How a Mistake Became Peanut Butter Jelly Cake [Recipe]

I like to experiment in the kitchen, especially with kitchen gadget and appliances. I wanted to try to make donuts in our air fryer, after seeing a video for PB&J donuts online. Sadly, things didn’t go too well with my donut dough, but I didn’t want to waste it. So, this is how my donut mistake became a Peanut Butter Jelly Cake!


I found a recipe online for Peanut Butter & Jelly filled donuts. They looked so good and so simple to make! They weren’t cake donuts, but not raised donuts either. How exciting was this recipe? Quick, easy, no yeast and no waiting!

Then I thought “what about the air fryer?” I’ve seen others make air fried donuts, but hadn’t tried them myself. With all the all the oil, who needed to deep fry these donuts?!?!

I didn’t have vegan butter. I decided to use coconut oil. That was the only thing I adjusted in the recipe. It was time to make the donuts!

pbj cake whole

I followed the directions exactly, but noticed that the donut dough wasn’t coming together as smooth as it should have. So, I took a small amount, kneaded it on a floured surface, flatted it and filled it with peanut butter and jelly; exactly as shown.

Next came the air fryer. I figured by setting it to 400° F degrees for about 10 minutes, things would be good. So, 10 minutes later, what I was left with burnt dough on top of what looked like a peanut butter and jelly explosion.

Well, I wasn’t going to waste the remainder of the dough. I thought “What about monkey bread?” The dough wasn’t firm enough for that. So, I kneaded the dough on a flour surface for about 2-3 minutes and figured, “why not make dough balls into a cake?” Voila! This is how the Peanut Butter Jelly Cake was born!

pbj cake cut

Dividing the mostly firm dough into 8 balls, I took 7 of the balls and placed them around the inside of a round 9-inch baking pan. I took the remaining ball, and made it a filled donut for the center of my cake. I did it in the same way as I did for the air fryer. That dough ball fit right in the center of the pan.

Baked at 350° F degrees for 45 minutes, I was rather excited and nervous to see how it would turn out. I used a toothpick to check the cake to make sure it was thoroughly cooked. Knowing that I had peanut butter and jelly in the middle, I checked about 2/3 of the way into the cake to be sure.

I topped the warm Peanut Butter Jelly Cake with swirls of warm strawberry jelly and crunchy peanut butter, I couldn’t wait to let the cake cool entirely. When I cut into it, the cake was like a cross between a pound cake and a crumb cake without the crumb. WOW! It came out incredibly good! So good in fact that if I tell you how much Carlo left for me, you’d say that I was lucky to even get a slice!

pbj cake slice

This cake is truly one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made in the kitchen! I hope you give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Peanut Butter Jelly Cake
Serves 4
How an attempt at air fried donuts became a cake!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 1 c. solid refined expeller coconut oil
  2. 1 c. non-dairy milk (we used almond)
  3. 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  4. 4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  5. 2 c. sugar
  6. 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  7. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  8. 1/2 c. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  9. 1/2 c. your favorite jelly, jam or preserve
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F degrees and lightly grease or spray a 9-inch round baking pan
  2. In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil with the almond milk. When completely melted, remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and sea salt
  4. Create a well in the combined dry ingredients, and pour in the wet mixture
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry into the wet until a mostly firm dough ball forms (It may be warm)
  6. Dust a clean surface (ex. a wooden or marble board) with a little flour. Knead the dough for about 2-3 minutes, to allow the dough to firm a bit more, but still has a bit of softness to it
  7. Divide the dough into 8 balls, place 7 of the balls around the inside rim of the baking pan
  8. Using the 8th ball, stretch and flatten to about 4 inches in diameter. Take 2 tsp of your favorite jelly and place it in the center of the dough. Take 2 tsp of your favorite peanut butter and place it on top of the jelly
  9. Pinch ends of the that dough to create a ball, twist the top to seal and place with the twist up into the center of the cake pan
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Test readiness with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean
  11. In the microwave, heat the remaining jelly and peanut butter separately for 30 seconds to 1 minute to loosen them. Do this within about 5 minutes to go on bake time
  12. When the cake is ready, and using a pastry brush, brush the jelly on the top of the cake. Then, spread the peanut butter in a swirl/marble motion
  13. Allow the cake to cool before cutting and eating!
  1. If your coconut oil is liquid, place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to allow it to harden
  2. If you want extra crunch, add some chopped peanuts on top of the warm jelly and peanut butter swirl
The Food Duo
Are you a smooth or chunky peanut butter eater? What is your favorite jelly, jam or preserve flavor?