PB + J Cake
When a friend dropped off a HUGE bag of freshly picked strawberries last week, I knew I had to use them up in something fun. I never have that many strawberries on hand, and I wanted to make sure to pack in that sweet berry flavor into whatever I created - in addition to that, I knew I didn't want it to be something from my normal rotations: smoothies, parfait bowls, you get the idea.
What I did know, is that I love peanut butter and jelly. I always have - I can remember my mom telling me how she ate a PB&J every day she was pregnant with me, and even now, its a go-to late night snack, especially when Frank is picking me up late at the airport from a work trip. "Don't forget my PBJ" I always tell him - maybe because its just one of my favorite comfort foods.
So the more I thought about it, the more I decided I wanted to make a strawberry cake, with a peanut butter frosting - and thus the PB&J cake was born. This cake is fluffy from a secret ingredient (cough cough, its seltzer) and is similar in texture to my carrot cake you may remember from a few months back. The trick to that berry flavor? Using an immersion blender and blending them into some almond milk before adding to the cake batter. While I love baking with berries, I find that leaving them as a whole piece oftentimes jacks up your cooking time - the area right around the berry takes SO much longer to cook due to the moisture, and then the rest of the cake can end up dry. So pulverizing it into the liquid helped bring the berry flavor without the inconsistencies in cooking time.
And the PB frosting? While it is made with powdered sugar (which is the only refined sugar in this recipe) isn't made with a ton, so I feel going into this gluten and dairy free cake with a little frosting is a-ok with me. #Moderation, am I right?
First prep your berries - get them nice and cleaned and trimmed. You'll want about 3 cups of berries for this recipe, and then add them to a blender or using an immersion blender to mix with the almond milk and seltzer to create this beautifully bright pink milk. Set aside.
Then you'll gather all the dry ingredients and put into a bowl. Give it a quick stir before adding in the wet ingredients. I prefer to mix the berry milk with the remaining wet ingredients and giving a quick whisk before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir the batter thoroughly.
When it comes to baking, I only have one 6 inch round, so it takes a while to make each later - but after making this you could certainly do it with any size pan, just adjust your cook times (I also think this would make an awesome sheet pan recipe and drizzling the frosting over to create squares would be SO good.)
About 1 1/2 cups of batter per baking round and cooking them for about 25-30 minutes a piece. Allow them to cool completely before trying to trim or put together.
Frosting is simple - peanut butter, almond milk and powdered sugar. I used a chunky peanut butter just for some added texture.
This cake is so wildly close to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich my mind (and Frank's) was blown. One bite and you'll know what I'm talking about. Last great covered in the fridge for a few days and is perfect for those mounds of ripe summer berries. Get creative - perhaps using blueberries, blackberries or peaches would be great too!
PB + J Cake (GF/DF)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes per 6 inch round
½ cup coconut flour
1.5 cup GF flour
1 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon flax
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons ghee/vegan butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups strawberries
1/3 cup almond milk
2/3 cup seltzer
½ cup peanut butter (I used chunky!)
2 cups powdered sugar
¼-1/3 cup almond milk
Additional 1 cup of strawberries if putting in between each layer
Cut up 3 cups of strawberries, and add to blender or use immersion blender with almond milk and seltzer. Blend until smooth.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, add berry milk, melted ghee, maple syrup, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk into the dry ingredients.
Pray and parchment line a 6 inch cake round. About 1 1/2 cups of batter will get 3 cakes.
Bake each cake for 25-30 minutes until a knife comes out cleanly. Allow to cool completely on a rack.
Whisk together frosting ingredients and drizzle across each layer. I added sliced strawberries as well for added texture. Build each cake layer.
Store covered in a fridge for up to one week.