Tag Archives: peanut butter

Insane Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Ganache Cake

The actual name of this cake is sour-cream chocolate cake with peanut-butter cream cheese frosting and chocolate peanut butter glaze. It is a cake so sinfully decadent that it would make Nigella Lawson’s head explode. To give the cake its “just desserts,” I enrolled it in a chocolate-cake challenge against my gourmet chef-friend Tonya.

I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen a few years ago, and was encouraged when my friend Ellie made it and said it nearly killed a party she took it to. It took a bit of work, as most layer cakes are wont to do, but it’s worth it. Here’s why: three layers of dark and moist sour-cream chocolate cake covered in a cream-cheese and peanut butter frosting, then slathered with the most ridiculous amount of thick peanut butter chocolate ganache. I just drooled writing that.

The cake has an interesting addition of vinegar – I still haven’t figured out what that does, but I think I like it. All together, it tastes like a wonderful Reece’s candy – but way better. The ganache is like a truffle layer over the creamy frosting. As Tonya pointed out, the cake isn’t TOO chocolatey, so it doesn’t compete with the peanut butter frosting and ganache. Here’s the recipe, if you dare:

Insane Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Cake

Ingredients for 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 canola oil
  • 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. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans (I used 9-inch and it was fine). 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 and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in salt to combine. 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. I did this all by hand, but feel free to use an electric mixer.

3. Bake for 30 min., 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. When cool, cover in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 min, which will make them much easier to frost. (Make the frosting recipe below while you wait)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate (I put squares of parchment paper under it, to keep my new cake plate clean – remove before serving). 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.

Once frosted, chill the cake for another 30 minutes, which will help the ganache drip all over it (and make the ganache recipe below while you wait!).

5. To decorate with the ganache, 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.

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter – I used Skippy’s

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.

Ingredients for ganache:

  • 8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (admission: I didn’t have this, so used milk. My bad!)

1. 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 and shiny.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm. Because I didn’t have the half-and-half, mine was too viscous, but it still tastes wonderful and set up nicely.

Isn’t that pretty? Tonya brought what she called a chocolate “Black-Out Cake” because during the war, people would make it whenever there was a blackout. It is a rich and moist cake with chocolate pudding between the layers, and a crumbled layer of cake all over the top. Brilliant!

Our judges declared a draw because the cakes were so different. Mine was called “most unique” and “most American,” while Tonya’s was “best classic cake” and “most European.” And then they all fell into sugar comas.

Seriously, this much sugar and chocolate gave me a headache like I’d been drinking a 20-oz quadruple espresso drink.

And here are the chefs!

Until the next foodie fight, enjoy, friends! xoxo

Sweet and salty Halloween candy

Happy Halloween, everyone! This recipe is a fun way to eat all my favorite Halloween candies. It’s also a great one for kids, but all the adults I know ate way more of it. A simple “bark” made with dark chocolate covered with peanut M&Ms, Reece’s Pieces, honey-roasted peanuts, Heath bars, Butterfingers, Reece’s cups and finally white chocolate.

It’s addictive and delicious. I love that combination of peanut, chocolate and white chocolate. Of course, you can make this with any candy, so get creative!

Bon Appetit’s Halloween Peanut Butter and Toffee Bark

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 2.1-ounce Butterfinger candy bars, cut into irregular 1-inch pieces
  • 3 1.4-ounce Skor or Heath toffee candy bars, cut into irregular 3/4-inch pieces
  • 8 0.55-ounce peanut butter cups, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts
  • 3 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped
  • Reese’s Pieces and yellow and orange peanut M&M’s
Line baking sheet with foil. Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch. Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to 1/4-inch thickness (about 12×10-inch rectangle). Sprinkle with Butterfinger candy, toffee, peanut butter cups, and nuts, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere.
Put white chocolate in heavy small saucepan. Stir constantly over very low heat until chocolate is melted and warm (not hot) to touch. Remove from heat. Dip spoon into chocolate; wave from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines. Scatter Reese’s Pieces and M&M’s over, making sure candy touches melted chocolate.
Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes. Slide foil with candy onto work surface; peel off foil. Cut bark into irregular pieces.

This will keep for days, maybe weeks, in your fridge. But we both know it won’t last that long. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Sesame-peanut noodle salad

At work, we have lunch frequently catered and whenever we get The Carving Board, people go crazy for their Asian noodle salad: thin noodles with sesame and ginger flavors. After watching Ina Garten make her crunchy noodle salad a few times, I decided to try my own version of this tasty side dish. How wrong can you go with peanut butter, ginger, garlic, soy, sesame and scallions?

You can add your own twist to these salads – for me, I added blanched broccoli and roasted chicken breast, which turned it into a nice little lunch meal as well as a hearty side dish. As with all pasta salads, this gets even better the second day and can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.

Sesame-peanut noodle salad

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound thin whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced diagonally
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400. Place chicken breasts on cooking sheet and rub with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender but cooked-through, about 25-30 min. When done, remove from skin and bone and shred into bite-sized pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the broccoli, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the spaghetti, broccoli, chicken, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

I brought this to a backyard barbecue and then ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. I think I like it best when cold. Enjoy, friends! xoxo