Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Peanut Butter + Chocolate = OH MY GOD

So I baked this cake for my friend Beth's 23rd birthday. We had joked for quite some time that I would make here a 20 layer cake (each one a different flavor) and maybe even throw a few cupcakes and cookies on top just for fun. As a result, I obviously had NO idea what direction to take in terms of recipes. Finally, I landed on this one.

I was fully prepared in terms of prep time. I had prepared the ganache the day before and woke up early enough the day of to begin the baking process. I buttered and floured my three pans and was ready to go. Yet when I opened the oven door, which I had assumed had been preheating, I encountered a crisis: my oven wasn't working.

The irony of my oven not working at this very moment was almost comical, yet naturally with three cake pans full of raw batter I was far from laughing. Luckily for me, I know my across-the-hall neighbor quite well and she was generous enough to lend me her oven for 30 minutes. What could have been disaster was thus only a slight inconvenience.

It was a bit time-consuming, but (as always) WELL worth it!!! So basically this cake is the following: peanut butter, chocolate, and cream cheese. What more could you ask for?? The chocolate filling is essentially a chocolate ganache + peanut butter (hence the long chilling time) and the cake is 3 layers of soft, peanut buttery goodness. The frosting...well, cream cheese frosting is NEVER a letdown so naturally it was quite a hit.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. Rather than use Butterfingers and peanuts, I merely drizzled Hershey's chocolate syrup on the top. The cake was SO rich regardless of the topping, and also used regular creamy peanut butter rather than chunky. The recipe calls for 3 9-inch cake pans. I unfortunately only own two, so the third an I used was an 8-inch square pan. I then place the square layer on top of the two round ones and cut off the edges. Worked perfectly!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake with Cream Cheese and Butterfinger Frosting
Serves 12



  • 2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned (natural) chunky peanut butter (I used the regular creamy variety)


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned (natural) chunky peanut butter (I used the regular creamy variety)
  • 1 pound golden brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • 1 1/2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • Butterfinger candy bars, coarsely chopped (omitted)
  • Glazed peanuts (omitted)

For filling:
Bring cream and sugar to simmer in saucepan, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; let stand 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in peanut butter. Chill uncovered overnight.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl until blended. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. At low speed, beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions.

Divide batter among pans and spread evenly. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes 5 minutes. Turn out onto racks; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Whisk whipping cream and 3/4 cup powdered sugar in bowl until mixture holds medium-firm peaks. Fold into cream cheese mixture in 3 additions; chill until firm but spreadable, about 1 hour.

Place 1 cake layer, bottom side up, on 9-inch tart pan bottom. Spread with half of filling. Place another layer, bottom side up, on work surface. Spread with remaining filling; place atop first layer. Top with remaining cake layer, bottom side up.

Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before continuing.) Press candy and peanuts onto top of cake.

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