday yet I’m wondering how I can replace the rum filling ?

hungryrabbit September 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Hi Geneviève, you can replace the rum with evaporated milk or omit it entirely. Happy Baking – Ken

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post:

Copyright © 2015 Hungry Rabbit NYC
Site by Kinetic Webs