Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

chocolate peanut butter cake by twocarolines.com

As our readers know, the love Caroline’s have for desserts of the peanut butter chocolate variety is SERIOUS!  We have brought you some pretty amazing C&PB combo’s like the amazing double chocolate peanut butter pie, 1.0’s famous peanut butter banana chocolate chip cake, or our much loved peanut butter buckeye brownies plus many more.  Now I bring you one of my favorite cakes of all time – this chocolate peanut butter cake is all the things you want your C&PB desserts to be! Rich chocolatey flavor, and creamy delicious peanut butter frosting plus a luxey ganache filling that sets it all off perfectly.  I make this cake all the time, but it usually get’s eaten so fast I can never get a picture! This was a commissioner my friend Melissa- it’s hard when you make your favorite cake but can’t eat it! But they LOVED it and so will you!  -CK 2.0

Cake: (this is my go-to chocolate cake recipe – but use your favorite, this one always turns out ultra moist and delicious but any standard chocolate cake recipe would work)

  • 1 box pillsbury devils food cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz box jello instant chocolate pudding (not the fat/sugar free)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten (room temp works best)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Ganache Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Frosting:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand like Jiff or Skippy
  1. For the cake.  Preheat oven to 350 and line two 9″ cake pans with parchment and either butter or spray them then set aside.
  2. Lightly mix together the cake mix and pudding mix then in a separate bowl mix your eggs water, oil (or butter) and vanilla well, until all the eggs are incorporated.  Add the wet mixture into the cake mix making sure to mix it thoroughly for a few minutes, and then add the sour cream blending until no white streaks remain.  Last add the chocolate chips and just fold them in with a spatula so they are evenly distributed.  The batter is quite thick, but it bakes up really nice so don’t be nervous about the texture.
  3. Pour evenly into your cake pans and level out with a spatula.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes checking for doneness with a toothpick.  The top of the cakes spring back when done and the cake just barely starts to pull from the sides of the pan.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely while you make your frosting and ganache.
  4. Next I make the ganache and then the frosting because you need to pipe frosting around the bottom of your layer cake in order to hold the ganache in the middle while it cools.  The ganache can start to cool down and thicken while you make the frosting.
  5. For the ganache: Put the chocolate and heavy cream in a heatproof bowl – I use 4 cup pyrex for this.  Heat slowly in the microwave either on defrost or in 20 second intervals at full power until the chocolate starts to loose it’s shape and you can whisk it smooth.  You can also heat the chocolate and cream in a double boiler, but I find the microwave method much easier.
  6. For the frosting: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
  7. Once the cakes have cooled, level the tops with a long serrated knife, unless you don’t care about having a neat looking cake, but this makes frosting easier and it gives you a little snack while you work.  Put the first layer on a plate or cake board and pipe with either a piping bag or just a bag made from parchment a dam of frosting around the diameter of the bottom layer that will hold in your ganache when you pour it in.  You may have some extra ganache – I used it last time to put on the top of my cake which you can do, or just save it for something else.  Now take your ganache and pour it into the middle of that bottom layer spreading out but taking care not to let it go over the edge or over the edge of your frosting layer – this is why you made a frosting dam, to hold in your ganache and keep your second layer of cake from squishing it.
  8. Let that cool for 10 minutes or so then put the second cake layer on – neat side up and plop a large amount of frosting on top.  Using an offset spatula spread the peanut butter frosting taking care to only touch your spatula to the frosting, and not to the cake so you don’t drag crumbs.  Work your frosting around the top, pushing it slowly from the middle, and then around the sides scraping the extra into a paper towel so you don’t drag crumbs.  A spinning cake pedestal helps, but you can do this by just turning a plate.  Once you have a uniform and neat cake you can decorate with extra ganache, chocolate curls, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or whatever you would like.
  9. Keep plastic where you’ve cut your cake so it doesn’t dry out, but you’re not likely to have any extra!

 

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

IMG_2344

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake by twocarolines.com

Today is Caroline King v1.0’s birthday – and as I often do, I baked her a cake that I know she would love, even though there are a thousand or so miles between us 😦 If you’re thinking we should ease up on the peanut butter chocolate desserts, you should make one and get back to me.  This cheesecake is PBC perfection!  The crust is so unique – it has loads of chopped chocolate in it, in addition to the chocolate wafers, and then you have the layers of chocolate and peanut butter plus that mouth watering sour of the cheesecake, mind BLOWN!  Even if you just eat a sliver you’ll feel like it’s a LOT because this one is rich deluxe.  HBD 1.0, I love you more than all the peanut butter chocolate desserts the world has to offer (and that’s quite a few!) -CK 2.0

 

Chocolate Crust
9 ounces chocolate wafers – you can use the outsides of oreos if you can’t find the famous kind which I use most often because they are easier to find)
6 ounces bitter- or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1 cup chips
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still hot

Fudge Layer
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
13 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons  smooth peanut butter (optional)

Cheesecake Layer
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ganache Topping
1/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

  1. To make the Chocolate Crust – If planning to use a water bath, double-wrap outside of a 9-inch springform with 3-inch high sides with aluminum foil (heavy-duty if you have it). If you aren’t doing a water bath, still wrap at least once as there is not in existence a springform pan that does not leak that I know of.  In a food processor, blend cookies, chopped chocolate and brown sugar together until finely ground. Drizzle in melted butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down the bowl if needed. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan. Wrap fingers with plastic wrap and press crumb mixture up sides to within 1/2 inch of top, then evenly over bottom of pan. It helps to use the bottom of a cup to even out the bottom layer of your crust.  Chill crust until next step.  IMG_2343
  2. Make fudge layer: Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter, if using, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into bottom of chilled crust and spread in an even layer. Freeze until fudge layer is firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Make cheesecake layer: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar in large bowl until well-blended and fluffy. Beat in sour cream, then eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour over fudge layer that has set in the freezer.
  4. To bake in a water bath: Place foil-wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill roasting pan with enough hot water to come 1-inch up the sides of the springform and carefully transfer to middle oven rack.
  5. To bake without a water bath: Place springform on middle baking rack.
  6. Both methods, to bake: Bake cake until slightly firm to the touch and the top appears dry, about 75 to 90 minutes. Cheesecake done times can be very tricky – Deb from Smitten Kitchen recommends this visual guide: The center two inches should only move slightly when pan is gently shaken. Transfer cheesecake to rack in the fridge until fully cool, at least three hours.
  7. Make ganache topping: Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Off the heat, whisk in chocolate. Pour on top of chilled cheesecake and spread to the edges. Return cheesecake to the fridge until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes.
  8. To serve: Remove foil from outside cheesecake pan if you have not already. Gently cut around between edge of cheesecake crust and springform pan to make sure it isn’t sticking. Unhinge the sides. You can serve it on the springform base, or, if you’re feeling confident, slide a knife gently under the bottom crust to loosen it from the springform base and slide the cake onto a serving plate. Serve in very small wedges.  Cake keeps for a week in the freezer and longer in the freezer.

 

Recipe (with hardly any changes because she’s a genius) from Smitten Kitchen, Feb 2014