When I was in elementary school, I remember sometimes getting breakfasts on campus instead of eating something at home. Back then, it was only $0.35 for a filling breakfast with milk. My favorite breakfast of all would be a coffee cake that they served with a peanut butter streusel topping. It was a little bit dry, but thick in texture, and it made guzzling down that little carton of milk so refreshing.
Throughout the years, I’ve gone through many recipes online that seemed similar, but they all missed the mark. So I took the task on to try to replicate the recipe myself. Most of the time, it’s been a miss. They were still delicious coffee cakes, just not what I remembered from my childhood. But I think I finally got a recipe that is the closest I’ll ever get to it.
You start by making the streusel, which has a little bit of butter, brown sugar, flour, and peanut butter. I like to use extra crunchy peanut butter in my baking, but you can use any peanut butter you want. If you’re allergic to peanut butter, you can see my substitution note at the bottom of this post.**
Next, you make the batter and pour it into a greased 8×8 baking dish. This is very similar to my Fruit Preserves Cake batter, but I adjusted it slightly to get the texture that I was looking for. It ends up being thick and you have to work to spread it evenly in the pan, but it’s easy to mix together.
Then you put the streusel topping on the batter and press it in slightly. At this point, it looks like there’s way too much topping, but I assure you that it’s the right amount. The cake rises quite a bit! After baking it in the oven for nearly an hour, it’s done!
Peanut Butter Streusel Coffee Cake
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup canola (or vegetable) oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ cup milk, whole or 2%
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
For the streusel: In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter until well combined. Mix in the brown sugar until well combined. Using a fork, mix in the flour until the mixture clumps together and there’s no white, dry areas of flour left in the bowl.
For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil until it looks like wet sand. Add in the egg, vanilla, salt, and baking power, mixing until well combined. Whisk in the milk until the sugar is dissolved and the milk has thickened slightly. Add the flour and whisk together until just combined.
Pour the cake batter into a greased 8×8 baking dish, spreading it evening to cover the bottom of the pan. Crumble and spread the streusel evenly over the cake batter, pressing down lightly to ensure that some of it gets into the cake.
Bake for 50 minutes – a tooth pick inserted should be clean when removed.
Let cool in baking dish for 15 minutes before serving.
** Allergy Substitution Note: If you’re allergic to peanut butter, it can be substituted with almond butter for the streusel. Since almond butter isn’t as thick as peanut butter, add an additional 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour to get the right consistency.