Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

As you all know, this past Thursday was Nate’s birthday….or as Nate likes to call it, the day he’s “on vacation.” By this he means that I’m not allowed to make him run any errands.

Nate’s currently home during the day while I’m at work, and as most of us working folk know, most stores that you need to run errands at are only open during the hours we’re at work. So annoying, right?! I’ve been having Nate run some errands for me and he’s been none too pleased.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

I did really want to give him “the day off” on his birthday, but my library books were about to expire so I asked him to do me a favor and return my books to the library across the street from our apartment. I don’t even want to tell you how much he complained….but then I reminded him about this wonderful cake that I’d be serving him that evening. I didn’t hear another word. At least for a day.

Nate is a man of simple tastes, so when it came time to figure out what to bake up for his bday, I only had to think of his few favorite combos: chocolate-mint, red velvet/carrot cake + cream cheese frosting, and of course, chocolate peanut-butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

It seems that Deb’s ( from Smitten Kitchen) husband is a choco peanut butter fan too, and so when I saw this recipe on her site, I knew I had to make it. I’ve had good luck with the recipes on her site because they’re well-tested, so I was pretty sure this one would be a winner.

I have to say that as I added the 1.5 cups of water the recipe calls for and stirred it up, I was slightly skeptical. The batter before the water was added had normal cake consistency but after it was incredibly watery. I checked the site and no one had said anything in the comments about a typo, so I forged ahead.

please ignore the giant glob of glaze puddled on that side…

35ish minutes later I had the most fluffy looking cake I’d ever seen. After cooling the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes, I following Deb’s advice and shoved them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, which seems to have been a good choice given how delicate these cakes were.

My only other comment is that the glaze seems kind of clumpy when you melt the chocolate, pb, etc in the pan, but after adding the half and half and vigorously mixing, it smooths out nicely….so fear not!

Anyway, I know this is a bold statement, but I think it may be the most delicious cake I’ve ever made or eaten. Ever. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

And I wasn’t the only one who thought that. Nate and I had 3 friends over to dinner and the only sounds coming from them after biting into the cake were ooohs and aaaahs…and a few “this is amazing”s.

I know it may look complicated, but following Deb’s tips regarding the cooling times, it was surprisingly easy. I made the cake and pb frosting and frosted it all within 3 hours or so after I got home from work. After sticking it in the fridge overnight, I made the chocolate glaze the next evening, poured it onto the cold cake, stuck it back in the fridge to firm up while we started eating dinner. I then took the cake out about 30 min to an hour before we were ready for it so it could soften up.

YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS. Seriously, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

From Smitten Kitchen via Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes

Print this recipe!

makes one 8 inch 3 layer cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans. **Note batter will be incredibly watery

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb’s note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. 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.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. **Note the consistency will be incredibly thick and slightly grainy but this is normal.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. **It will separate before it combines and smooths out. Use while still warm.

Rosemary Buttermilk Tea Cake

I hate wasting food.

Before I met Nate I would try to serve myself small portions of food, but with my eyes being bigger than my stomach, there would always still be too much for me on the plate. Since I hated wasting food, I would force myself to eat the last few mouthfuls rather than wasting it. (Don’t ask me how I developed this behavior since my mom never enforced the “clean plate” rule!)

Luckily Nate’s active lifestyle gives him an endless appetite. Now, rather than forcing myself to eat something, I just put it on his plate :) This solves the problem of having little bits of meal leftover, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of leftover ingredients.

Obviously if a recipe calls for buttermilk, or fresh rosemary, you will have copious amounts left. I had both ingredients sitting in my fridge (courtesy of some baked buttermilk rosemary chicken) for over a week because I refused to get rid of them.

I knew those two ingredients happened to be a perfect combo for something sweet and so I finally got myself to mix them together into a lovely cake.

This cake is light (in texture, not in calories), not overly sweet, and perfect for brunch with a cup of tea! The rosemary flavor is strong, but I love it that way. If you’re not as big a fan of rosemary, feel free to cut back.

I couldn’t stop myself from eating this. It’s so buttery, soft and flavorful.  I honestly don’t know what a tea cake is, but this is what I’d imagine :) The perfect thing to go with your Mother’s Day brunch!

And with your leftover buttermilk and rosemary, you can perhaps invent something even better!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!!!

Rosemary Buttermilk Tea Cake

This photo doesn’t have an accurate portrayal of the cake’s texture. I took pics of it straight from the fridge, but out of the oven or at room temp it is fluffy and light and wouldn’t show fork marks!

Rosemary Buttermilk Tea Cake

Print this recipe!

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (you can use less if you’re not a huge rosemary fan)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 or 10″ pan with cooking spray. (*Note, the 9 inch will be taller than mine. I should have used a 9″. A springform would be perfect but a regular cake pan is fine)

Cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon  juice, zest, and rosemary and continue beating until batter is smooth and combined.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl and add alternately with the buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture.

Beat until smooth, then pour batter into your greased pan, smoothing out the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake cake for 40 minutes until edges are golden and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool and serve room temperature or slightly warm.

You could make a glaze for this cake if you wanted by mixing some milk with powdered sugar, but I thought it was sweet enough as is, especially to be served with brunch.

*Note, if you must make this the day before and refrigerate, make sure it comes to room temp or warm it up before serving. It’s not the right texture when cold (although weirdo Nate likes it better cold and dry).

I’m the most indecisive person you’ve ever met. My family and Nate can certainly vouch for that.

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

I rarely buy things for myself, so when I do you can imagine how long I spend deciding exactly what item I want. I will literally stand in a department store with a blue shirt and a red shirt in each hand, looking back and forth for a good 30 minutes to figure out which one I really want.

I’m not exaggerating.

At restaurants I will agonize over what to order because everything sounds so good and I know I can only get one thing. I usually make the waiter go to everyone else and take my order last just so I have that extra 1 minute to finalize my choice.

It’s like making decisions paralyzes me.

How do you choose what to have??! Well with this recipe you don’t have to. There’s a super dense chocolate layer for the chocoholic in all of us, and then there’s the tangy cheesecake marbeled throughout for those of us cheesecake lovers!

This is not for the faint of heart. If you like serious chocolate desserts than this is for you. Nate could barely finish his slice…although it could be because it was a large slice and we had just had a giant mac and cheese dinner. Man, I wish I had his metabolism…

Marbled Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

slightly adapted from Baker Street

Print this recipe!

makes one 9″ round cake

For the vanilla batter:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate batter:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. dark rum or espresso
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp flour
Pinch table salt
Cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan and /or line the bottom with parchment.

Make the vanilla batter:
In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.

Add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until blended. Set aside.

Make the chocolate batter:
In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in a large metal bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave.

Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool slightly. With a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, rum or espresso, vanilla, and salt on medium high until the mixture is pale and thick, 3 to 4 min.

With the mixer on low, gradually pour in the chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended. Beat in the flour.

Spread about half of the chocolate batter in the bottom of the pan. Alternately add large scoopfuls of each of the remaining batters to the cake pan.

Using a knife or the tip of a rubber spatula or a toothpick gently swirl the two batters together so they’re mixed but not completely blended.

Tap the pan against the countertop several times to settle the batters.

Bake until a pick inserted about 2 inches from the edge comes out gooey but not liquid, 40 to 42 min.; don’t over bake.

The top will be puffed and slightly cracked, especially around the edges. It will sink down as it cools. Let cool on a rack until just slightly warm, about 1-1/2 hours. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight, or freeze.

Remove cake from fridge one hour before serving. Loosen the cake from the pan by holding the pan almost perpendicular to the counter; tap the pan on the counter while rotating it clockwise. Invert onto a large flat plate or board. Remove the pan and carefully peel off the parchment. Sift some cocoa powder over the cake (this will make it easier to remove the slices when serving).

Let sit until cake warms to room temperature before serving. (or eat it cold if you like that!)

Invert again onto a similar plate so that the top side is up.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. My grandpa passed away last week and I’ve been spending time down in Florida with my family. As sad as it is that he wasn’t there with us, it was really nice to see everyone all in one place. It doesn’t happen often that we’re all together.

My grandpa had been wanting our whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins) to get together for his and my grandma’s 60th anniversary and earlier last year we had been planning to take a trip somewhere together. After he got sick he knew that trip would never happen and really was just hoping he could at least make it to my wedding in October. It’s sad that we were all finally able to be together and my grandpa couldn’t join us. And my wedding will definitely feel like there’s something missing.

This month’s bloghop ingredient is berries. I really wanted to bake up something that my grandpa would have loved.

His and my birthday were only 2 days apart so either my mom or I would bake a cake every year and the two of use would celebrate together, blowing out the candles on our cake.

birthday with grandpa

Birthday with Grandpa- 8 yrs old

I contemplated baking a carrot cake because I remember how much he loved when we made a carrot layer cake for his birthday, complete with cream cheese frosting. I also remember a time we made a white cake with lemon curd filling and blueberries- the only berry he would eat because he hated seeds getting in his teeth.

I kind of combined the two and made a raspberry cake (I think he wouldn’t have minded the seeds are baked in but you could easily strain them out), with lemon curd filling and a cream cheese frosting. There were no good blueberries so I used blackberries in this filling.

I think my grandpa would have loved this cake. I miss him already.

I’m posting this as part of the #berryove April bloghop. I’m co-hosting with the following:
A little bit of everythingBaker StreetBaking and Cooking, A Tale of Two LovesBigFatBakerBon à croquerCake DuchessEasily Good EatsGeorgie Cakes, Hobby And MoreJava CupcakeMis PensamientosNo One Likes Crumbley CookiesOh CakeQueen’s NotebookRico sin AzúcarSimply ReemSoni’s Food for ThoughtTeaspoon of SpiceThat Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!The Art of Cooking Real FoodThe Wimpy VegetarianVegan Yack AttackVegetarian Mamma

Please join in on the #berrylove fun by linking up any berry recipe from the month of April 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #berrylove event! The twitter hashtag is #berrylove :). See below recipe for linkup!

Raspberry Cake with Lemon Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake adapted from DixieMockingbird, frosting from my Valentine’s Day Cake

Print this recipe!

Makes one 9 inch 3-layer cake

Cake Ingredients:
parchement paper:
butter and flour – for the cake pans

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup raspberry puree* (I used about 1.5 12 oz bags of frozen berries, thawed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, beaten

2 pints fresh raspberries (i used blackberries because raspberries were ridiculously expensive)
8 oz lemon curd ( I bought some but you could easily make it)

*For raspberry puree – simple run two to three cups of raspberries through the blender or food processor until very smooth. You can strain the puree to remove seeds if you wish, but I didn’t

Frosting Ingredients:
8 oz. of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz. butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups confectioners sugar
8 oz. containter of non-dairy whipped topping (I used Cool Whip Free)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and flour three 8 inch cake pans, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, raspberry puree, vanilla, and eggs.

Gently whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Evenly divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or so. The tops of the cakes should be springy to the touch, and a cake tester (aka wooden toothpick or skewer) inserted into the center of each cake should come out clean.

Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto wire cooling racks to cool completley. You can frost them once they reach room temperature, but it is better to chill the cakes for at least an hour before assembling and frosting.

While cake is cooling, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and lemon zest with an electric mixer. Beat in confectioners sugar. Fold in cool whip.

Place one cake layer on a plate. Spread half of lemon curd on cake. Place enough raspberries to cover.

Place next cake layer on top and press down, smushing raspberries. Spread rest of lemon curd on cake and place raspberries on top.

Place top cake layer on top and press down again. Dump frosting on top of cake and spread evenly over sides. You may not need all the frosting. Refrigerate cake before cutting to firm up the frosting.

 

The weekend that Nate and I went up to beautiful Mohonk Mountain to rock scramble, we also attempted to pick some apples.

Unfortunately neither of us realized that apple season is September til early October and that the apples are pretty much gone by late October (at least in NY). Although it wasn’t quite as fun, they had barrels of apples for purchase. Since I already had my heart set on making some tasty apple treats, we grabbed a huge bag that probably had 2-3 dozen apples.

We also grabbed some hot cider and cider donuts while we were there, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Anyway, I’m not exactly sure what I thought I’d be making with all those apples, but this recipe is one that I made last year and it was so good I knew I wanted to make it again.

The cake is super moist and not too sweet. It could seriously be one of my favorite desserts. So if you still have some apples left from your apple picking, or you just want to make this since it’s so good, head on over to Smitten Kitchen’s website where I got the recipe.