Tag Archives: peanut butter

Southern Peanut Butter Cake Squares

Growing up here in Fort Lauderdale I was lucky enough to attend a grade school close to home, with all my friends from kindergarten, boasting a killer baking staff.  The East Side School cafeteria ladies didn’t open boxes when it came to cakes, pies and cookies for us kiddies.  No ma’am.  The predominantly black women who staffed the cafeteria were accomplished cooks and bakers who cranked out old school baked goods on a daily basis.  They were kind to all of us students and we in turn bowed down to them with reverence and respect because they were grown ups…you watch your p’s and q’s around grown ups.  These ladies were experts in the kitchen and coming from a home where Mama didn’t cook or bake I was highly appreciative and anticipated lunch every day knowing it would be far better than anything I would ever be served at home.  Do you recall the peanut butter cake you had in grade school?  The squares were heavy and thick in texture yet the cakes melted in your mouth leaving a certain salty sweet taste.  Oh, heaven.  Lately I’ve been craving that same salty sweet sensation and set about to have it.  I came up with this.  Alone in the house with two pans was virtual diet suicide.  I took four squares over to my friend Rob’s house.  He had fiddled with my father’s ancient bedside table lamp which wasn’t working.  At 94 years old Daddy really depends on that lamp for the inordinate amount of reading he does.  And after 5 minutes of fooling with it Rob had tightened it up, fine tuned the sockets and turned the on/off chains to a place where Dad could control the lamp with ease.  Make my Daddy happy, make me happy.  I made Rob take a bite of the cake and watched his reaction like a hawk.  His first words after clearing his palate of the dense stuff were, “I’m sorry Miz Whitcomb, but I don’t have my math homework cuz I didn’t do it!”  He was back in grade school and that’s what I wanted.  Old school peanut butter cake will take you back…and in a good way.

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This is a crazy simple cake recipe.  It’s best served with coffee or milk.  Iced water will do but coffee or milk are best.   When the cake smells done it probably is done.  I have light-colored baking sheets however if yours are dark keep an eye on them as they’ll bake your cake much faster.  It’s a thin cake, not big and puffy and you don’t want it to burn.  When preparing the icing you must stir continuously.  I can’t stress that enough.  Peanut butter scorches easily.   But if you use a whisk and keep stirring until smooth you will be rewarded with a trip back in time.  When you serve this to your children or grandchildren you can regale them with stories of how you had to walk 10 miles uphill BOTH WAYS to school.  Enjoy!

Southern Peanut Butter Squares

  • Servings: 24 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup butter (12 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups confectioners sugars
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Set aside a standard 12’X17″ light-colored baking sheet with a lip or 2 12″X9″ light colored baking sheets each with a lip.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine peanut butter, butter, water and whisk over medium heat until completely combined.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in milk, eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the flour mixture in the large bowl and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  6. Pour into baking sheet/ sheets and bake 18-20 minutes or until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan.  If using dark-colored baking sheets test for doneness at 15 minutes.
  7.   Remove cake from oven and cool on cooling rack, make the icing as the cake cools.

Icing:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine peanut butter, milk and butter and whisk until all ingredients have dissolved and are combined.
  2. Add confectioners sugar and continue whisking until completely smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and pour over cake.
  4. Allow icing to set, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cut into 3″X3″ squares and serve.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

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Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake

This is the cake of your childhood.  This is the cake the sweet cafeteria ladies served you in grade school.  I went to East Side School, as did all my childhood friends, and I positively loved it.  Five minutes away from our house, East Side was our neighborhood public school.  Mint green in color, the stucco two-storied building was connected by open air hallways so, although we didn’t have air conditioning, we could always enjoy our tropical breezes.  Our playground was carpeted by thick, emerald-green grass and seemed immense to us.  Dotted through the campus were mammoth ficus and banyan trees, perfect for shady rests after rousing games of “dodge ball” and “red rover”.   The cafeteria was set away from the  school connected by a lengthy open-air breezeway.  I remember walking single-file in the heat of the day for lunch.  Everyone bought.  I don’t think I know of one child who brought his lunch.  And we ALL had our favorite lunches.  My older sister, Cynthia, loved fish sticks, always served on Fridays.  I enjoyed them as well except the cafeteria ladies only gave you two and I was always left hungry.  She also mentioned, as all the food was made from scratch and hand-made, they made a mean meatloaf and their mashed potatoes were the stuff dreams are made of.   I called my best friends, Dana and Andrea, to find out what their best-loved meals were at East Side.  Dana and Andrea both called me right back and it turns out we all have the same fave…spaghetti!   It had such flavor; something we never, ever had at home.  Dana’s little sister, Dawn, LOVED the tater tots.  She also reminded me the absolute worst to eat was the spinach and pointed out we always seemed to have it after the grass was cut.  To quote her, “Yuck!”  But what we all agreed was the best was the selection of desserts, again all made from scratch and by hand.   Thick, creamy chocolate pudding was scooped out of enormous bowls.  Generous wedges of apple pie were cut.  But the best had to be the chocolate cake squares with peanut butter on top.  Oh man.   The icing and peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth while the cake melted in your mouth, all washed down with a healthy gulp of cold milk.  Heaven on earth and all for a whopping 35¢!

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This is the Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake of your childhood.  It is beyond sublime and puts all those fancy-dancy, beet for color, salted, chocolate with ancho chile, corn flake and beer creations to shame!  This cake is simple, straightforward and ain’t nothin’ hoity-toity about it.  I suggest using only regular, store-bought peanut butter like Skippy or Jiffy.  A more “natural” or organic, grind your own butter is flat and bland tasting.  The only change I made is I added two teaspoons of vanilla extract to the cake instead of one and also to the chocolate icing but only because I love vanilla.  This recipe comes directly from a pulled out page of an old Southern Living magazine.  The paper is stained and water marked.  The article is titled “Make Mine Chocolate” and I treasure this recipe in the short collection.  So thanks, Marian T. Talley from Huntsville, Alabama who contributed the recipe for this cake.  You have a fan in Fort Lauderdale.

Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake

  • Servings: 20-25
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • Chocolate Frosting
  1. Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan, stir in cocoa. Add water, buttermilk and eggs, stirring well.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils.  Remove from heat; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 13X9-inch baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Carefully spread peanut butter over warm cake.  Cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Pour over powdered sugar in a bowl, stirring until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Yield: 2 1/2 cups

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Frozen Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie…hey, Lawdy mama!

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About a week I got the most fierce hankering for some peanut butter and chocolate pie, the kind with a chocolate cookie crust.  And cold.  It had to be freezing.  It’s gotten so hot out that, like Key Lime Pie, a cold, creamy pie with a crunchy cookie crust is most welcome.  I wanted those sweet followed by salty flavors in my mouth and pronto.  Growing up, Dad was the only person in our house interested in peanut butter.  We always had a jar which was rock-hard because Mama insisted it be stored in the refrigerator.  What does a lady from Puerto Rico, who has no idea how to cook or even maneuver through the kitchen, know about peanut butter?  The only time I was even vaguely interested in peanuts was driving to and from college.  My roommate, Cindy, was from Fort Lauderdale.  In fact, we even went to high school together.  Anchor love, roomie!  Anyway, we’d be flying along, always barefooted, probably singing, in her little chocolate brown Toyota on I-75 when we’d catch a glimpse of a giant, beige blob in the sky.  That meant  we were either entering or leaving Ashburn, Georgia and the world’s largest peanut was looming ahead.

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We’d laugh and laugh.  I mean, really.  Who cares that much about peanuts?  Well, I’ll tell you what.  I did.   Last week.  Roasted, salty, sweet, chocolate-y, creamy, dreamy, cold…  Bring it!  Perfect for Memorial Day weekend especially since this pie requires being made in advance and there’s no sweaty baking involved.  Slap this pie together and you’ll be a hero this weekend!

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This recipe calls for freezing the pie as opposed to chilling it.  Strange, but, although I initially chilled the pie for 24 hours, when my family tasted it they all, and I mean ALL, said, “It’s so good I just wish it was colder.  Can you freeze it?”.  Hell, yeah I can!  And I did.  That’s about all it needed.  The crust can be made with the cookie of your choice.  I like chocolate graham crackers but Oreo’s may be used and are just fine.  I feel Oreo’s make the pie way too sweet but that’s just me.  You could even use Nutter Butter cookies.  Whatever strikes your fancy.  It’s an incredibly rich pie so cut your slices smaller than usual.  To make serving easier, I cut the pie into quarters then cut the quarters into individual portions.  I use the largest chef’s knife I own to cut it after the pie has sat on the counter 10-15 minutes to slightly soften.  After buying the peanut butter cup candies at the store, chill them in the refrigerator before and after chopping so they don’t melt into the pie batter.  The PB mini-cups decorating the edge of the pie are optional.  They look good but were just too sweet for me.  I left them on the edge of my plate.  I had some leftover cookie crumbs and scattered them on top.  And I bought a single serving bag of salted, roasted peanuts, you know… the kind you’d drop in your ice cold bottle of coke if you lived in the South?  Tossed them all over that pie and it was a triumph to behold and perfect for a holiday weekend.  So happy Memorial Day to Daddy and all our veterans.  Have a piece of pie!