Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I never tire of peanut butter and jelly. I have a peanut butter sandwich (no jelly, whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter) for lunch most days. The jelly is a special treat, particularly when I have some homemade strawberry preserves on hand. It still makes me feel like a kid, though no one cuts my crusts off for me anymore. Baking the classic childhood flavors up into a sweet treat is a fun way to expand on the pairing – kids and adults will love it. And what could be more American for a summer picnic or party?

The classic 9 by 13 cake is a great party take-along. It serves a lot of people, and sweet cake like this can even be served in smaller portions to stretch it out. This cake keeps well, so make it a day ahead and keep it covered on the counter. It even gets a little moister! It is rich, but you could absolutely serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
Serves 16
  1. For the Cake
  2. ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks butter)
  3. 1 cup water
  4. ½ cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
  5. 2 cups light brown sugar
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  8. ¼ teaspoon salt
  9. ½ cup buttermilk
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. 2 eggs
  12. ½ cup jam, jelly or preserves (I like strawberry)
  13. For the Frosting
  14. ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  15. 1/3 cup buttermilk
  16. ½ cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
  17. 4 ¼ cups (1 pound box) confectioners sugar
  1. For the Cake
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9 by 13 baking dish thoroughly with cooking spray.
  3. Put the butter, water and peanut butter in a large, about 4 – 5 quart, pot and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until everything is smooth and incorporated. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the brown sugar until incorporated. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Let the batter cool for a few minutes. Break the eggs into the measuring cup you used for the buttermilk and lightly beat. Add to the batter and beat until smooth and thoroughly combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  4. Dollop the jam by evenly spaced tablespoons over the batter, then use a thin knife blade or a skewer to swirl the jelly through the batter. It doesn’t need to be perfect or pretty, just try and get the jelly throughout the cake. Bake the cake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
For the frosting
  1. Rinse out and dry the pot you used for the cake batter.
  2. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, bring the butter, buttermilk, peanut butter and vanilla to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until smooth and incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the confectioners sugar, by hand or with an electric mixer, until smooth. Pour the warm frosting over the warm cake and carefully spread it over the top.
  3. Leave the cake to cool, then cut into squares and serve.
The Runaway Spoon

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