Peanut Butter-Swirled Strawberry Cake
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This is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. There’s one pound of strawberries in an 8-inch cake.
Along with swirls and valleys of peanut butter. Need I say more.
The cake is based on the recent Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes Cake ,Peaches and Cream Fluffy Muffin Cake, and the Cream Cheese-Swirled Cherry and Mixed Berries Cake.
I used the same cake base here as I did for those because it doesn’t disappoint. It’s exceedingly moist and soft, and it’s fast and easy.
Like PB & J in decadent cake form.
The batter comes together with a whisk, and is as easy as making muffin batter. A bowl of dry ingredients, a bowl of wet ingredients, fold wet into dry, and pour in a pan. So easy.
The cake is springy, soft, and fluffy. It’s got just the right amount of density to leave you feeling satisfied.
There’s Greek yogurt (or sour cream) in the batter, along with buttermilk and oil, all of which keep cakes moist and soft.
There’s an abundance of big, juicy berries woven throughout. I used one 16-ounce bag of frozen strawberries. I always bake with frozen and save my fresh berries for eating. Feel free to substitute with cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches; fresh or frozen.
If you’re using fresh fruit, the baking time will likely be dramatically less, by as much as 20 minutes or so. When I used this cake base with fresh peaches, my baking time was a solid 10 minutes less. With all cakes and baking in general, watch your cake and not the clock. Bake until it’s done.
I suggest tenting your pan at about the 40 minute mark. That simply means laying a sheet of foil across the top of the pan so the surface of the cake doesn’t become overly browned before the interior fully cooks through.
With a pound of juicy fruit inside, it takes awhile to cook through completely.
As much as I like cream cheese swirls, peanut butter trumps cream cheese. The slight saltiness of the peanut butter complements the juicy, sweet fruit wonderfully well. It’s a cake that reminds me of a PB & J sandwich, but with actual strawberries rather than jelly.
The peanut butter sinks and ‘disappears’ to some extent while baking, so don’t go too crazy with the swirling and start off with thin, wispy swirls. You’ll never see them after the cake is baked.
Embrace those big patches and blobs of peanut butter because they’ll turn into lovely peanut butter valleys during baking.
I loved this cake so much. I tried to forget about it and put it deep inside my cupboard, thinking out of sight, out of mind. Wrong. I found myself going back to the lightly sweetened cake, with just a fork, straightening out the rows. Again and again.
The wall of soft strawberries that inevitably sink to the bottom of the cake, despite flouring them before baking, is the best part of cake. Dense walls of fruit are the best. Okay, they’re tied with peanut butter valleys.
It’s good that it’s a small 8-inch cake, and perfect to use up summer fruit or for a shower, brunch, or event you need a fast and fabulous cake.
I said last time that this cake batter has yet to let me down, and that I’d be making more cakes with it. I’ve happily kept my word.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon for tossing with strawberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup thick, full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 16 ounces strawberries, halved or quartered (I used one 16-ounce bag frozen strawberries; don’t unthaw and add them to the batter frozen; see below in item 6 about using fresh. Optionally, substitute cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or peaches; fresh or frozen.)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, optional salt; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Lumps will be present and this is okay. Don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth; set aside.
- In a small bowl, toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon flour. The flour helps to prevent as much sinking while baking, although given the sheer quantity, some will sink to make room for them all.
- Gently and briefly fold the fruit into batter. I used frozen berries and added them frozen; do not thaw because frozen fruit runs and bleeds less than if thawed. I let them warm up for about 5 minutes in order to slice them. If using fresh fruit, baking time will be significantly (possibly drastically) less because the fruit is much warmer and won’t chill down the batter overall, nor will it release any where near the water into the batter that frozen fruit does. Optionally, substitute cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or peaches; fresh or frozen.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan; set aside.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the peanut butter and heat on high power to melt, about 30 seconds.
- Evenly drizzle peanut butter over cake. With a toothpick, gently and lightly swirl the peanut butter, but don’t overdo it. The peanut butter ‘disappears’ a bit while baking, so don’t start out with thin lines because you’ll never see them. Some larger patches and ‘blobs’ are welcome.
- Bake until done. I hesitate to give a baking range because you must watch your cake, not the clock. Bake until center is slightly domed and set, golden in color, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. I baked for 60 minutes total. At the 40 minute mark, I tented with foil (lay a sheet of foil over the top of pan) and recommend this so cake doesn’t become too browned on top before the center cooks through fully. Baking times will range dramatically based on if baking with fresh or frozen berries; possibly ranging from 35 to 65 minutes depending on the temperature of the berries going into the batter and how much water they release.
- Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Optionally, drizzle more peanut butter over the top or try this vanilla cream cheese glaze, this buttery vanilla glaze, this browned butter glaze.
- Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Peanut Butter Honey Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Streusel – This is a one-bowl, easy cake, ready in about 30 minutes that’s so moist and soft
Strawberries and Cream Coffee Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze – The best coffee cake I’ve ever had or made. Use your favorite fresh, frozen, or seasonal fruit this incredibly moist and soft cake batter
Blueberry and Jam Buttermilk Coffee Cake with Buttery Vanilla Glaze – One of the best coffee cakes or cakes I’ve ever made. Highly recommended – tied with the one above
Strawberry Jelly Rolls – You’d never guess these start out as white dinner rolls and within 15 minutes, are transformed into little jelly rolls
Do you have a favorite cake that never lets you down? What do you bake with fruit?
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