Peanut Butter Blossom Cookie Cake

Who else loves peanut butter blossom cookies?? They're one of my favorite holiday treats, and were the first thing I baked on my own when I began experimenting in my kitchen. I always make them with Jif® Peanut Butter , and they never disappoint!

close up of PB cokies.jpg

To mix things up this year, I decided to kick off my holiday baking with a cake inspired by these classic treats.  I used Jif to make peanut butter frosting and cake layers, which gave my cake the same fresh-roasted peanut taste that makes the sweet and salty cookies so delicious! I decided to add some Christmas lights too, since Christmas is just around the corner.

To make this cake look just like these delectable cookies, the bottom tier is made with two massive 10-inch peanut butter cake layers. The top tier is made with chocolate cake layers, frosted with peanut butter chocolate buttercream. I also carved some lines into the base of the cake, and added a sprinkle of granulated sugar to stay true to each delicious component of this cookie.

Peanut Butter Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
  • ½ cup creamy Jif Peanut Butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (or about 7 egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temp
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup Jif creamy peanut butter
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup of unsweetened baking cocoa (to be added at the end to ½ of the finished buttercream)

Additional decorations:

  • Candy coated chocolate almonds
  • Green gel food coloring
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by making the peanut butter cake layers:

  1. Line two, 10-inch round cake pans with parchment rounds, and place a flower nail upside in the center of each pan (helps the layers bake more evenly and quickly). Grease the sides of the pan and the flower nail with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter and the Jif Peanut Butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until the mixture looks crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake for 35-37 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Carefully invert the pans, and remove the layers from the pans onto a wire rack, to finish cooling.
  7. Once fully cooled, level one of the cake layers using a serrate knife. Leave the second cake layer with a dome. Set aside.

Next, make the chocolate cake layers:

  1. Line two 6-inch pans and two 4-inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the hot water, and buttermilk. Pour in the black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.
  5. Next, add 1/2 cup of flour into the butter/egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.
  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don’t, you’ll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over your kitchen!
  7. Repeat this process, ending by mixing in the last ½ cup of flour.
  8. Divide the batter between the pans, filling each pan at least 1 inch high with batter.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  10. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.
  11. Place the pans in the freezer for about 30 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  12. Once the layers are fully cooled, use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers.

As the cake layers cool, prepare the peanut butter and chocolate buttercream.

  1. Beat the butter and peanut butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  3. Once fully mixed, add in the salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  5. Place ½ of the frosting into a separate bowl, and mix in ½ cup of unsweetened baking cocoa and an extra tablespoon of heavy cream to make chocolate peanut butter buttercream for the top tier of the cake. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
  6. Place ½ cup of peanut butter buttercream into a small bowl, and add forest green gel food coloring. Mix until evenly colored, then place in a small piping bag. Snip a small (less than ½ cm) opening at the tip of the bag, and set aside.

Now assemble the cake!

Spread a small dab of buttercream in the center of a 12-inch, grease-proof cake board. Center the leveled, peanut butter cake layer on the cake board, and top with a generous, even layer of peanut butter buttercream. Place the un-trimmed peanut butter cake layer on top of this. Cover the cake layers in a crumb coat, and place in fridge to chill.

frosting PB cake layer

Next, begin to make the chocolate portion of the cake. Using a 6-inch cardboard cake round, stack and frost the chocolate cake layers with the chocolate peanut butter buttercream. Smooth any overhanging frosting, and then use a serrated knife to trim the cake into a cone-like shape. Cover in a thin crumb coat, and place in the fridge to chill.

cutting choco cake layers

Remove the peanut butter cake from the fridge, and add a second, thicker layer of peanut butter frosting. Use an acetate sheet to create rounded sides on the cake, to emulate the shape of a peanut butter cookie. Carefully add granulated sugar onto the peanut butter frosting, to emulate the sugar that peanut butter blossom cookies are rolled in before they are baked.

adding granulated sugar

Trace the shape of a 6-inch circle on top of the cake (using the cake pan or a 6-inch cake round), and scoop out the circle using a spoon (removing about 1 inch from the top of the cake). This will help make it look like the chocolate portion of cake was pressed into the peanut butter layer, just like a peanut butter blossom cookie fresh out of the oven. Set aside.

scooping out PB cake

Remove the chocolate cake from the fridge, and add a second, thicker layer of frosting using the chocolate peanut butter buttercream. Use an acetate sheet to create slightly curved sides around the base of the cake. Once the frosting is smooth, carefully place on top of the peanut butter cake layer, into the carved area on top of the cake.

frosting chocolate cake

Use a small knife to carve some lines into the frosting, to resemble the cracks that peanut butter blossom cookies have when once they’re baked.

adding cracks to PB cake

The finishing touch is to use the green buttercream to pipe a line around the chocolate cake, and place the candy-coated chocolate almonds beneath it, to look like Christmas lights!

adding on lights to cake

The last step is to gather your friends and family around, and slice into this cake! This cake feeds about 25 people.

sliced PB clossom ake

Apple Cider Donut Cake

Sharing this cake just before Fall ends! Last month a coworker of mine visited an apple orchard in upstate New York, and brought back the most delicious apple cider donuts!!!

My natural reaction was to make a cake inspired by those cinnamon-sugar covered bundles of joy. This cake is made with apple spice cake layers, a cinnamon buttercream, and is topped with baked apple cider donuts!

To create the baked donuts, I used Sally’s Baked Apple Cider Donut Recipe! Her recipes are always so delicious, and this recipe didn’t disappoint!! However, if you have access to great apple cider donuts, you could always buy them too to simplify the process.

apple cider donut ingredients-2

I started by making the baked apple cider donuts. Following Sally’s tip, I reduced 1 1/2 cups of apple cider down into 1/2 cup of liquid, to really concentrate the flavor. I then prepared the batter as instructed, and poured it into a large piping bag.

I heavily greased my donut pans and my silicon sphere molds, and baked the donuts for 12-14 minutes (my pans are on the larger side, so my donuts required a few extra minutes in the oven).

dunking apple cide donuts-2

Once baked, I dipped the donuts into melted butter, and tossed them in cinnamon sugar. I placed them in an airtight container, and then began baking my apple spice cake layers!

Begin by preheating oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

While the layers cool, make the cinnamon buttercream! Beat the butter with the cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.

If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once the cake layers are fully cooled, it’s time to assemble the cake! Using a 10 inch grease-proof cake board, begin to stack the cake layers by spreading a generous and even layer of cinnamon buttercream onto each layer with a large offset spatula.

ACD crumb coat staged-2

Cover the cake in a thin layer of the cinnamon frosting (crumb coat) to trap any run-away crumbs. Chill the cake in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes, until the buttercream is firm to the touch.

Next, add a thicker, second layer of vanilla buttercream. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the cake.

adding donut holes to base of ACD cake-2

Pipe a bit of buttercream onto the back of each apple cider donut hold, then gently press it against the base of the cake. Repeat this process, entire base is covered.

finished cake staged with rings-2

Next, stack the apple cider donuts on top of the cake, creating a donut pyramid! Pipe buttercream onto the bottom of each donut, to help keep them in place once the cake is cut into.

This cake simply screams Fall, and tastes just as delicious as the amazing apple cider donuts that inspired it 🙂

sliced apple cider donut cake-2

Apple Spice Layer Cake Recipe:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 egg whites, or 5 whole eggs), room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider concentrate (heated on medium heat until it reduces to 1/2 cup of apple cider concentrate)
  • 1 Tbsp tasteless oil (I use vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  6. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Cinnamon Buttercream Recipe:

  • 2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered (confectionary) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream), room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1  tsp ground cardamom
  • 1  tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Beat together the butter, cinnamon, ground cardamom and ginger on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Baked Apple Cider Donut Recipe (Sally’s Baking Addiction)

The BEST Black Friday Baking Deals!!

I’ve already shared my favorite tools and equipment with you, but I know sometimes it’s nice to accumulate tools overtime, or when there’s a great deal!

It can be a bit daunting when you think about EVERYTHING you need for your kitchen, but now is the time!! I’ve pulled together a quick list of the best Black Friday baking deals on Amazon, to help you fulfill your baking wants and needs!

This is slightly smaller than the standard 4.5 qt  mixer, but if you don’t bake in large volumes and this won’t hinder your baking process, I highly recommend getting it. It’s normally $250, but will only be $159 tomorrow on Amazon!

Deal #2: Glass Tupperwear Set

I don’t know about you, but I make all of my buttercream and cake fillings in advance! I love storing them in glass tupperwear with rubber seals, to keep them fresh in the fridge or freezer. This tupperwear set is normally $40, but will be $25!!

Deal #3: Rubbermaid Oven Thermometer

Did you know most ovens aren’t properly calibrated?? This can cause loads of problems when it comes to baking. I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer to ensure your oven temperature is accurate (or so that you can adjust it to be the right temperature. I actually have this oven theremortere, but bought it at full price for $17. Tomorrow it’ll be on sale on amazon for $5!!!

Deal #4: Wilton Cookie Press

With Christmas right around the corner, this deal is perfect! I used a cookie press for the first time last year, and they’re so much fun to use! The best part is that they make super beautiful cookies, with hardly any extra effort. This Wilton cookie press comes with 12 different shaped cookie disks, and is on sale for $12 (normally $22!!).

Deal #5: Wilton Baking Pans

I love baking with round cake pans, and Wilton has a sale on their 8 inch cake pans! These pans are usually $17 for a set of 2, but you can now get the for $13.

Hopefully you’ll be able to indulge in some great deals this Black Friday, and get some of the baking gadgets you’ve had your eye one!!

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake Recipe

I’ve been experimenting with pumpkin cake recipes for a while now, and really wanted to create my own, using my vanilla layer cake recipe as a starting point. After quite a bit of experimenting with different amounts of pumpkin, buttermilk, and egg whites, I finally found the perfect balance.

This recipe is wonderful because it’s moist and so flavorful, but it also has great structure! It can be carved and sculpted if the layers are chilled, and it stacks wonderfully. One batch of batter can be used to make 4 seven-inch cake layers, or 4 thinner 8-inch cake layers.

trimming pumpkin cake layers

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake Recipe:

  • 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (416 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (13 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp (pinch) cloves
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) – 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or about 3 egg whites) (122 grams)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (360 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and pumpkin puree, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  6. If you want to color your cake batter, add gel food coloring at the end, and mix on low until the batter is the shade you’re after.

  7. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Recipe Notes

Once the layers have fully cooled, I sometimes like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife. While these layers bake pretty flat, sometimes I’ll also trim the top of the layers too if I’m working a super special partnership 🙂

 

This cake recipe pairs wonderfully with my cream cheese buttercream.

I used this cake recipe to make this pumpkin-pie filled cake, which is frosted with my American buttercream, and filled with a pumpkin pie filling! It tasted just as good as it looks!!

sliced pumpkin cake

How to Make Cake Layers in Advance

This year I’m trying to blog my answers to the questions you guys ask the most! Some of the questions have pretty elaborate answers, and it’s hard to answer them thoroughly across my different platforms.

I decided to start with the most popular questions I get asked, regarding how far in advance you make make cake layers.

I’m hoping this post will also answer other common questions, like:

  • When do I freeze a cake?
  • How do I freeze cake layers?
  • Should I level my layers before I freeze my cake layers?
  • Do I thaw the layers before I make the cake?
  • How far ahead of time can I make cake layers?
  • How should I store my cake layers?
  • Why should I freeze my cake layers?

Making a cake from scratch takes hours of work, from baking all the layers, to preparing the frosting and decorations. If you try to do it all in one day, it takes forever, and seems like so much more of a chore.

I work full time in corporate finance, and frequently bake after work or on the weekends. I love to bake my layers one night, prep my frosting and cake fillings another, and then enjoy the decorating process over the weekend.

While baking is therapeutic in it’s own way, my favorite part of making cakes is decorating them! It brings me so much joy, and is truly my creative outlet. I find I’m able to enjoy it most when I’m not worrying about how much longer my layers need to bake, or cleaning up the clouds of powdered sugar that seem to coat my kitchen whenever I make frosting.

HOW TO FREEZE CAKE LAYERS IN ADVANCE

I almost always make my cake components in advance! When making my cake layers ahead of time, I take my pans out of the oven, run an offset spatula around the edge of the pan to separate the layers from the pan, and then place the warm pans directly into my freezer.

Sounds crazy, right?? Hot pans right into the freezer?? It drastically accelerates the cooling process, and I love being able to speed up the process a bit. After about 30 minutes, once the pans are cool to the touch, I remove my cake layers from my pans by gently tapping the pans upside-down on my counter, and carefully removing the layers with my hands.

To be completely honest, if I am just freezing my cake layers overnight, I don’t wrap them. I just place them back into the freezer, on cardboard cake rounds to ensure they freeze flat. I’ve found it makes no difference in taste, and makes the whole process simpler.

However, if making my layers more than a day in advance, I either wrap each layer in Saran Wrap, or place them into a large tupperware container (if the layers are small enough). I prefer the Tupperware route since it’s less wasteful, but when freezing cake layers for longer periods of time (more than a few days), I think Saran Wrap works best.

wrapped cake layer on cardboard round

If you plan to make you cake layers more than a few days in advance, I highly recommend doubling up to protect your cake layers from freezer burn. There are a few different ways you can do this:

  • Wrap cake layers in two layers of Saran Wrap
  • First wrap cake layers in Saran Wrap, then wrap in second layer of foil
  • Wrap in Saran Wrap then place in air tight tupperware container
  • Wrap in Saran Wrap, then place into large ziplock freezer bag

My layer cake recipe can be made two weeks in advance, if wrapped properly.  I’ve only made layers two weeks in advance, and I haven’t tested the upper limits. If any of you have frozen my cake layer recipe for longer, please let me know the duration, and how they tasted.

I’ve talked to other bakers, and some like to immediately pop their layer out of their pans, wrap them in plastic wrap while they’re still hot, and then place them in the freezer.

Both methods help keep moisture in the layers! If you think about steam rising from a baked good hot out of the oven, it’s moisture evaporating right out whatever you just baked! By reducing the steam that leaves your cake layers, you’re helping them stay moist and delicious.

HOW TO THAW AND USE FROZEN CAKE LAYERS

So now that you’ve frozen your cake layers, what do you do when it comes time to make the cake?! I like to remove my layer from the freezer about 30 minutes before I want to begin frosting a cake. I unwrap each layer and lay them out on my counter to thaw. Just after doing this (and while they’re still completely frozen), I like to trim the caramelization from the sides of my layers.

I then let the layer thaw for 30 minutes (this can vary depending on the size of your cake layers). At this point they’re still chilled, but also slightly firm. This is when I level my cake layers using a serrated knife. If you try to level the cake before it has thaw, it will be extremely difficult to cut through, making it more likely that the layers break.

IMG_7843 (2)

Once the layers are trimmed, leveled, and still slightly chilled, I begin to make the cake. I know sounds strange, but chilled cake layers are so much easier to stack and frost! Chilling the cake layers reduces the amount of crumbing, and helps the buttercream firm up once it’s added to the cake. This minimizes any shifting of your cake layers as you add a crumb coat.

Chilled cake layers are also much easier to carve, if you’re working on a sculpted cake. If my cake layers are at room temperature, and I try to carve them, I find that my layers kind of crumble, and are very difficult to shape. When my layers are chilled, I can cut and shape them into whatever shape I’m after.

MVI_1619_Moment (2)

This ended up being much longer than I intended, so here’s a little recap of the main takeaways of making cake layers in advance:

  • Cake layers can be made several weeks in advance if properly wrapped as described above (doubled wrapped!)
  • Layers should be thawed for about 30 minutes before leveling and building the cake
  • Making a cake with chilled cake layers (thawed out of the freezer for 30 minutes) reduces crumbing
  • Chilled cake layers are easier to stack and carve

Please let me know if you use any different methods for making cake layers in advance, I’d love to hear about them!!

Strawberry Pop-Tart Cake

I contribute footage of a few cakes each month to the Food Network, to share across their social channels. This strawberry Pop-Tart-inspired cake was definitely my favorite one this month, and it was so fun I wanted to share the recipe.

The best part of this cake? The adorable mini strawberry Pop-Tarts used to decorate the base of the cake. The good news is that they’re just as simple to make as they are cute.

They’re made using store bought pie crusts, strawberry jam, an egg wash, and some colorful buttercream and sprinkles. If you wanted to fully make them from scratch, you totally can! But since cakes are already such a labor of love, I like to not get too crazy with the decorations.

poptart supplies

This cake is made with my tried and true layer cake and buttercream recipe, plus some strawberry jam and pink gel food coloring, for good measure. The recipes used include:

  • 1 batch of my layer cake recipe (used to bake 4, 7-inch cake layers) + pink gel food coloring to create swirled layers
  • 1.5 batches of my american buttercream
  • 1 jar of your favorite strawberry jam (for both the mini Pop-Tarts filling and cake filling)
  • 1 package of ready-made pie crust + 1 egg (to create mini Pop-Tarts)

Begin by making the cake layers and buttercream, as directed in the above recipes. The layers will take a bit of time to bake and cool, so I recommend making them first (or even a day in advance).

Next, begin to prepare the mini Pop-Tarts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out one of the pie crusts. use a ruler and knife to score the dough to create rectangles that are 1 inch by 1.25 inches.

adding lines to pastry dough

Put about 1/2 a cup of strawberry jam into a piping bag, and cut a small opening (less than 1 cm). Carefully pipe a thin line of filling into the center of each rectangle.

While you may be tempted to add a ton of filling to each little Pop-Tart, do be warned that it will make the crimping process much more challenging, and that the extra filling will likely ooze out the sides of the Pop-Tarts as they bake. A few of mine were overfilled, and they definitely weren’t a pretty picture coming out of the oven (don’t say I didn’t warn you :P)

piping on filling

Next, unroll the second pie crust, and place on top of the jam lined pie crust. Carefully use your ruler to remark the rectangles (you can see the jam through the pie crust, and use it as a guide). Use a pastry cutter and ruler to cut out the rectangles.

cutting mini poptarts

Carefully lift each Pop-Tart (the pieces will slide a bit due to the filling), and crimp the sides using a fork. Also poke a few holes on top of each one, to help them rise and allow air to escape as they bake.

I had a mini fork on hand (long story, but it’s from making little mermaid cupcakes ages ago…), which worked perfectly for this! if you don’t have one, use the smallest fork you have.

crimped all poptarts

Transfer the Pop-Tarts onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Beat together one egg and 1 tbsp of milk, and use a pastry brush to paint a thin layer of egg wash onto each Pop-Tart. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.

I was convinced these would bake up much fast, but it took some time for them to become golden brown, and baked through. Slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack, and allow the Pop-Tarts to cool (at least 30 minutes).

baked poptarts

Once they fully cooled, pipe buttercream onto each Pop-Tart, and top with sprinkles of your choice.

I colored a tiny but of my buttercream light and hot pink, and piped the different colors onto my Pop-Tarts. I also chose to use hot pink sanding sugar as my sprinkles.

poptart frosting

Once the Pop-tarts are ready, it’s time to assemble the cake. Smooth a thin layer of buttercream on top of each layer. Pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the layer to create a frosting dam, then spread a layer of strawberry jam inside the vanilla frosting.

adding jam between cake layers

Repeat this process with all remaining cake layers. Cover the cake in a thin layer of vanilla frosting (crumb coat) to trap any run-away crumbs. Chill the cake in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes, until the buttercream is firm to the touch.

Next, add a thicker, second layer of vanilla buttercream. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the cake.

Pipe a bit of buttercream onto the back of each Pop-tart, then gently press it against the base of the cake. Repeat this process, alternating the colored Pop-Tarts, until the entire base is covered.

adding poptarts to base of cake

Color the remaining buttercream pink using gel food coloring, and pipe a boarder around the top of the cake using your favorite frosting tip (I used a Wilton 1M).

piping on boarded

If desired, add a pink sprinkle blend to the top of the cake, around the boarder. I love using Neon Yolk sprinkle blends! They make the cutest blends, and use them on my cakes whenever I can.

finished cake from the top

Then it’s time to cut into the cake and try it! I am a sucker for anything with strawberry jam, so I loved this cake. I also could not stop eating the leftover Pop-Tarts! They were addicting.

finished cake v4

This cake feeds between 16-20 people, so be sure you have lots of family or friends over (or in my case, coworkers!) to help eat it 🙂

sliced cake v2 copy