This post is sponsored by the National Peanut Board. I received compensation, but all opinions and content are my own. Thank you for supporting Hummingbird High and the companies that help me keep the lights on!

It’s spring cleaning time in #casahummingbirdhigh and we’ve been cleaning and tidying every nook and cranny of the house for the last few weekends. The basement has been especially challenging; we’re both guilty of just throwing whatever junk and random items down there. One day, I finally took the time to go through the mountain of boxes. I immediately stumbled upon a box of old Halloween costumes, including an old banana suit that I recycled every Halloween between the years 2011 to 2015, lol.

The banana suit unearthed a ton of memories—while most of them were related to Halloween shenanigans, it also re-surfaced this ancient meme (maybe even one of the internet’s first memes ever, no?) of a dancing banana yelling “It’s peanut butter jelly time!” on repeat. For the rest of the day, “It’s peanut butter jelly time!” looped in my head, inspiring me to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my spring cleaning snack and eventually turn the classic combo into a layer cake:

To be honest with you, it’s always peanut butter and jelly time in my house. Or maybe just peanut butter. Erlend and I can’t get enough of the stuff. He eats a variation of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich everyday for breakfast, and I always inhale a banana with generous heaps of the stuff or spike my smoothies with it after every workout (it’s the best post workout snack; you get 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber with every tablespoon). No joke—we go through one of those economy sized jars almost once a week. It was only inevitable that I started baking with the stuff too. Peanut butter is like, a magic ingredient in baked goods. It has so much flavor, and it keeps recipes so moist and flavorful for several days.

Like this cake! This is a peanut butter cake, inspired by my friend Molly and her peanut butter cake recipe from her book. Because of the peanut butter, it’s so flavorful, soft, and moist. The best part? It’s a one bowl recipe! You literally put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, mix them together, then mix in the wet ingredients. Simple as that.

My version (which will also be in my upcoming cookbook, Weeknight Baking) uses brown sugar for extra flavor and is three layers, all covered in the creamiest Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. As an homage to the classic combo, I spiked the Swiss meringue buttercream with my favorite strawberry jelly (but you can use any flavor you like—see more in the baker’s notes!). It’s peanut butter and jelly, but in layer cake format. Because yes, it is peanut butter jelly time.

Are you a peanut butter (and jelly) fan? If so, let me know your favorite peanut butter recipe in the comments with the hashtag #HowDoYouPB below—I’m always looking for new peanut butter recipes to try out! You can also head here for even more peanut butter recipes for any occasion.

Some baker’s notes:

    • For this recipe, you can use any brand of peanut butter you want—just be sure it doesn’t have any added sugar in it because the cake itself is already going to be pretty sweet. But you can definitely use either creamy OR crunchy peanut butter. Creamy peanut butter will result in a soft and tender cake crumb, while crunchy peanut butter will result in a crumb more similar to a carrot cake or banana bread recipe with nuts in it.
    • I mentioned before that you can use any kind of jam or jelly you want, too. The frosting is infinitely customizable; simply make the Swiss meringue buttercream, then mix in your favorite jam or jelly after to flavor it. I especially love the combo of strawberry and blackberry jam with the peanut butter.
  • When making the frosting, make sure the butter is completely at room temperature (ideally at 70 degrees). Swiss meringue buttercream has a tendency to curdle or separate if the butter is too cold. If you find that the buttercream has curdled once all the butter has been added, scoop out ¼ cup (no need to be precise—you can just eyeball it!), microwave it until melted but not hot, then pour it into the buttercream and beat on medium for 2 to 3 minutes. The buttercream should turn silky and creamy.

Get the Recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Layer Cake

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For the Peanut Butter Layer Cake

  • 2 ¼ cups (9 ounces) cake flour
  • 2 cups tightly packed (15 ounces) dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup (9.5 ounces) unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) water
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Strawberry Jelly Swiss Meringue Frosting

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) large egg whites
  • 1 ¼ cups (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (3 ounces) strawberry jelly (see baker’s notes for variations)


For the Peanut Butter Layer Cake

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 (F). Generously spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom of each with a parchment paper circle. Spray the parchment too.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add peanut butter, buttermilk, water, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Divide evenly between the three cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of each cake bounces back when gently pressed. A skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out with a few crumbs attached. Cool completely in the pans on a wire rack before frosting.

For the Strawberry Jelly Swiss Meringue Frosting

  • Whisk together egg whites and sugar in the top pan of a double boiler (or, make your own by setting a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan filled with an inch or two of simmering water—make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Cook over medium-high heat, whisking intermittently, until the egg mixture registers 160 (F) on a candy thermometer.
  • Once hot, immediately pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is light, fluffy, and holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should be at room temperature. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, and the whisk attachment. Swap the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment.
  • With the mixer on low, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Once incorporated, increase to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add the jelly, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Once incorporated, increase to medium-high and beat until silky smooth and pale pink-purple, 2 to 3 minutes more.
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