So, I stopped taking the mega doses of vitamin C out of laziness, and then I was hit with the worst allergy attack of my entire life. I’m not saying they’re related, but… That was the chronological turn of events. The last two weeks have been brutal, including a drive from Washington to California where I pulled over not once but three times in order to more effectively gag and choke on post-nasal cloggery. In the last few days it progressed again, this time to full nasal swelling so bad that my Eustachian tubes have blocked entirely which FEELS AWESOME. This is what the bathroom counter of someone without health insurance looks like:
MVP: expired bottle of prescription Flonase I kept around just in case this exact event occurred! Thanks, American health care!
However, this is not why I invited you here today. I invited you here because I am currently super angry at this magazine:
The subscription was a gift from Mike’s mom and I’d previously never really looked through Cuisine at Home. I think I thought it was a little too Sandra Lee, if you know what I mean. As often is the case with me, I was wrong. It’s one of these magazines where — while the recipes are useful and seem solid — the real gold comes from ideas. Like, just reminding you to cook certain things. What I wasn’t expecting was for Mike to lose his mind over this recipe:
He rarely gets on my case to make something other than Swedish meatballs or pie, but it’s almost like the editors of Cuisine at Home knew that Mike was on a pb&j bender lately, because I think the people in space could hear his PEANUT BUTTER CAAAAAAKE SAAANDWICHES! shriek. Basically the idea is: make a peanut butter cake in a loaf form, slice it and serve it with peanut butter frosting and jam as the “filling” instead of as frosting. Great! Except I refuse to make their peanut butter frosting as it was just peanut-tinted sugar and butter.
So I’m sitting there, making this recipe and thinking to myself, this will never work. It seemed ill-fated from the start. Part of the recipe advises to cream the peanut butter and sugars together until the sugar dissolves, which after 10 minutes still never happened. And I thought to myself, why would the sugar dissolve? It’s not liquid, it’s a fat, and it’s not warm. It also recommended sugaring the pan instead of flouring it, which is like 14,000 sad faces waiting to happen. I mean, that shit is gonna stick, dawg.
And the batter was so runny! I didn’t get a photo of it, but it was not what I expected at all. I was drafting a message of condolence to Mike for what was undoubtedly going to be a lame-ass cake.
Yeah, unpanning that loaf was a goddamn mess.
It even baked in a half-hearted way, taking 10 minutes longer than called for and requiring a tent of foil over the top to keep the surface from burning. And if you haven’t already guessed that the cake turned out to be FUCKING EXCELLENT then you’ve clearly never read Anger Burger before.
No kidding, it was the best peanut-butter flavored baked good I’ve ever eaten. The texture was incredible, moist and supple and sturdy all at the same time, easily among the best pound-cakes I’ve ever had. The crust was magical, like the best soft peanut butter cookie you’ve ever eaten, all chewy from the baked sugar. Warm from the oven, the cake was impossible to keep from eating. And the next day it was even better! Mike and I ate the entire loaf in about 24 hours, which while I am not a calorie-counter, still makes me cringe. That was a cup of peanut butter. And like, two cups of sugar. Yeesh. But this is the truth: I looked at the calendar to see when I could in good conscience bake this again (Friday the 2nd). It was that good.
Peanut Butter Bread Cake
i’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe, the first of which was to cut the entire thing in half — because, honestly, WTF is up with making two of these loaves at once? that’s a lot of goddamn cake. other adjustments are primarily to the instructions, since they were lacking.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup creamy, all natural peanut butter (with no added palm oil)
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
butter and large-grain sugar for coating the pan
- Heat oven to 350°. Grease a large loaf pan (about 9×5) with butter and coat with sugar. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, BS, BP and salt. Set aside.
- Add the vanilla to the milk. Set aside.
- Cream the peanut butter, butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium/high speed for at least five minutes. It will never get pale and fluffy, it will remain dark and creamy. The sugar itself will not “dissolve” but definitely get less granular. When in doubt, go a little longer.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Scrape down the bowl and make sure it’s all well-blended.
- Alternate the flour and milk, ending with some flour and scraping the bowl down as you go. The batter will be rather runny. Pour into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with more sugar.
- Bake about 50 minutes, keeping a sharp eye on the cake. If it is getting too brown around the edges, carefully and loosely tent a piece of tin foil over the top and return to oven. Bake 10-20 minutes longer, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, and then turn out the cake onto a cooling rack over a surface that you don’t mind spraying sugar all over.
To prepare as Cuisine recommends, make dessert sandwiches with the cake. Mike and I were both (he more so) surprised to discover we like the cake better just plain without any jam. It would also make beautiful little teacakes if you have mini-loaf pans, and would make a totally adorable tea-party slice. AND! I toasted a piece on the second day and it was amazing, which makes me think of 100 more possibilities (peanut butter french toast ???!!), so maybe they were onto something with making two loaves after all.