It’s become a tradition around here where every year I bake my own birthday cake. It’s my gift to myself every year that I challenge myself a little bit to come up with a recipe and execute it.
It started with the chocolate peanut butter cake, from there I moved on to fluffernutter cake, sweet & salty cake, and then the Momofuku themes with confetti cake, and last year’s chocolate chip cake. This year I fulfilled my childhood dream with my very own peanut butter and jelly cake.
I didn’t just want a white cake filled with peanut butter and jelly frostings, I wanted to create a cake that would literally be like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And, I think I succeeded.
I bit of a warning though, while making me extremely happy and excited about achieving my goal, it simultaneously blew my mind eating a cake that tasted like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sort of like eating purple ketchup. It tastes so good but it breaks my brain when I eat it.
That being said, this cake was a huge hit and I highly recommend making this for the PBJ lover in your life.
- 1 recipe browned butter cake
- 1 recipe peanut butter frosting
- 1 recipe berry milk crumbs
- 1 jar of your favorite jelly (you won't use the whole jar)
- 1/4 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 gallon-size Ziploc bag (for frosting)
- 6-inch cake ring
- 2 acetate strips
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brown butter (recipe below)
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup tightly packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup shaken buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup powderd milk
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup powdered milk (separate from the first)
- 3 ounces white chocolate, melted
- 1/4 cup crushed freeze dried berries of your choice (I used strawberries)
- Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl put a microwave-safe plate on top.
- Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, watching carefully. The butter will pop while browning.
- If the butter has not browned enough, microwave again in 1 minute increments.
- While the brown butter is cooling, stir periodically to incorporate the caramelized bits of butter. Cool completely before using. (I put mine in the fridge and stirred every 5 to 10 minutes).
- Heat the oven to 350°f and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, brown butter, and sugars. Cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined after each addition. Turn the mixer up to medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
- With the mixer on low, slowly stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat another 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is nearly doubled in size.
- * Remember you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for it, so if it doesn’t look right after 6 minutes, keep mixing.
- Once homogenized, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture on low speed and mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl. mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any little lumps of cake flour are incorporated.
- Spread the cake batter in an even layer in the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the cake bounces back when gently touched and a toothpick entered into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Cool cake completely on a wire rack (you can turn it out after 15 minutes, or let it cool completely in the pan). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
- Frosting should be made when you are ready to assemble the cake.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add peanut butter and vanilla, beat on medium-high to combine.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the powdered sugar. Beat on low until the sugar is incorporated, then turn speed up to high and beat another minute or so until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
- Scoop frosting into a gallon size Ziploc bag or into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a small bowl, combine the ½ cup milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to combine. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
- Spread the clusters on prepared sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool the crumbs completely.
- Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than ½ inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. add the extra ¼ cup of milk powder and 2 tablespoons of the berry powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
- Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are covered, then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. You can add additional berry powder while tossing, if desired.
- The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.
- Mix 1/4 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Warm jelly for 15-30 seconds in the microwave (this makes it much easier to spread).
- Using a 6-inch cake ring, stamp out two full circles and two half circles from the sheet cake.
- Clean the cake ring and line with an acetate strip.
- Place the cake ring atop a cake board or a plate and place the first cake circle into the bottom of the cake ring.
- Using a pastry brush, brush with 1/3 the milk mixture. Spread a layer of jelly atop the cake layer and sprinkle with berry crumbs.
- Snip 1/2-inch opening from the corner of the Ziploc and twist the top of the bag so the frosting doesn't ooze out. Squeeze a line of frosting around the outside of the cake, and then a smaller circle or two towards the middle. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the frosting into an even layer.
- Top with the two halves of the cake circle to create one full circle, pressing gently but firmly down on top of the cake layer to secure it in place. If necessary, use any cake scraps to fill any gap there is between the two cake halves.
- Wedge your second acetate strip between the cake ring and the first acetate strip to secure it in place.
- Brush your fraken-cake layer with 1/3 of the milk mixture, spread with a layer of jelly, crumbs, and frosting (deja vu, right?).
- Top with final layer of cake, brush with final 1/3 of milk mixture, and spread with peanut butter frosting. Top with berry crumbs.
- Place the entire assembled cake into the freezer to set for at least 8 hours, or up to one week. I usually freeze mine for 6 to 8 hours until firm enough to handle, then you can take it out, remove the cake ring (leaving the acetate strips in place) and cover with saran wrap. Return to the freezer until serving day.
- Take cake out of the freezer at least 4 to 6 hours prior to serving. You can take it out the night before and place in the refrigerator the thaw, if desired.
[ cake recipe adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar]