Summer is an amazing season. Why? Because for teachers, it is the one time of year we get to do something remarkable: think and breathe. Having just finished the school year and curriculum work, I’ve started doing just that for the first time in about 9 months. Since I haven’t done it in so long, you would think I would have a lot to catch up on. Perhaps I would be contemplating finances, business growth, projects in my new home, etc. You’ll be glad to know that I’ve spent the past hour or so thinking about something even more important: peanut butter. I could go on a rant about it’s general awesomeness (like I have in the past), but I feel no need to justify myself here. This is what summer is for. Thinking about peanut butter while drinking coffee.
To celebrate my newfound freedom (and my girl Donna’s birthday of course), we’re making cake. Not just any cake, but a cookie cake. That’s right, spongy cake, thick cookie dough, smooth frosting, and chewy candy, all in one package. The result is a dense treat full of chocolatey and peanut buttery tastes, with a few different textures thrown in there. Just a warning, this recipe is not for the faint of heart, or people who are feeling full. Let’s get to it!
First, the cake. This chocolate cake recipe is one of my favorites for sure. If we’re being technical, it’s actually a devil’s food cake. Devil’s food cake is known to have a darker and richer taste due to the cocoa (instead of melted chocolate) incorporated into it. Additionally, many devil’s food cakes have a bit of coffee worked in to intensify the chocolate taste further. As you know, another reason I love many of the recipes I share is simplicity. I love this cake for that very reason. No mixers required.
To whip these layers up, you’ll start by mixing together your dry ingredients. In this case, your sugars are being considered dry ingredients. Go with me here.
Then, in a separate bowl, you’ll combine your eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla.
Time for the two bowls to become one. After the wet and dry guys are together, mix in that hot coffee until it has completely soaked in, and the batter is a bit looser.
Divide the batter, by weight OF COURSE, into two (lined and sprayed) 9 inch pans, and bake away at 350 degrees for a bit over a half an hour until the cakes are cooked through.
Now onto the showstopper. While your cakes are cooling, we’ll make the dough. The peanut butter cookie dough, to be exact. This dough is a slight modification of my normal peanut butter cookie dough that I stuff with peanut butter cups. (I’ll have to blog about that one, one day.) The only difference is, there are no eggs or leavening agents. One, because they aren’t being baked and don’t need to puff up. Two, because there are a few people out there who say raw eggs can make you sick. Whatever.
To make the dough, you’ll cream together your butter and sugars, using a stand or hand mixer. Once combined, the peanut butter and vanilla can be added and fully incorporated.
Now, throw that flour in there!
Tada! Eggless cookie dough that you can eat without risking salmonella!
This dough can be spread on to one layer of your cake that has been placed on a cake plate with the bottom side facing down. (Yes, I know that seems pretty obvious, but you’ll see why I mention it in a second.) Try to get your layer of dough to be as even as possible in order to avoid a lopsided cake later on.
On top of the dough will go your second layer of cake. This cake will be placed with the bottom side facing up. Since that is the smoothest side, we want it to be the most visible at the top of the cake.
Frosting time! Only five ingredients here: butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream. Like any other buttercream, you’ll begin by smoothing out your softened butter. With this edition though, you’ll be smoothing your peanut butter together with the butter.
Once those two have joined forces, you’ll add in the powdered sugar and mix slowly until you’ve eliminated the possibility of the classic confectioners sugar puff tragedy we’ve all found ourselves in at one point. Slowly add in the heavy cream and turn up the speed to whip everything until smooth.
When frosting cakes, I have a few favorite tools: a wide tip such as the Wilton 789, a bench scraper, and an offset spatula. Using these, I frost the cake by piping and then smoothing, as opposed to applying all of the frosting by hand and accidentally mixing crumbs into it. See?
At this point, you could stop here and eat away. Or, you could up it one more notch and throw on some chopped peanut butter cups and a drizzle of ganache. (And, when I say “or you could…”, I mean JUST DO IT!)
And there you have it folks, the BEST way to celebrate peanut butter. Pardon me while I continue to contemplate the important stuff while eating a pretty hefty amount of this guy. You should try it some time!
Next week, we’ll be chatting about another one of my favorite gooey substances: caramel. Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powdered
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup oil (canola, vegetable, melted coconut)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup hot coffee
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 10 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 7 peanut butter cups, chopped into roughly half-centimeter pieces (optional)
- ½ cup chocolate ganache (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
- Combine the two bowls by slowly incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Once combined, pour in hot coffee and stir until batter has loosened and coffee has been fully mixed in.
- Divide by weight, into two prepared 9-inch pans. (Prepared tins should be lined with circles of parchment on the bottom and sprayed with cooking spray.)
- Bake cakes for 27-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until smooth.
- Add peanut butter and vanilla, and continue to mix on medium speed.
- Once combined, add flour and salt.
- Cream peanut butter and butter together, using a high speed, until completely smooth.
- Add in powdered sugar. Mix on a slow speed until slightly incorporated.
- Slowly pour in heavy cream while the frosting is mixing. Once the cream has been added, turn the mixer to a high speed and whip frosting until smooth.
- Adjust consistency by adding small amounts of powdered sugar or heavy cream.
- Lay one cake on a cake board, bottom side down.
- Apply peanut butter cookie dough and spread until layer is even
- Top the filling with the second cake, bottom side up.
- Use the frosting to frost the cake completely.*
- Top cake with optional drizzle of ganache, and/or chopped peanut butter cups.
- *See frosting tool tip in commentary