Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar

26Aug/061

Not quite PB&J

Several years ago, pop and I went through a summer of canning. We made a lot of jams that year: strawberry, blackberry, peach, apple butter. We also experimented with canning fruits (only the cherries didn't turn out so well) and making our own mincemeat.

It's just the two of us and we really don't eat that many biscuits. Or, at least, I don't. And he's barely gone through half in the 5 years since we made it. These things don't keep until the end of time, so I've been trying to think of ways to use up some of it.

I started googling for cake recipes using strawberry jam. Sparks' birthday is coming up and I'm trying to find a nice cake to make for him. I found a recipe that practically screamed his name: peanut butter and strawberry jam cake with white chocolate peanut butter ganache. Sparks doesn't really like nuts, except peanuts (a legume, I know) and loves peanut butter cookies more than any other cookie. So, this morning I set out to give this recipe a try.

GANACHE

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

CAKE

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons strawberry jam
2 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped
6-8 fresh strawberries, hulled and cut vertically into 1/8 ", thick slices
  1. MAKE THE CAKE: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
  2. Line the bottoms of 2 9x2-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment paper.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed about 45 seconds, until the mixture is lighter in color.
  5. Add the sugar in a steady stream, then stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Return the mixer to medium speed and beat, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, 4-5 minutes.
  7. Gradually pour in the eggs, about 1 tablespoon at a time.
  8. (If the mixture looks curdled, stop adding the eggs, increase speed to high, and beat until it looks smooth and shiny. Return mixer to medium speed and add the remaining eggs.) Continue beating until the mixture is ivory colored.
  9. The entire process of adding and beating the eggs should take 3-4 minutes.
  10. Reduce mixer speed to low.
  11. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternating with 3 additions of the milk.
  12. After each addition, beat until smooth and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  13. Add the vanilla toward the end of mixing.
  14. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pans.
  15. Bake until the tops spring back when the cakes are lightly pressed in the centers and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.
  16. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes; invert onto wire racks and cool completely.
  17. MAKE THE GANACHE: Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat just until warm.
  18. Add the peanut butter and whisk to blend.
  19. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the warm cream on top.
  20. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until melted and smooth.
  21. Let stand at room temperature until cooled, thick, and spreadable, about 1 hour.
  22. Using a long, serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half horizontally.
  23. The tops will become the bottom and top of the cake, and the remaining layers will become the center.
  24. Place a dab of ganache in the center of an 8 1/2" cardboard cake round.
  25. Place a cake layer, top side down, on the cardboard.
  26. Spread with 3 tablespoons jam, spreading to the edges.
  27. Top with another layer and spread with 3 tablespoons ganache, spreading to the edges.
  28. Top with the remaining layer, top side up.
  29. Frost with remaining ganache.
  30. Place the chopped peanuts in a jelly-roll pan.
  31. Hold the cake in one hand directly over the pan and tilt the cake slightly.
  32. With the other hand, pick up some of the peanuts and press them into the sides of the cake.
  33. Rotate the cake as you apply the peanuts until the sides are completely covered.
  34. Using a clean metal spatula, press the peanuts into the ganache to make them more fully adhere.
  35. (The cake can be stored at room temperature, under a cake dome, for 1 day.) No more than 1 hour before serving, starting at the edge of the top of the cake, arrange the strawberry slices in concentric circles until the surface is covered.

I made a couple of slight changes to the recipe. For one thing, I toasted the peanuts after chopping them. I also used 2-3 times as much jam as called for, a healthy layer between each cake round. I wanted to be able to tell that it was there. I also skipped the strawberries, though if this turns out to be the birthday cake, I may add them on the next one.

Edited to add: Tasty, like a squishy cookie! However, next time, half the amount of peanuts. Only put them around the sides like the recipe says. The only reason that I put them all over the cake was because there were so many of them. It does not need the strawberries on top, but the extra jam is perfect.

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  1. Thank you, I just wanted to give a greeting and tell you I enjoyed reading your material.


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