Comfort me with snacking cakes. Even better – comfort me with this salty caramel peanut butter snacking cake! When I first saw mention of Yossy’s latest brilliant book Snacking Cakes, I just knew it would be the emotional eating tome of Covid 19. I think we all knew we loved snacking cakes but we didn’t quite know the term for it – a simple, single layer cake with an easy to make frosting or glaze, perfect to whip up on a random Wednesday to make a dragging day feel a little more special.
Salty Caramel Peanut Butter Snacking Cake
For the peanut butter cake
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken
- 1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the caramel frosting
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon water
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Flaky salt, to finish (optional)
Make the cake
- Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter or coat an 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with a circle of parchment paper cut to size.
- In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the peanut butter and whisk until smooth. Add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and kosher salt. Whisk until smooth andemulsified.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk until well-combined and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top of the batter with an offset spatula.
- Bake the cake until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven. Set the pan on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes, then turn out the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting
- Melt the butter, brown sugar, cream, and water together in a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil and cook for 3 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice to release the heat.
- After 3 minutes, whisk in the kosher salt and confectioners’ sugar until smooth and slightly thickened.
- Spread the icing over the cooled cake and sprinkle with flaky salt, if using.
- Let the icing set for about 20 minutes before slicing the cake. Store the cake, covered, at room temperature for up to three days.
Snacking Cakes is the perfect comfort for our pandemic-shattered minds, a cookbook page-turner to relax the anxious old noggin – it’s like you’re being hugged by Yossy’s calming, beautiful photos of softly tender-crumbed cakes.
After picking up my copy at my fave local indie bookshop, an hour later I was in the kitchen whipping up this salty caramel peanut butter snacking cake because after looking at Yossy’s dreamy photos of this lushly crumbed, fudgey-caramel-iced cake with snowflakes of flakey sea salt, I JUST HAD TO HAVE A PIECE. It came together in a flash, and suddenly our little family’s day felt exciting with a special dessert awaiting our weeknight dinner! A note about peanut butter: use non-fancy peanut butter for this, ie something like Kraft or Skippy (the junky delicious kind of PB!)