Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Cake

First, a HUGE thank you for everyone that came and read the story of our angel and/or lit candles on Monday.  Having nearly 700 people be touched by our story was beyond my expectations.  Your kind notes and photos validated to me that "coming out" was worth it and I read so many inspirational stories.  Thank you again for your love and support.

Back to recipe sharing.  I am SO shamefully behind on blogging again.  This has been sitting in "draft" mode for TWO MONTHS and I only know this because that's when my husband's birthday was and that was the occasion for this cake as you'll see below.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Cake
Photo Credit: Emily H.
My husband is a peanut butter addict and every single year for his birthday, I give him several cake options to choose from.  Why I bother to include non-peanut butter options I'm never sure because inevitably, the more peanut butter in the recipe, the more likely he is to choose it!

Let's recap previous years, shall we?
  • Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter Fudge Cheesecake.  I thought this was decadent back then but in retrospect, this was quite tame!
  • One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cheesecake.  This was basically a homemade version of his favorite Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.  It was absurd with its NINE layers of chocolate cake, cheesecake, peanut butter, caramel, ganache.  You name a rich and sinful ingredient and it was packed into this single cake.  Simply looking at it made you gain weight.
This year?  Originally after tasting last year's cake he told me that was the end-all-be-all-mother-of-all-cakes that he wanted to have each year for the rest of his life.  It was indeed a contender in this year's cake selections.  But then I think he felt bad at how labor intensive and caloric it was.  And so came this year's simplified version.  Peanut butter?  Check.  Peanut Butter Cups?  With modifications, check.  Chocolate?  Check.  Cheesecake layers (which I didn't realize was a criteria until recapping just now)?  Check.

What's laughable about this recipe was that as originally written, it "didn't have enough peanut butter".  So, I threw some peanut butter cups into the cheesecake layer and then spread straight peanut butter between the cheesecake and cake layers.  Suddenly, we were in business.

This cake had many of the same flavors as last year's cake but with much less effort.  It had peanut butter frosting instead of chocolate, which I think might have made it better for in my husband's eyes.  (Remember what I said about more peanut butter = better, right?)  It got the approval of all of our friends and the wait staff who couldn't believe it was homemade.  Win!

Here's the very happy Birthday Boy! Photo Credit: Emily H.
One Year Ago: Pan-Fried Okra
Three Years Ago: Chicken Pot Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Cake
Photo Credit: Emily H.

For the Cheesecake

  • 1 1/4 pounds (20 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
For the Cake:
  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good-quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
For the Frosting:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural), divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

For the Cheesecake:
(Can be made in advance)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Set a kettle of water to boil.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla extract and salt.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Beat in sour cream.  Gently fold in chopped peanut butter cups.
  3. Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of a springform pan.  Wrap the bottom half of the pan in foil.  Pour in the cheesecake filling.  Place springform pan in a roasting pan.  Pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform.
  4. Bake until just set in the center, about 45 minutes.  Remove pan from water and allow to cool for 20 minutes.  Run a paring knife around the edge and let cool completely.  Cover and chill overnight.  Then, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.
For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans.  Line with parchment paper then butter and flour the pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low until combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine.  Scrap the bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 30 minutes then turn them out on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
For the Frosting:
  1. Beat cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups peanut butter with a mixer on medium speed.    Reserve the remaining 3/4 cups peanut butter for assembly.  
  2. Add salt and then vanilla.  Alternating, add powdered sugar and heavy cream.  Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed.
To Assemble:
  1. Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cardboard cake round.  
  2. Heat the remaining 3/4 cups of peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until it gets melted and easy to spread.  Take 1/2 of the remaining peanut butter and spread it over the cake layer.
  3. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, unwrap, and remove the metal bottom of the pan then peel off the parchment paper.  Place the cheesecake layer on top of the cake layer.  If necessary, wait approximately 10 minutes for the cheesecake to soften and trim it with a knife to ensure it is the same width as the cake layer.  Spread remaining peanut butter over the cheesecake layer.
  4. Place the top layer of the cake on top of the cheesecake.  Spread a thin layer of peanut butter frosting over the entire cake to form a crumb coat.  Be careful not to get any crumbs into your frosting bowl! 
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then frost with remaining frosting.  Top with shaved chocolate, chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, or other decoration of your choosing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Slightly modified from Erin's Food Files as originally the Cheesecake adapted from Martha Stewart, Cake from Ina Garten "Beatty's Chocolate Cake" and Frosting from Martha Stewart

1 comment:

Books n' Cooks said...

This looks fabulous! I think it might become my hubby's birthday cake next month. Yum!