In case you haven’t heard, apparently, National Peanut Butter Day is on January 24! (Who comes up with this stuff?!) Well, in honor of everyone’s favorite nutty sandwich spread, today I’m sharing with you my delicious Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake recipe!
At its base is sweet, buttermilk pound cake – one of my newest recipes. It’s super crave-able, and I’ve worked hard to get the taste and texture just right! Combined with a soft peanut butter buttercream, zingy raspberry jam, and crunchy salted peanuts, this nostalgic cake elevates your favorite childhood sandwich into a mouthwateringly tasty treat.
Plus, I’ll show you the easy method to decorate your cake to resemble a stack of PB&J sandwiches! So many people loved my Giant Stack of Pancakes Illusion Cake (hint: no pancakes were actually used!) so I thought it was high-time for another cake in disguise!
This cute decorating tutorial is super simple but so effective! As long as you know how to make an actual PB&J sandwich, you have all the skills you need. This cake “sandwich” stack turns out so perfectly, you might just mistake it for lunch. Which, I’ll mention, is totally acceptable – no judgment here. 🙂
Let’s Begin Baking
First, peruse the materials list to make sure you have the proper kitchen tools. Then, check out the step-by-step instructions below to bake and create your delicious peanut butter and jelly cake. Finally, feel free to print out the recipe card at the bottom, or save it to Pinterest for later reference!
Materials Needed For Your Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake
To bake your cake and prepare your buttercream, you’ll need the following kitchen items. I’ve included links (I am an Amazon affiliate) for easy shopping and reference.
- Two mixing bowls – I used this set
- Handheld or stand mixer with the whisk attachment(s)
- Spatula and whisk – this blue utensil set is SO cute
- Toothpicks for testing cake doneness
- 9″ x 5″ non-stick loaf pan – I use this ceramic-coated Wilton brand pan
Then, for stacking and decorating the PB&J cake, you’ll also use:
- Serrated knife – though, any knife you have in the kitchen should work
- Cutting board – if you look closely, you’ll see this set in my photos
- Gel food coloring to optionally supplement the peanut butter buttercream color (I used Americolor’s Ivory and just a touch of Sky Blue to bring down the warmth)
- Piping bags, since the buttercream is thick and the cake is delicate (spreading the buttercream with a knife tore up the cake and proved too messy)
Step-By-Step Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake Decorating Directions
Once all of your components are cooled and completed (you’ll find the recipes below), it’s time to decorate!
To begin, slice your pound cake carefully just as you would a loaf of bread. The size doesn’t need to be exact but aim to cut each slice about an inch thick.
This gave me 8 loaf slices from the middle and two from the ends. Don’t waste these crust pieces if you can help it, but we won’t use them on the finished cake. I like to consider these cake scraps as my baker’s wages and munch on them LOL!
Lay one slice of pound cake on a plate or cake stand. Fill your piping bag (if it’s not already) with the colored peanut butter buttercream and snip off a good-sized opening – about an inch or so from the tip of the bag. Then, pipe a smooth ring around the edge of the first slice of cake, filling in the middle after.
Even more so than with normal cakes, try to heftily portion out the buttercream. Don’t skimp! You can carefully try to smooth the buttercream with a knife, but be careful not to tear the buttercream off of the “bread.” Heating your knife with steaming hot water helps this process – just dry the water off before using it on your buttercream.
Next, sprinkle some of the salted peanuts on top of the buttercream. Try to keep them away from the edge by about a half-inch, in order to preserve the image of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But, again, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
Then, in true form, comes jelly. I used a piping bag with a smaller opening to add the jelly over top of the peanuts, and then a knife to smooth it out. Use caution to push the jelly towards the edges, so as to be visible when stacked, without it gushing over the edges – not too much, at least.
Take another slice of the pound cake and gently lay it on top to finish your first peanut butter and jelly cake sandwich. Repeat the process twice more, until you have a stack of cake, three sandwiches high.
Make your final cake sandwich, and use your best discretion to decide where you place it. My cake became quite tall, and I didn’t want it to topple over, so I cut the remaining sandwich diagonally and placed it in front of the rest of the cake!
And, voila! Your peanut butter and jelly cake is completed!
Instead of cutting this cake in a traditional manner, I disassembled it “sandwich” by “sandwich” and cut each into halves or quarters. Not only does it look like an actual PB&J on the plate, but it helps keeps things neat and tidy. However, feel free to cut this baby in whatever manner you prefer!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Illusion Cake Recipe
Peanut Butter and Jelly (PB&J) Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for prep
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1½ cup room temp butter (3 sticks), plus more for prep
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temp
- ½ cup buttermilk, room temp
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Buttercream
- 1 cup room temp butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp heavy cream (may not need it all)
Additional Cake Components
- 1 cup jam (any flavor, homemade or store-bought)
- 1 cup crushed, salted peanuts
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Then, butter and flour your cake pan.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, and baking soda.
- Then, in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter for 2 minutes until it starts to lighten in color. Then, add the sugar and beat for 4-5 more minutes until fluffy.
- One by one, add the eggs to the mixer bowl, fully combining before adding the next. Then, add in the vanilla and buttermilk, and combine again.
- Finally, add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined using your spatula.
- Fill your prepared pan just a tad more than ⅔ of the way full with the pound cake batter. You may have a small amount of batter leftover, which poses a few options. Option 1: When baking a typical pound cake, you don't want the loaf to rise over the sides of the pan, so you fill it ⅔ of the way full. To avoid any risk of batter overflow, use the leftover cake batter in a cupcake or muffin tin. Baking time will be shorter than the pound cake, probably around 15-25 minutes, compared to the loaf's 60-75 minutes. Once your cake in the loaf pan reaches an adequate crust color, tent the pan with tinfoil to avoid further browning while the loaf finishes baking. Bake both in the preheated oven, checking at the lower time with a toothpick for doneness. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack as soon as it is cool enough to handle - I usually do so about five minutes after removing the cake from the oven for the easiest release. Let cool fully on a wire rack before cutting, or wait until the next day if possible. Option 2: Alternatively, since I wanted this specific loaf to resemble bread, which does have a very particular edge look at the top crust, I made this recipe a little larger than normal. I wanted to see just how close to overflowing the loaf pan I could get. If you'd like to recreate my exact method to best replicate the look of true sandwich bread, fill your loaf pan all the way with the cake batter. Then, before baking, be sure to place your loaf pan on top of a baking sheet to catch any batter that may overflow. This will all depend upon how much rise you achieve, based on how well you beat the butter and sugar together. I had a few tablespoons of batter overflow onto the baking sheet before the cake cooked enough to solidify and hold the shape. Since your loaf is very large it may take anywhere from 70-90 minutes to bake. Be sure to tent the loaf pan with tin foil as it reaches an acceptable brown color, paying special attention to overflown edges. This will allow the inside to continue cooking without burning the top crust. Be patient as your loaf bakes, and trust the process. If you're not sure the loaf is done by the toothpick test, try inserting a thin butter knife for a better look. The loaf is finished when no batter remains on the knife/toothpick, though some small crumbs or moisture is fine. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack as soon as it is cool enough to handle - I usually do so about five minutes after removing the cake from the oven for the easiest release. Let cool fully on a wire rack before cutting, or wait until the next day if possible.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
- Beat together your butter and peanut butter until fluffy.
- Cup by cup add the powdered sugar, fully incorporating the previous before moving on to the next. Then, flavor with the vanilla and combine. Thin the buttercream out with the heavy cream if needed.
- Add a few drops of food coloring (always start out with less and add more if needed) to brighten your buttercream back up to a proper peanut butter shade. This step is optional, but since the powdered sugar and butter lighten the color of the peanut butter used, I like to recolor it for the proper effect once decorated.
- Store on the counter until ready to use, or in the refrigerator if overnight. Let it come back to room temperature before piping.
Bon Appetit, Or, Should I Say, “Lunch Time”?
I hope you enjoyed this simple decorating tutorial and delicious cake recipe! This peanut butter and jelly cake was a for-sure winner over here, so I hope you’ll love it too!
If you like cakes decorated as other foods, be sure to check out my Giant Stack of Pancakes Cake I created for my sister-in-law’s graduation party last year! I’ll give you a little spoiler alert: this cake isn’t make out of pancakes – at all! Not a single one! You have to check out the post to see how I did it!
To keep up to date with my daily baking and other fun behind-the-scenes content, find me on Instagram! Be sure to tag me in any photos you post of creations inspired by my blog! I love to see your works of culinary art.
If you liked this post, don’t forget to enter your email below to receive notification of my next blog post like this one. You don’t want to miss it!
Take care guys! Until next time…
Addicted to Pinterest, like me? Pin the image below to save this recipe for later or show it to your friends. After all, sharing is caring. 😉