The only thing I really liked about elementary school, from what I can remember, was the enormous piece of coffee cake they would serve all the time. I’m sure there are more things I loved, but food wise, that was it. It’s the one food item I looked forward to eating the most. Well that, and the chalupas. Like flat taco boats. Those were the bomb. Did you ever eat chalupas? I’m not even sure if other schools served them. The coffee cake though, that was even better than the flat taco boats. It was always the perfect consistency and texture too, because even as a kid I was all about texture. I would sit at the table eating my giant slice of cake and I’d critique it as if I were a judge on chopped, although chopped wasn’t around then. Gosh, I probably didn’t have friends either. I always hoped for a middle piece of coffee cake because those were cut much bigger than the edges. Now as an adult, I’m all about the edges.
Another thing I really loved was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My mamma would make them for me all the time. I had some rules though when it came to my pb&js. You couldn’t just grab two slices of bread and slap whatever you wanted. No, it had to be done the right way. My way. First off, the bread needed to be toasted, I couldn’t get down with soft bread getting caught in the roof of my mouth. It had to be toasted twice, not burnt just super toasted. As for the peanut butter, it had to be chunky, and piled on thick. No grape jelly nonsense for me either, it had to be made with strawberry preserves. I liked and still do love the texture of preserves rather than jelly, because preserves still have chunks and seeds. You put all of that together and presto bingo like magic, you’d end up with the perfect peanut butter and jelly for little baby Jonathan.
Now I can enjoy the best of both worlds. Coffee cake and peanut butter and jelly coming together for the ultimate breakfast cake. Breakfast cake is really just an excuse to eat dessert, first thing in the morning. Talk about a dream come true. Nothing is better than cake for breakfast. Except maybe Ice cream for breakfast. That probably takes the cake, pun intended.
Let’s start by making the crumb topping because no coffee cake would be complete without the crumb topping. It’s the best part. This is a basic recipe, just flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, butter, pecans and oats.
**Note: I like the added texture the oats and pecans give the crumb topping, but if you’re allergic to nuts or don’t have pecans on hand, feel free to omit it. Also, you can totally swap it out for whatever you have on hand. Chopped up walnuts or almonds or even peanuts (because of the peanut butter) would work great!**
Set the topping off to the side and sift or whisk together the dry ingredients for the cake. I’m not much of a sifter, so I just whisk them in a small bowl. Set it off to the side as well.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
**Note: Make sure to add the eggs one at a time, this will ensure even mixing. I accidentally dropped both in. Don’t do as I do. Be better than me.**
Then stir in the dry ingredients, along with the buttermilk, alternating between the two. The trick to the perfect texture to any cake is to start and end with the dry ingredients. So do a third of dry, half of the wet, another third of dry, the rest of the wet, and then the rest of the dry. Also, make sure to only mix just until combined after each addition. You definitely do not want to over mix at this point, or you’ll end up with dry cake.
Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured 9 by 9-inch square baking pan, spreading it out into an even layer. Then spread the strawberry preserves on top, leaving a little border of batter around the edges.
**Tip: Feel free to use whatever flavor of jam, jelly, or preserves you like or have on hand! This is a very customizable recipe. If you’re more of a classic pb&j person that uses grape jelly, then go for it! You do you boo!**
Spread the remaining half of the batter on top, and then sprinkle with all of the crumb topping, making sure to cover the top of the batter completely. Press the crumb topping lightly with the palm of your hand to ensure it sticks. Don’t squish it to death, but just a light pat down.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and serving.
If you want to take things over the edge feel free to dust the top with powdered sugar. I think this breakfast cake is decadent enough, so I serve it just as it is.
If you’re crazy and have any leftovers, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you do store the cake in the fridge, let the coffee cake come to room temperature before serving. Or you can always nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds to speed it along.
I love this cake because you can eat it for breakfast with coffee, just like coffee cake is supposed to be served and eaten, or you can also serve it as a great dessert. It isn’t too sweet, which I love. The saltiness from the peanut butter offsets the sweetness from the strawberry preserves so nicely. Also, I love that the cake isn’t overpowered by the peanut butter. It’s a subtly taste.
This cake also makes a great gift for someone. Make it and take it over to a friend’s or family member’s place. It would be the best gift you’ve ever given them because we all know that food gifts make the best gifts. I recommend making one for yourself, because you’re going to want a slice or two for sure, and then while you’re at it, just make another one and pay it forward. Let’s pay it forward with peanut butter and jelly coffee cake. Deal? Deal.
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1½ cups strawberry preserves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan and set aside.
- To make the topping, in a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon until evenly combined. Add the cold butter and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, the size of peas. You can also do this with a pastry blender, two knives or a potato masher. Stir in the pecans and oats, set aside.
- To make the cake, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and sugar in an electric mixer on high until fluffy and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients alternating between the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Make sure to mix just until combined after each addition. Do not over mix.
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan, and smooth out into an even layer. Top with the strawberry preserves and spread out as well to almost the edges. Top with the remaining batter and spread once more. Give the pans a few raps on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top, making sure to cover the top completely.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing and serving. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or for 4 days in the fridge. Enjoy!