Peanut Butter and Concord Grape Jelly Cake

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Cakes / Fruit

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You guys, I have officially dedicated the month of October to cake.  See, I have six friend/family birthdays this month…SIX.  That is a lot of presents and a whole lot of cake.  As is such, I will be baking up a storm of cake over the next few weeks amidst the celebrating and I can’t wait to share them with you.  The first is an amazing take on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, (of which I don’t eat nearly enough of since graduating college) with concord grape jelly.  The end result will surely blow your college senior self’s mind.  And as we slowly creep into ‘real adulthood’, we can now enjoy it in a much more sophisticated and easier to explain fashion.  Because cake for dinner is always socially acceptable, or at the very least a decision that now belongs to you and your adult-self alone.

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Concord grapes have a very short season, from September to late October.  Sweeter than normal grapes, I feel they’re typically overlooked when you’re perusing the grocery aisle.  Do yourselves a favor and snap them up while you can.  The color jelly it produces is incredible and the sweetness is unlike the typical grapes you snack on.  And don’t let me go on too long about this peanut butter cake.  Crumby, yet light and chock full of peanut butter the only thing that could possibly make it better would be to top it with yet more peanut butter.

I also always love turning traditional snack/dinner/drink fare into a dessert and I have to tell you, this is a pretty spot on rendition of one of my favorite quick and dirty dinner options but you know, with more sugar and less nutritional value.  What could be better?

Ingredients

Concord Grape Jelly

4 cups small seedless Concord grapes (about 2 pounds)*
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Peanut Butter Cake

2 1/4 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream

3/4 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Instructions

Concord Grape Jelly

  1. Combine the grapes, apple and water in a medium Dutch oven over medium-low heat.
  2. Cover and cook until most of the grapes pop and shrivel, about 12 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and stir in the granulated sugar.
  3. Cook, stirring often and mashing with a potato masher occasionally to crush the apple, until the filling is thick and syrupy, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, strain in a fine mesh sieve  and let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and peanut butter until creamy.  Add in the sugar and mix on medium for about 3 minutes.  Decrease the speed to low and add in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. With the mixer on low, add in half of the flour mixture.  Stream in the milk and mix until incorporated.  Add in the remaining flour and mix until combined.
  4. Evenly divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for about 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  5. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
  6. Remove from pans and let cool completely

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  1. Place the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whisk to combine – making sure to eliminate any lumps in the sugar.  Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place over medium heat.  Put the mixer bowl on the top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. While whisking, heat until the egg mixture reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer or until mixture no longer feels ‘grainy’.
  2. Once hot, carefully return the bowl back to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat the egg/sugar mixture on high for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature and the meringue holds stiff peaks.
  3. Stop the mixer and swap the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the butter a couple tablespoons at a time.  Add in the vanilla and turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until smooth. Add in the peanut butter and mix until combined.

Assemble

Place one layer of cake onto serving plate or cake stand.  Pipe a ring of buttercream to create a frosting “dam” to prevent the jam filling from leaking.  Spread a layer of concord grape jelly within the dam.  Repeat with second cake layer, another dam, more concord grape jelly and then the last layer of cake.  Crumb coat and frost cake with remaining buttercream.  Pipe a ring of icing around the top edge using a star tip and fill center with more concord grape jelly to finish.

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