Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Happy President’s Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend (and Valentine’s Day, if you’re into that sort of thing.) Friday marked my 5-year anniversary with M, and as usual I baked a cake for the occasion. Each year I use a brand new recipe I’ve never tried, but luckily so far all of them have been delightful. Two years ago was a chocolate raspberry layer cake, and last year was a black forest chocolate cake I haven’t added to this blog yet. Maybe I’ll do a flashback post one of these days.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

This year, I wanted to hark back to the first cake I ever made: a chocolate cake, cream cheese peanut butter frosting, and chocolate ganache decadence that was amazing, albeit incredibly rich. Chocolate and peanut butter are a mutual favorite and this year I decided to reverse it in anticipation of a slightly less decadent confection. Borrowing a peanut butter cake recipe from The Daring Gourmet and pairing it with the same chocolate buttercream frosting from two years ago resulted the cake version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

The cake is moist with a fabulous peanut butter flavor, and pairs beautifully with the chocolate buttercream. I opted for just frosting and no extra filling, but for an extra kick some chopped peanut butter cups would be fabulous between the layers.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Peanut butter chips make a fun polka dot decoration that keeps with the peanut butter theme while being a contrasting color to the frosting. Bonus: they are super easy to decorate with.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Below find The Daring Gourmet’s peanut butter cake recipe with my minimal changes, followed by a reprint of my chocolate buttercream. The original cake called for baking it all in one layer and cutting the cake in half, but since I don’t have a tall enough cake pan for that I opted to divide it before baking. I actually prefer this method because there’s no cutting involved, but both ways should work equally well.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

As for the frosting, I used about a tablespoon of dark cocoa and the rest regular to keep with a more traditional Reese’s pairing, but if you’re a dark chocolate kinda person, go ahead and use all dark cocoa. It will be amazing. For assembly, use your favorite method or head on over to my chocolate layer cake for my own method. Just ignore anything that mentions a filling and use peanut butter chips or another topping for some flair.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

So next time you have a peanut butter fanatic to please, this cake will definitely fit the bill. Just be sure to sneak a piece for yourself.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Borrowed from The Daring Gourmet
Serves 8-12

Ingredients

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup (rounded) creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Line the bottoms of two 8″ (or 9″) cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pans, especially the sides.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or with a stand mixer), beat the oil, peanut butter, and brown sugar on medium speed until combined and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  6. Starting with the dry mixture, alternately add it with the buttermilk, beat gently with each addition just until combined. Batter will be fairly thick.
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and bake for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out moist but not wet.
  8. Cool cakes in the pan for a few minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely (about one hour).
  9. Wrap each layer carefully in plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour or until ready to frost.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

From Savory Sweet Life
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup sifted cocoa powder3

½ tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup tablespoons milk, half and half, or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa, and mix on low (unless you want a blizzard) until combined.
  3. Add vanilla, salt, and milk or cream and beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.
  4. If necessary, thin with milk/cream (1 tablespoon at a time) or stiffen with powdered sugar to desired consistency.

Notes

1 This cake is pretty beginner friendly, just be careful not to over-bake it.
2 It keeps well on the counter for a few days, just be sure to cover it with plastic wrap. (Once the frosting has set it shouldn’t stick much.
3 I used part dark and part regular, but any combination of cocoa powders will do; just make sure it all adds up to a half cup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Apologies for missing most of August; I spent ten days gallivanting around Juneau, Alaska with my family, followed closely by a week in Iowa for work. Despite a major rope burn courtesy of my mom’s dog (which is temporarily destroying my half marathon training), it was a wonderful trip and I hope to not go another eight months before visiting again.Juneau, Alaska

Having always lived in places that at least had mountains in the distance, the sheer flatness of Iowa is very weird, my brain can’t quite comprehend that there aren’t any mountains anywhere in sight. A very strange experience for this Rocky Mountains girl.

Today, however, I have a decadent cookie recipe to share. I’m not going to lie, these cookies are a little bit of a pain to make. They will never be a “go to” recipe for me, but for when I want a richer treat these are a great option. If you’re a chocolate and peanut butter fan, these cookies are right up your alley. (If not, check back next week for a pie that might be a little more your style.)

IMG_1072

The dough is really more like a brownie batter, and chock-full of peanut butter chips. Chilling time is *required* for these cookies, since you won’t be able to form a ball without it. However, if you chill them too long (say, overnight, as I did), the “dough” becomes ridiculously hard and takes what seems like forever to soften enough for scooping. If you can swing it, check the dough after it’s been in the fridge a half an hour. If it’s firm but still moldable, you’re good go to. If not, check back in another 15 minutes or so.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip CookiesDespite the mildly temperamental dough, these cookies taste amazing. Chocolate and peanut butter is a flavor combination that rarely goes wrong, and these cookies are no exception. Rich, soft, and chocolatey, they seem more like a brownie in a cookie shape than your typical chocolate cookie. Peanut butter chips seemed like the natural pairing to me, but feel free to substitute whatever you like. I’ll likely try mint chips sometime in the future.

So if you have some time, some peanut butter chips, and a chocolate craving, give these cookies a shot. I guarantee they won’t disappoint.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Mildly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes 4-5 dozen

Ingredients

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used 1 cup of Kirkland chocolate chips)

1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

1 bag (10 oz) peanut butter chips

Directions

  1. Melt the chocolate for 30 seconds in the microwave, stir. Repeat until chocolate is completely smooth (about 90 seconds total). Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Lightly whisk together the eggs and vanilla in another small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
  5. Add the sugars, beating until combined. Scrape the sides often if your paddle attachment doesn’t do this for you.1 (Mixture will be crumbly.)
  6. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Beat in the chocolate.
  7. On slow speed, mix in the dry ingredients. Fold in the peanut butter chips, being careful not to over mix. It should look like delicious brownie batter at this point.
  8. Chill dough until firm but moldable; at least 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Scoop 1 Tbsp balls on a cookie sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper.2 3
  11. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until cookies are matte in color but still very soft.
  12. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If they are cool enough, you shouldn’t need a spatula for the transfer.
  13. Enjoy a handful with a tall glass of milk.Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Notes

This is my favorite Kitchen Aid paddle attachment. It is seriously the best thing ever.
These cookies barely spread. I could very comfortably fit 15 on a sheet instead of the usual 12.
I almost always bake small cookies because I like to be able to eat a lot of them. This particular recipe is quite rich, so I think they work well in the small size. However, if you prefer a more substantial snack, roll 2 Tbsp of dough into a ball, flatten slightly onto the cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 11 minutes. At this size, the recipe will yield just over two dozen cookies.