Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Perfection in a Cake

I offered to take a cake to my little brother's graduation party yesterday.  Knowing the boy has a love of peanut butter I thought a Chocolate Peanut Butter cake would be perfect for him.  While my torting precision was off just a tad, the combination of a few of my newly-favorite recipes were right on the mark!!!

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
2.In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
3.Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Out of utter laziness I copy and pasted that recipe.  I bless Shirlyo for her awesome submission of this recipe.  It is my most prized discovery, as of late.  The first two times I made this cake I did not use the full amount of cocoa powder.  The first time I only had just over 1/3 c. of cocoa powder, not quite 1/2 c., left in my container, but had already poured the other ingredients in the bowl, so I just went with it.  I also added an extra egg based on the reviews {already reflected in the recipe above-so only use three eggs ;0}  The cake turned out fabulously!!!  For David's cake I used the full amount and was surprised at how much more chocolaty it tasted, almost like a dark chocolate taste.  

So, here is my un-educated evaluation...if you are a milk chocolate fan, use 1/3-1/2 c. of cocoa, but if you like a dark chocolate, use the full amount, 3/4 c. or go wild and go for 1 full cup!  Sounds dangerous.

Hot Fudge- 
use as a filling or topping
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick {1/2 c.} butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Throw all ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until melted.  Do not allow to boil.  Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.  Feel free to use any variety of chocolate chips- mint, cherry, peanut butter, butterscotch, cinnamon, white chocolate.  The recipe works with them all!!!

Peanut Butter Filling
 {like a peanut butter cup, but better!!!}
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
2 c. peanut butter
A pinch of salt

Mix everything together and thin with milk until at the desired consistency.  I add the milk to get it a little more fluid than a peanut butter cup when using this recipe for cake filling.  You don't want it dry or it will dry out your cake.  I would probably start with 1/2c. milk.  I just pour straight from the carton, but using a measuring cup would probably be a good idea if you are not as random a person as I am ;0}

This is also my recipe for peanut butter bars, with only a couple tablespoons of milk instead of the 1/2 c.   You press it into a pan and cover with melted chocolate chips.  It is also the recipe I use for buckeye balls during the holidays.  I roll the peanut butter mixture into 1" balls and dip in melting chocolate.  Yumm!  

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. powdered sugar
milk, to reach desired consistency

Cream together butter, peanut butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until combined.  Add enough milk to reach an easy spreading consistency.

I got this recipe from Eat Cake For Dinner, from her Peanut Butter Cookie recipe.  I love the whole recipe, by the way, but have a couple adjustments for the cookie part.  I guess I might as well post that recipe with my adjustments too ;0}

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies {adapted}
{Not your normal PB cookies!}
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
1 (12 oz.) bag Reeses Peanut Butter chips (No substitutes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.  Cream together butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well.  Add the flour and peanut butter chips.  Mix just until flour and chips are blended together.  Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into 2-inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-13 minutes or until set.  Cool completely and frost with peanut butter frosting.    

For this particular cake, I used a big old sheet cake sized pan, something like 19x13" pan of the professional variety.  With that large of a pan, I doubled all of the recipes {we ended up with about 1/2 of the pb filling left over}.

The cake baked in about 45 min.  As we were working with a time restraint we didn't let the cake cool in the pan more than a minute or two, then dumped it out on a cooling rack for about 15 min.  Due to my usual disorganized state {I blame this house for not having any storage space anywhere near the kitchen} I could not locate the wise spot I decided to store my cake leveler and had to use a knife to cut the cake in half making a bottom and top layer.  We, meaning me and my fabulous 16 year old daughter Madison, slid the top half of the cake onto a flat cookie sheet, and then to a cooling rack, and let the two cake layers have another 5 minutes to cool.  We spread a layer of the fudge on top of the bottom layer, then dropped the pb filling on top of the fudge in clumps and smoothed it out, patting it down to evenly cover the whole cake layer.  The top layer of cake was slid back on top, and then the top was covered in fudge sauce.  We took care to not use too much fudge sauce that it rolled over the sides of the cake.  

The sides were frosted with the pb frosting, then chopped peanut butter cups were pressed into the frosting.  I added a top and bottom border of icing using the peanut butter frosting and a #21 star icing tip.  I piped writing on the top of the cake while we drove the hour up to the party.  

Isn't he handsome!!!  David won the rights to an amazing job with General Mills and will start that shortly now that he has completed his MBA.  We are all so proud of you Dave!!!  And I can't wait to get started helping with the wedding prep either.


  1. Oh yum! I remember the chocolate PB cake you made for Skyler's graduation 2 years ago. It was to die for! Thanks for the recipes!

  2. This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for the awesome recipe :)


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