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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Oh, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, how do I love thee?

Here is yet another way.I go through phases in my baking. I haven't been so into cookies lately; I'm taking a break. But a few weeks ago I went on a cake recipe hunt that resulted in a stack of about 8 or 10 that I can hardly make fast enough. Of course a cake really requires an occasion, preferably where there will be enough people to eat all or most of it in one sitting. I don't really need a lot of cake sitting around my kitchen.

Luckily, people have birthdays. My friend Alicia, for example. We had a little birthday lunch with some friends and guess what I volunteered to bring. Shocking, I know.Allergics aside, can anyone resist chocolate and peanut butter? They are meant to be together, especially when it's done well. Hello - peanut butter cake, cream cheese peanut butter filling like an inch thick, fudgy frosting, and lots of nuts and peanut butter cups on top. Totally for a special occasion. Or a Thursday.

I was a little worried about the cake. I've made peanut butter muffins from a few different recipes and they've always been dry or chewy or bland. Not so here - the cake has proper crumb and lovely flavor. The whole ensemble is a bit rich but whatever! It's FABULOUS.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk

Peanut butter filling:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Fudge Frosting:
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
About 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons milk

Reese's peanut butter cups, quartered
1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and peanut butter until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs to the butter mixture 1 at a time, scraping down the inside of the bowl as needed. Beat in flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.

2. Butter and flour 2 round 9-in. cake pans. I also line the pan bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Divide batter evenly between pans.

3. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

4. Cool cakes 5 minutes. Invert onto a rack, remove pans, and let cool to room temperature, at least 40 minutes.

5. Make frosting: Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Add butter and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and the milk; beat until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if frosting seems too thin.

6. Make filling: In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and milk until smooth and fluffy.

7. Assemble cake: Dollop 1 tbsp. peanut butter filling onto a cake stand (to hold cake in place). Place 1 cake layer on stand. Spread with remaining peanut butter filling. Top with second layer. Starting with the top, then working down the sides, frost cake with fudge frosting. Decorate the top edge with candy pieces and peanuts.

Recipe from Sunset magazine, May 2009


Kelsey Carreon said...

Jenny wants a chocolate peanut butter cake for her birthday when I am back in VA in Oct... how would you convert this to gluten free?

Disco Mom said...

Sorry, Kelsey, that's out of my league. Someday I will take a science of baking course and have all that stuff figured out so I can invent my own recipes. Currently I have minimal understanding of gluten and almost no understanding of non-gluten conversions. The best I can suggest is flourless chocolate cakes (I know these are good!) with peanut butter ice cream.

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