Cheat Day [cheet dey] – noun: The one day of the week where diet minded fitness freaks throw caution to the wind and indulge only on the most tantalizing, ridiculously calorie dense foods known to man. Often associated with the term, “carb hangover,” which occurs the morning after a particularly fruitful cheat day. Synonyms: Free Day, Fun Day, Fat Day

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cake

So Reese's Peanut Butter trees are the reason I gain weight over the holidays.  It's pretty much an unwritten rule in my family that for the secret Santa style stocking exchange, you give your designated recipient a ridiculous amount of Peanut Butter trees.   That way, you avoid the shame of leaving Wal-Mart with a stack of seven 6-packs of trees, excusing the gluttony by telling yourself "they are gifts!"  And when you receive your very own pile-o-trees in your stocking... Well, it'd just be rude not to devour them.

Confession: I bought some extra trees for myself before Christmas.  I had a reward system: wrap a gift, unwrap a tree.  I have two sisters, one brother in law, parents, parents in law, four cousins, four grandparents, and four aunts and uncles.  They all got gifts, or multiples.  And what did I get?  A tummy ache.

So when I stumbled upon a recipe for chocolate cake, peanut butter frosting, and peanut butter dark chocolate ganache, I knew I had to make it.  All that was left was to wait for the appropriate occasion.  Well happy Birthday, grandma, it's cake time!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cake
This cake has three elements- all of which I changed from the original recipe that I found.  And the end result was freaking spectacular.

You start with two, moist, delicious 8 inch round chocolate cakes (I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe) choc' full of peanut butter and semi sweet chocolate chips.

Next, layer with delicious, creamy peanut butter cream cheese frosting, and you'll end up with something like this.

Frost the entire cake, and leave about 3/4 cup of the frosting to decorate.

The great thing about this frosting is that, despite containing cream cheese and peanut butter, it's not all that tacky.  Once you frost your entire cake and get it as smooth as you can, let it set up in the fridge for a few hours.  When you are ready to top with your ganache, you can pull it out and treat it like you would a butter cream.  Grab a moistened paper towel and smooth down any imperfections.

Once that's taken care of, get your cream on the stove so you can make your peanut butter chocolate ganache!

Pour your chips into a bowl and once the cream is just about to boil, pour it into the bowl.  Whisk (or use your mixer to whisk it) until combined.  If you are using a mixer, keep it on a low speed in order to avoid bubbles from forming.

Wait a few minutes for it to thicken up and slowly drizzle over the top of the cake letting some of the ganache drop down the sides.  Let it set up in the fridge before decorating.

Do you think Grandma would be mad if it had a slice taken out of it?

Now it's time to tap into your inner cake artist (cause that's a thing, right?) and make it look all pretty.  I went with the peanut butter frosting dollops with Reese's cups smashed into them. 

I'm sure you can come up with other significantly more creative ideas.

I'm less about the creativity, more about the eating. 

Lastly, take a picture of the final product, artistically avoiding showing your pathetic attempt at "Happy Birthday" written in the middle.  Who am I kidding?  Written slightly to the right of the middle of the cake.  It would be less pathetic and embarrassing had it been poorly written but centered.  Couldn't even manage that. 

Ok- so final verdict: SO FREAKING GOOD.  I was a little worried that a simple cake would pale in comparison to some of my recent endeavors (See: putting an entire cheesecake in the middle of the cake) but it didn't.  This recipe reminded me that simple ol' cake and frosting go together like peanut butter and jelly.  No no!  Like peanut butter and cake!

And it's recipe time!

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips
Recipe adapted from:

1 package dark chocolate cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) container of sour cream (full fat)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup peanut  butter chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix everything but the chips until combined.  Add in the chips and pour into two greased 8 inch round cake pans.  Bake as directed on the box.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from:
This is the blog entry that inspired the entire creation! 

10 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
5-6 cups powdered sugar (I used one full 1 lb box plus two cups)
7 ounces smooth peanut butter (I used skippy)
1.5 tsp vanillla

Beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy.  Add the sugar one up at a time, scraping the sides well reserving 1 cup for the end.  Beat until fluffy, about 4-5 min.

Add the peanut butter and the vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add the final cup (or a little more, or less) until the frosting reaches desired consistency. 

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from:

One half pint heavy whipping cream
3.5 ounces peanut butter chips
5.5 ounces bitter sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)

Place chips in a bowl with mixer handy.  Heat cream on the stove over medium until it just about boils.  Pour over the chips and whisk until combined.

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