• Barth Bakery

Peanut Butter & Jelly Layer Cake

It’s peanut butter jelly time with this lunchtime favorite in cake form. There are a few things in life that work together beautifully, like peanut butter and jelly, and this cake is the perfect representation of the signature snack. This nostalgic peanut butter and jelly cake is a whimsical nod to your childhood in the best way possible. This naked cake is made with soft and tender peanut butter and strawberry cake layers which are splashed with peanut butter and strawberry milk soaks for added moisture, and topped with peanut and strawberry crumbs and melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter and strawberry cream cheese frostings. The cream cheese makes the cake extra luscious and the tanginess helps to balance the richness of the peanut butter. The crumbs add a crunchy element for extra texture, and they’re so good you’ll want to eat them by the handful. Each layer is full of flavor and texture and brings out the classic peanut butter and strawberry jelly flavors in every bite. This cake is as delicious as it is pretty, and not only smells like your favorite sandwich but tastes and looks just like it too. Although there are a lot of components to this time-consuming cake, this fun and stunning cake is a game changer and is so darn tasty you won’t want to stop eating it.

This recipe was developed as part of an intense creative baking course where we explored the art of baking. We developed and honed our baking skills through a variety of different baked goods. Through the class, we found the balance of what baking is all about; art and science. We created our own recipes each anchored in their own flavor story that's true to Barth Bakery.

For this recipe, our flavor story was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (obviously). Growing up, my parents packed my lunch every day. Friday’s lunches were always PB&J sandwiches, which made me look forward to lunchtime. When my mom made my lunch, she was so heavy-handed with the sweet, gloppy jelly that it would ooze out with every bite. When my dad made my lunch, he would pile on the peanut butter for a smooth, soft, nutty treat. Then in adulthood, I continued to pack a lunch for work every day and realized the classic PB&J sandwich was so easy and effortless that I still occasionally indulge in this childhood favorite.


Nostalgic Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake
Naked Peanut Butter & Jelly Layer Cake
Luscious Peanut Butter & Jelly Layer Cake
Delicious Peanut Butter & Jelly Layer Cake
Stunning Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jelly Layer Cake
Incredible Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jelly Layer Cake

Makes 2 6-inch layer cakes


Ingredients

Peanut Butter Sponge

  • 55g unsalted butter, room temp

  • 100g creamy peanut butter

  • 200g granulated sugar

  • 100g light brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 65g grapeseed oil

  • 110g buttermilk

  • 4g pure dark vanilla extract

  • 225g cake flour

  • 20g peanut butter powder

  • 6g baking powder

  • 3g kosher salt

Strawberry Sponge

  • 65g unsalted butter, room temp

  • 60g vegetable shortening

  • 200g granulated sugar

  • 50g light brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 65g grapeseed oil

  • 110g buttermilk

  • 4g strawberry extract

  • 100g strawberry puree or jam

  • Red food coloring (optional)

  • 225g cake flour

  • 30g freeze dried strawberry powder

  • 6g baking powder

  • 3g kosher salt

Peanut Butter Soak

  • 55g whole milk

  • 3g peanut butter powder

Strawberry Soak

  • 55g whole milk

  • 3g freeze dried strawberry powder

Peanut Crumb

  • 100g granulated sugar

  • 25g light brown sugar

  • 60g cake flour

  • 30g peanut butter powder

  • 2g baking powder

  • 2g kosher salt

  • 40g chopped peanuts

  • 48g grapeseed oil

  • 4g pure dark vanilla extract


Strawberry Crumb

  • 40g non-fat milk powder

  • 40g all-purpose flour

  • 12g cornstarch

  • 25g granulated sugar

  • 2g kosher salt

  • 55-100g unsalted butter, melted

  • 20g freeze dried strawberry powder (to toss crumbs after baking)

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 115g unsalted butter, room temp

  • 150g creamy peanut butter

  • 55g cream cheese, room temp

  • 4g pure dark vanilla extract

  • 16g heavy cream

  • 300g confectioners’ sugar

  • 2g kosher salt

Strawberry Frosting

  • 165g unsalted butter, room temp

  • 80g cream cheese, room temp

  • 150g strawberry puree or jam

  • 4g pure dark vanilla extract

  • 200g confectioners’ sugar

  • 26g freeze dried strawberry powder

  • 1g kosher salt


Directions

Peanut Butter Sponge

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and spray the top of the parchment paper and the sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through this process and continue mixing. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again after the 2-3 minutes is up.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated before adding the next, beating on high speed for 1 minute after each addition. After you add the last egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed for 4 more minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly stream the oil into the mixture towards the center of the bowl. Once all the oil has been added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 3-6 minutes or until the mixture is fluffy and completely homogenous.

  5. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, stream the buttermilk into the butter mixture very slowly until fully incorporated. It should take about 3 minutes to add these liquids.

  6. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, peanut butter powder, baking powder, and salt. On the lowest mixer speed, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients all at once and mix for 45-60 seconds only, just until the batter comes together. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then hand-mix in any remaining pockets of flour with a rubber spatula.

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread the cake batter into an even layer to the edges of the pan.

  8. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. The cake should bounce back slightly when touched.

  9. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.


Strawberry Sponge

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and spray the top of the parchment paper and the sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, vegetable shortening, and both sugars and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through this process and continue mixing. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again after the 2-3 minutes is up.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated before adding the next, beating on high speed for 1 minute after each addition. After you add the last egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed for 4 more minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly stream the oil into the mixture towards the center of the bowl. Once all the oil has been added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 3-6 minutes or until the mixture is fluffy and completely homogenous.

  5. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and strawberry extract. With the mixer on low speed, stream the buttermilk into the butter mixture very slowly until fully incorporated. It should take about 3 minutes to add these liquids.

  6. Add in the strawberry puree or jam and food coloring (if using) and beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes until incorporated.

  7. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, strawberry powder, baking powder, and salt. On the lowest mixer speed, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients all at once and mix for 45-60 seconds only, just until the batter comes together. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then hand-mix in any remaining pockets of flour with a rubber spatula.

  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread the cake batter into an even layer to the edges of the pan.

  9. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. The cake should bounce back slightly when touched.

  10. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.


Peanut Butter Soak

  1. Whisk the milk and peanut butter powder together in a small bowl. Set aside.


Strawberry Soak

  1. Whisk the milk and strawberry powder together in a small bowl. Set aside.


Peanut Butter Crumb

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine both sugars, flour, peanut butter powder, baking powder, salt, and chopped peanuts and mix on low speed until well combined.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil and vanilla extract until combined. With the mixer on low speed, stream the oil into the mixer and beat until you see small clusters start to form.

  4. Pour the crumb out onto the prepared pan and spread the crumb out evenly. (The largest crumbs should be no larger than a quarter.)

  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. (The crumbs should shrink in size just a bit and be crunchy. If they’re not, leave them in the over for a few more minutes.)

  6. Allow the crumbs to cool completely.


Strawberry Crumb

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in the bowl and mix on low speed until well combined.

  3. With the mixer on low speed, stream the melted butter into the mixer and beat until you see small clusters start to form. (If you don’t see clumps form, you may need to add another 5-10g of melted butter.)

  4. Pour the crumb out onto the prepared pan and spread the crumb out evenly. (The largest crumbs should be no larger than a quarter.)

  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. (The crumbs should shrink in size just a bit and be crunchy. If they’re not, leave them in the over for a few more minutes.)

  6. Allow the crumbs to cool completely. Once cooled, toss the crumbs in the strawberry powder until evenly coated.


Peanut Butter Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, peanut butter, and cream cheese and cream together on medium-highspeed for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  2. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla and heavy cream and beat until fully incorporated. Then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and salt until combined. Add the sugar to the mixer and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.


Strawberry Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese and cream together on medium-highspeed for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  2. With the mixer on low speed, add the strawberry puree or jam and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, strawberry powder, and salt until combined. Add the sugar to the mixer and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Layer Cake Assembly

  1. Use a sharp knife to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Place a piece of parchment paper onto the counter and invert both cakes onto it, essentially dropping each pan onto the counter creating a loud ‘bang’ to release the cakes from the pans. Peel off the parchment paper/

  2. Use a 6-inch cake ring to cut out 2 full circles and 2 half circles from each cake layer (since you’ll want 3 total layers).

  3. Clean the cake ring and place it on an 8-inch cardboard cake round or a serving plate. Place one strip of 5-6-inch tall acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.

  4. Place the two half circles of cake inside the bottom of the ring spongey (bottom of the cake) side up and fill any gap between the two halves with cake scraps. Use the back of your fingers to press the scraps into a flat, even layer. (Since this makes 2 separate layer cakes, you can decide how you want to layer the flavors. For example, you can make one cake with all three layers of peanut butter cake, peanut butter soak, strawberry frosting, and strawberry crumb, and the other cake would then be all strawberry cake, strawberry soak, peanut butter frosting, and peanut butter crumb. Or you can alternate the flavors with each layer, so the flavors are evenly distributed and one doesn’t overpower the other.)

  5. Using a spoon or pastry brush, splash or brush half of the soak onto the layer of cake in the cake ring. Then use the back of a spoon to spread one fifth of the frosting into an even layer using figure 8 motions.

  6. Sprinkle one third of the crumb evenly on top of the frosting. (Reserve the larger pieces of crumb for decorating the top of the cake.) Use the back of a spoon to spread another fifth of frosting on top of the crumb.

  7. Place a full circle cake layer on top of the frosting. If there are any holes or gaps in the cake, use cake scraps to fill them in. Repeat the process of adding the soak, frosting, crumb, and frosting.

  8. Place the remaining cake circle (use the best-looking cake circle for the top) on the very top of the cake. Cover the top with the remaining frosting. Decorate the top with the remaining crumb as desired.

  9. Transfer the cake to the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours (or overnight) to set the cake. At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull it out of the freezer and slide the cake ring off. Then gently peel the acetate off and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand for serving. Allow the cake to defrost for 2-3 hours. Slice, serve, and enjoy!


If there’s no cake, then is it even a birthday party?! No matter your age, everyone deserves a decadent birthday cake to celebrate another year around the sun. Barth Bakery’s birthday cake compendium has all the flavors covered for adults and kids alike. These creative confections are anything but boring and are as delicious as they are fun. All worthy of your special day, these cakes give you the magical opportunity to make a beautiful birthday cake from scratch.

Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake

Funfetti Cake Roll

Double Layer Funfetti Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Boston Cream Pie

Pistachio Baklava Cake

Triple Layer Funfetti Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Gluten-free Coconut Caramel Tres Leches Cake

Chocolate Cannoli Cake

Coffee Oreo Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Baileys Chocolate Brittle Cake

Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake

Blueberry Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Margarita Cake with Tequila Cream Cheese Frosting


Are you nuts for peanut butter? Then check out these other recipes featuring peanut butter in all of its creamy, salty, and nutty glory.

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie Reese’s Bacon Crunch Cookies Gluten-free Trail Mix Muddy Buddies Easy No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Cookies Gluten-free No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Lasagna Frozen Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeyes Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Chex Mix Bars

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