Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

It’s back to school time in Boston. The little kids start up again on Wednesday here in Massachusetts. When I was young, I always got nervous before the first day of school. Maybe excited is a better word for it? Either way, I could never fall asleep the night before the first day of school. It was part anxiety about whether I’d wake up in time after enjoying sleeping in all summer and part excitement about seeing my friends every day again.

Peanut butter and jelly is such a classic nostalgic flavor combination. It can whisk anyone back to the 3rd grade lunch room. These bars do just that. They’re ooey gooey and delicious.

I originally thought I’d have enough of my homemade blueberry and strawberry jam to use in these bars. When I realized I was almost out, I let Hubby choose the jam flavor for these bars. He went with Bonne Maman Four Fruits Preserves. It’s got strawberry, raspberry, red currants, and cherries. It is a high quality jam that really did shine in these bars.

Hubby and I both agreed that we liked the middle pieces best. I usually and edge person and actually prefer corners the best. But with these bars, the peanut butter started to take over as you got closer to the edge of the pan. The center pieces had a great ratio of PB&J. If I were to make these again, I’d either add more jelly to the mix, or at least spread it further to the edge (I had read in the reviews of the recipe that if you have jelly exposed it would burn, so I was nervous about that).

What do you remember about going back to school when you were young?

One Year Ago: Fish Tacos
Three Years Ago: Spice Cupcakes

Print Save

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Yield: 24


2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

Recipe from Ina Garten

    Pin It

21 Responses to “Coconut Almond Cake with Blackberry Lime Curd”

  1. #
    Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — March 21, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I am really very terrible at frosting/decorating cake :\ This came out way better than anything I could make!

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

      Ha – I’m pretty bad too. That’s why I love putting stuff on the sides. Coconut does a good job of hiding my sloppy decorating skills.

  2. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — March 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Coconut and almond, you’ve already got me reeled in 🙂 two of my favorite flavors rolled into what looks like a moist, fluffy cake. YUM

  3. #
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board — March 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    This cake looks so beautiful and the texture is perfect! I love curd as a filling between cake layers but i never knew the trick for preventing it from seeping out – thanks!

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

      Yea, it’s definitely very helpful. Even more so when you ACTUALLY do it 😉

  4. #
    Megan — March 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    We’ve all had those cake experiences. It looks like it turned out well in the end! And it sounds delicious!

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one. I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking we all need to project that all of our baking/cooking endeavors are hugely successful…

  5. #
    Ashley — March 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Regardless of any kitchen mishaps, this cake looks divine! Layer cakes always look so special, and the addition of fruit here makes me swooooon!

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

      I agree. Layer cakes always look special 🙂

  6. #
    Michelle — March 22, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Oh this looks amazing. And aren’t we all our own worst critics when we bake? I can’t tell you how many times I say something is terrible and my husband looks as me like I’m crazy.

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

      I agree. At the end of the day, it tasted delicious and no one knew about all the issues I had with the cake. I did want to keep it real on the blog and not give anyone any false sense that things are always easy for me…

  7. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town — March 22, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I always shy away from layer cakes – yours always come out well, I need some more practice I think! Your “mistakes” are great learning points – did not know about the frosting damn, but it makes so much sense!

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

      That’s why I wanted to talk about them. I definitely could have posted about this cake without mentioning any of the issues I had. I’m hoping they’ll help someone (myself included) to learn something for the next time they tackle a layer cake. Yours will definitely improve with practice. Mine surely are. I really want to make that coconut cake you just posted!

  8. #
    Shannon — March 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    i’m always hard on myself too, but you wouldn’t know by the taste i’m sure! looks absolutely wonderful, not to mention i’m drooling over the flavor combo 🙂

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

      I agree, I think we all are. I wanted to keep it real with this post in case anyone else found it to be a difficult set of recipes…

  9. #
    Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen — March 23, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Yum, your cake looks so delicious and I really love the sound of the blackberry lime curd!

  10. #
    Laura Dembowski — April 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I love coconut cake, and blackberries are my favorite fruit. Such a great idea to put them together. This cake is gorgeous! I would happily take a large slice . . . or maybe the whole thing 😉

    • beantownbaker — April 27th, 2013 @ 10:02 am

      Then you would definitely love this cake!

  11. #
    Kristina Koranek — August 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Could anyone post the blackberry lime curd recipe? The link is no longer working.


Leave a Comment