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!

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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

The Best Peanut Butter Buttercream

Peanut butter is one of my favorite flavors. I add it to my oatmeal, my yogurt (Strange, I know! But I swear it’s delicious with honey!!), and I love baking with it! I’ve made several cakes with peanut butter in the past, including my next level honey roasted peanut butter cake, and my PB&J cake!!

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While I’ve used peanut butter buttercream on a lot of my cakes, I’ve never really shared my go to recipe! It’s really just adding some peanut butter to my classic american buttercream, but the peanut butter really thickens the frosting! I add in some additional heavy cream and egg whites as well, to make it more spreadable, and easier to frost with.

The Best Peanut Butter Frosting

This is my go to peanut butter buttercream recipe! It’s really just adding some peanut butter to my classic american buttercream, but the peanut butter really thickens the frosting! I add a touch more heavy cream and a tiny bit of egg whites to thin it out, and make it nice and smooth.

Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp pasteurized egg whites (room temperature)

Instructions

  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 egg whites and 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 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

When using this to frost my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe (which can be used to make four 7 inch or 8 inch cake layers) I usually make 1.5 – 2 batches, depending on how I’m decorating the cake.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

Peanut butter plays a big part in my life. I eat it every single day. This proves two things;  I’m an extreme creature of habit, and that I love peanut butter (I put it in my oatmeal every morning!!). When I realized National Peanut Butter Day was just around the corner (January 24th), I knew it deserved a cake. I grew up on PB&J sandwiches, and have wanted to make a peanut butter and jelly cake for quite a while. The stars seemed to align, and I finally had the perfect opportunity to relive my childhood through cake!! The recipe and instructions are included below.

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil

American Buttercream Ingredients: 

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of peanut butter + 2 Tbsp heavy cream (to be added once made)

Additional Ingredients and Decorations: 

  • 1 jar of your favorite jam or jelly (I used strawberry jam)
  • 1 bag freeze dried strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped, salted peanuts
  • Additional peanut butter (to drizzle and spread on the sides of the cake)
  • 8 medium sized strawberries

Instructions:

Begin by making the vanilla cake layers. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7” round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) 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 evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake 37-38 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 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Once the layers have fully cooled, 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. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the vanilla and peanut butter frosting. Beat the butter 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 cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

NOTE: When making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Once the vanilla frosting is made, place 1/4 of the frosting in a separate bowl. Add 1 cup of your favorite peanut butter, and 2 additional Tbsp of heavy cream. Mix until fully incorporated and smooth.

Fill one large piping bag with vanilla frosting (to create a frosting dam, to contain the jam that will be added between each layer).

Then it’s time for the best part, the assembly of the cake! Stack cake layers, and pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the layer.Spread a layer of peanut butter buttercream inside the vanilla frosting, then add a drizzle of warm peanut butter (I heated a small jar in the microwave for about 20 seconds).

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Chill the cake in the freezer for about 2 minutes to allow the peanut butter to firm up, then spread jam on top, ensure it’s contained by the ring of vanilla frosting.

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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, then add on dabs of peanut butter. Smooth again using a bench scraper, to create a watercolor effect with the peanut butter. 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.

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Add crushed freeze-dried strawberries and chopped peanuts around the base of the cake. Spread peanut butter on the sides of a piping bag fitted with aWilton 1M frosting tip, then fill with vanilla buttercream.  Pipe 8 larger swirls on top of the cake, and place a strawberry on top of each swirl. Sprinkle additional freeze-dried strawberries between the swirls.

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This cake serves about 16 people, so be sure you have lots of friends around to help you enjoy it!! It is every peanut butter lovers’ dream, and is an epic way to celebrate one of my favorite national food holidays. While the outside of the cake is pretty, the inside is really the star of the show! Just look at jam!!

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Elvis Cupcakes – Browned Butter, Bananas, Bourbon, Peanut Butter, & BACON

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After a discussion at work about the commonality of the name Elvis, I was inspired to make Elvis cupcakes! The main flavor components of this recipe are browned butter, bananas, bourbon, peanut butter, and bacon. The key to tying all the flavors together is the bacon! Browning the butter for the cake batter in bacon grease infuses the cupcakes with that delicious, bacon flavor. What more could a girl ask for in a cupcake?! The ingredients include:

Yield – 36 mini cupcakes, or 18 large cupcakes

Cupcakes
8 ounces bacon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
4 large bananas, mashed

Begin by cooking the bacon until crispy. Leave the grease in the pan, and let the bacon cool on paper towels. Melt the butter in the same pan, and cook until it has browned to an amber color. Take a 1/2 cup of this butter/bacon fat mixture, and set aside to cool slightly.

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Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line your mini muffin tins with papers. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside. In a larger bowl, whisk together the egg and brown sugar.  Mix in the vanilla, sour cream, and cooled brown butter. Gradually stir in the the dry ingredients. Add in the mashed bananas, and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be thick.

Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full. Bake regular-sized cupcakes for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  If making mini-cupcakes, bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Frosting
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp of bourbon
1/4 cup cream

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While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter until well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, thoroughly mixing between each addition. Beat in the vanilla and bourbon. Add the cream to reach the desired piping consistency. Use a large around tip to pipe a swirl on each cooled cupcake.

Bourbon drizzle (optional)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 bourbon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Once the frosting is ready, make the bourbon drizzle. Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan, and heat at a medium low level, until all the sugar has dissolved into a thick syrup. Allow this to cool slightly before drizzling over each frosted cupcake.

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I used a large star tip to frost the cupcakes, and topped each cupcake with a piece of cooked bacon. I had a little snafu with my bourbon drizzle….I got distracted while frosting my cupcakes and it burned!! I still think it would be a really great addition to these cupcakes, and recommend making it.

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Despite the strong flavors that are combined in this recipe, the end product is wonderfully balanced. There is the salty sweet combination between the bananas, the peanut butter, and the bacon. The bacon also adds a key textural component. I think the King would have approved 😀