Dr. JJ Levenstein, MD, FAAP, Chair of the National Peanut Board’s Food Allergy Education Advisory Council is a pediatrician, mom, media personality, and trained chef and baker.
I always love a challenge, especially when it comes to baking. So, when the National Peanut Board sent me some green peanut oil and bags of fragrant peanut flour and asked me to develop a recipe, I was in like Flynn!
My inspiration for this cake came from Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perleman. I have made her Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake on several occasions - always to rave reviews. I wanted to take these peanut products and create a riff on the olive oil cake. Once I tasted the green peanut oil, I knew it could be done - it’s buttery and flavorful and a perfect oil to keep a cake moist. By utilizing peanut flour, I could create a healthier cake with higher protein content, and I wanted to complement the natural nutty flavor with its classic partner - so grapes were a perfect solution.
My first round of baking with all peanut flour and raw grapes was a soupy disaster. To fix that, round 2 involved roasting the grapes to dehydrate them a bit and intensify their flavor, and using half peanut flour and half all purpose. This iteration was better, but the cake was still pudding-like.
Third time was a charm - 2/3 all purpose flour, 1/3 peanut flour, roasted grapes with their juices, and all the fat in the cake continued to come from the green peanut oil. I had some skinned Spanish peanuts lying around, and ground those to use for a decorative topping and the perfect cake was born.
The green peanut oil lends a slight earthy and vegetal note, but as you continue with subsequent bites the sweetness of the grapes, the nutty quality of the cake, and the crunch of the topping will excite your taste buds and make you want more!
I appreciate the opportunity to create this cake honoring our favorite nut! I look forward to more in the future. Bon Appetit!
Get the recipe for Dr. JJ Levenstein's roasted grape and peanut cake here.