peanut butter cake

I’ve veganized a lot of Molly Yeh’s cakes over the years, and this is hands down my favorite. It’s the peanut butter cake from her cookbook Molly on the Range, and if you like peanut butter you need to make this as soon as possible.

Molly Yeh’s peanut butter cake

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This cake is best made with smooth, creamy peanut butter – the kind that never needs stirring. Not the kind that comes out of a machine while you hold your repurposed glass jar underneath to catch it, not the kind you make in your high-powered blender or food processor, and definitely not the kind that calls itself smooth-no-stir peanut butter but inevitably ends up with a layer of oil floating on top. No, no, no. You will only end up with a sad cake and what a waste that would be!

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1 cup plain, unsweetened plant milk (oat and almond work best)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup creamy, unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 400 F and set rack in the top third of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round or 8-inch square pan with parchment, and lightly oil the sides.

In a large bowl, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. (Or, sift these directly into the large bowl after the next step.)

In the large bowl, add to the milk mixture the peanut butter, sugars, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk gently (so as not to splash!) until emulsified. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and whisk to combine. Don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand – there aren’t any eggs in this cake for structure, so you want some gluten formation. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is nicely browned. (Or, if you aren’t into toothpick testing: until the edges are starting to pull away from the pan and the center of the cake is nicely domed.) For a deeper caramel-peanut flavor, let this go until 40 minutes, just before you think it’s going to burn. Cool for five minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a rack or cake plate. Cool completely before serving. Tastes fantastic out of the fridge.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes