That is the primary official installment of For Goodness Cake, a month-to-month cake column from pastry chef Pleasure Cho. Every month we’ll provide you with a recipe for cake that’s not solely comparatively simple to make but additionally rewarding and comforting. As a result of cake, we firmly consider, isn’t only for particular events — it’s for celebrating the sweetness that may be present in day by day life.
Peanut butter and jelly doesn’t take me again to third-grade bagged lunches or after-school snacks. It really evokes near zero childhood reminiscences for me. I most popular different kid-friendly meals, like turkey sandwiches or Velveeta mac ’n’ cheese, once I wasn’t consuming the Korean meals my mother or grandma ready. Lunchables and Gushers have been up my alley, however Uncrustables? Not a lot.
Given this historical past (or lack thereof), I discover it each hilarious and engaging that PB&J is among the meals I now eat most steadily as a 20-something grownup. My highway to enthusiastic PB&J consumption started once I was a really lazy school intern in the hunt for a daily meal choice that was low cost, transportable in the summertime warmth, reasonably filling, and borderline nutritious. The standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich appeared to suit the invoice completely. (Mother, in case you’re studying this: I promise I ate greens too!) What began as a matter of practicality turned a ritualistic and even fulfilling a part of my life — on the finish of virtually each workday, I’d eat one whereas strolling dwelling throughout the Brooklyn Bridge. At a time once I was feeling aimless and lonely (even a number of weeks in New York can do this to you), a PB&J offered reliable, low cost consolation, if just for a couple of minutes a day.
My behavior caught even after I shed the college-age angst: I now eat a PB&J a whopping 5 to 6 instances per week, in both sandwich or toast kind. The easy but profoundly satisfying mixture of salty, candy, creamy, and jammy on sliced bread delivers each time — and it’s as low-effort and low-cost as a sandwich will get. Despite the fact that (or maybe as a result of) I found PB&J comparatively late in life, I’m weirdly, totally obsessed.
Making a PB&J cake, then, was among the many most on-brand tasks I may tackle. However the place to begin? Regardless of how ubiquitous the sandwich is in American tradition, PB&J-flavored cake doesn’t actually appear to be a factor. I found throughout my analysis that peanut butter, when it seems in a cake in any respect, often reveals up as a sidekick to chocolate. As I began tinkering within the kitchen, my recipe went by means of a number of iterations: I examined a peanut butter loaf cake with a jam glaze, after which a sq. snack cake with the jam glaze swirled into the highest of the batter earlier than baking. They weren’t fairly proper, and neither was my first try at a streusel topping, which didn’t resemble streusel, to place it mildly. However hey, it’s known as recipe improvement for a motive. So I marched on by means of take a look at cake leftovers, believing that the PB&J cake I used to be pining for was on the market, someplace.
After which I discovered it. Simply as everybody has their distinctive sandwich preferences (creamy or crunchy nut butter; jelly, preserves, or marmalade; white or wheat bread, and many others.), this homey however indulgent cake is my very private ode to PB&J: tall, distinctly peanut-buttery squares of crumb cake with a sweet-tart jam layer and an excellent thicker layer of nutty streusel on high. To essentially tease out the peanut butter taste, I take advantage of each jarred and powdered peanut butter. And since I’m a fan of utilizing one ingredient in multiple means, the peanut powder reveals up once more within the streusel, taking the place of the extra typical cinnamon or spices. The ensuing candy, salty, peanutty (and barely addictive) crumb topping is my favourite a part of the cake, largely as a result of it jogs my memory of an analogous streusel topping on soboro-ppang, the primary merchandise I attain for at any Korean bakery.
I’m underneath no illusions {that a} PB&J cake can ever wholly replicate an excellent old school PB&J sandwich, but when it tastes simply nearly as good, who cares? So minimize your self a thick slice of cake, pour a second cup of espresso, and ponder the proper pairing that’s peanut butter and jelly (and maybe a childhood reminiscence or two). Whereas I’m late to the PB&J sport, I believe this familiar-but-upgraded cake could make up for misplaced time — that and consuming PB&J on the day by day, a behavior I gained’t be breaking anytime quickly.

PB&J Crumb Cake with Peanutty Streusel
Makes one 8-by-8-inch sq. cake
For the peanut streusel:
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar¼ cup (50 grams) gentle brown sugar¼ cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour 2 stage tablespoons (12 grams) powdered peanut butter (comparable to PB2 or Loopy Richard’s)¾ teaspoon kosher salt4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, chilly and cubed Flaky salt, comparable to Maldon, for topping (optionally available, for individuals who actually like sweet-salty desserts)
For the cake:
½ cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour ½ cup (70 grams) complete wheat flour3 stage tablespoons (18 grams) powdered peanut butter ¾ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¾ teaspoon kosher salt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar¼ cup (50 grams) gentle brown sugar2 massive eggs, at room temperature1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup (150 grams) easy peanut butter (use a business model like Jif or Skippy for finest outcomes) ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
For the filling:
½ cup jam or preserves of your alternative (Tip: Go together with a seedless selection in case you don’t need the slight bites from the seeds.)
Step 1: Make the peanut streusel: In a medium bowl, mix the sugars, flour, powdered peanut butter, and kosher salt, mixing them totally together with your palms. Work the butter into the dry components together with your fingers till the streusel resembles moist sand and clumps collectively once you squeeze it. (Some small bits of butter are okay, however for probably the most half the butter needs to be labored into the streusel). Refrigerate till prepared to make use of..
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 350 levels. Flippantly grease an 8-by-8-inch sq. cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the underside with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the perimeters (to make it simpler to take away the cake after baking), and grease the parchment.
Step 3: In a medium bowl, whisk collectively the flours, powdered peanut butter, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Step 4: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a big bowl with an electrical hand mixer, beat the butter till easy. Add each sugars and cream the combination till gentle and fluffy, 2 to three minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Step 5: Add the eggs one by one, beating after every addition till properly mixed. Scrape the bowl as soon as extra, then beat within the vanilla and peanut butter till the combination is easy.
Step 6: Sift half of the dry components over the peanut butter combination and beat till simply mixed. Rigorously beat within the buttermilk, after which sift in the remainder of the dry components; beat simply till the batter is easy. (Don’t overmix.)
Step 7: Switch half of the cake batter into the ready pan and easy the floor with a small offset spatula. Dollop the jam on high and unfold gently, doing all your finest to depart a half-inch border across the edges. (The border prevents jam from sticking to the perimeters of the pan throughout baking.) Dollop the remainder of the cake batter on high of the jam layer, rigorously easy the floor, and sprinkle the streusel evenly on high. Sprinkle the cake with flaky salt, if desired.
Step 8: Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pan midway by means of, till the streusel is browned and a toothpick inserted within the heart of the cake comes out clear.
Step 9: Let the cake cool within the pan for half-hour, then gently loosen the perimeters with a small offset spatula and punctiliously switch the cake (utilizing the parchment paper sling to help) onto a rack to chill fully. If you happen to discover it troublesome to take away and switch the tall and hefty cake, it’s also possible to let it cool fully as is and serve slices proper out of the pan.
Pleasure Cho is a pastry chef and freelance author based mostly in Brooklyn. After dropping her pastry prepare dinner job initially of the pandemic, Pleasure launched Pleasure Cho Pastry, an Instagram enterprise by means of which she sells her gem muffins to the New York Metropolis space.Celeste Noche is a Filipino American meals, journey, and portrait photographer based mostly between Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA.Recipe examined by Deena Prichep

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