PB&J Snack Cake
I’m jealous of the back-to-school kids.
Being a “grown-up” is overrated in so many ways, and I would very much be into a second round of, like, third grade. (I was tempted to say kindergarten because I like naps and sing-a-longs, but I like chapter books more.) I loved school. I was good at it. And every once in a while, I’ll have a bad day and think, “Screw this! I want to build a diorama and play Oregon Trail!!”
You know how it is.
I also really miss buying school supplies (I was the queen of subject dividers and jelly roll pens), picking out a “first day outfit” (i.e. agonizing over which color Juicy jumpsuit looked the most fetching), and the joys of after-school snacks. I can’t imagine I’m the only one that feels this way, especially when it comes to the snacks. After-school snacks were the best.
In my mind, after-school snacks fell into three categories:
1.) The sports snack. On practice days, this was usually a Nature Valley/Chewy bar or a leftover sandwich half from my Spiderman lunchbox (which I carried ironically through 9th grade). On game days, it was whatever the designated “snack mom” brought, which ranged from Oreos (YASSS!) to orange segments (why?).
2.) The car snack. Occasionally, my mom or babysitter would stop somewhere on the way home from school and let my siblings and me get something awesome. Eating frozen yogurt or a giant slice of warm bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. in the back seat while listening to N*Sync was the epitome of ‘tween happiness.
3.) The at home snack. This was a toss-up. Sometimes I lucked out with grilled cheese (before the doctor-imposed ban), but it was usually fresh fruit and maybe some peanut butter or string cheese. Every once in a blue moon there were baked goods involved, and needless to say, cake/brownie/cookie and milk was the most glorious after-school snack ever. Duh.
I’m not sure if you can relate to the above categories, but I will say that the PB&J Snack Cake you see on your screen qualifies as the most boss of “at home” after-school delights.
I wish I could tell you that this cake is a recipe from my childhood—that would have been such a good segue—but it’s not. Most of my childhood baked goods came from Costco, and they were awesome, but I would have killed for this snack cake back in the day. It’s super moist (SORRY) and peanut-buttery with addictive swirls of sweet strawberry jam that sort of melt into the cake. Plus, it’s bursting with hidden health benefits! Each slice packs a respectable amount of protein and fiber (let’s hear it for rolled oats and whole wheat flour), and there’s zero butter involved. Mashed bananas and heart-healthy coconut oil are 100% responsible for all the moistness (sorry again).
I’m sharing this cake now in the hope that you’ll feed it to your kids (some of you have those, right?), or eat it yourself as a sassy desk snack this back-to-school season. And if you’re not particularly into snacking, please note that it also makes a fabulous breakfast or dessert option. I just imagined serving it warm with a scoop of ice cream…You should definitely do that.
p.s. To any snack moms out there: I know peanuts and gluten are pretty much verboten in schools these days, but you could easily sub in almond butter and gluten-free flour to make it more allergy-friendly. (Look at me being all kid-friendly!)
PB&J Snack Cake (Serves 12)
2 ripe bananas
2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut oil in liquid form
½ cup honey
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking!)
½ cup whole-wheat flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup strawberry jam (or jam of your choice)
Preparing your PB&J Snack Cake:
-Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8”x8” baking pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. You want to make doubly sure this cake doesn’t stick.
-Place the bananas in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork until very smooth.
-Warm the peanut butter in the microwave for 20-25 seconds until soft and pourable, and add it to the bowl along with the coconut oil, honey, and eggs. Whisk until everything is well combined.
-In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder.
-Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
-Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the surface with a spatula. Drop small spoonfuls of jam on top.
-Using a butter knife, gently swirl the jam it into the batter. (Try not to over-swirl, peeps, or you’ll lose that sexy marbled effect.)
-Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is set and a tester (i.e. the tip of a sharp knife or a wooden skewer) comes out clean. Let your cake cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
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