A certain company that sells cookware, and tableware also happens to sell food (their initials may be W.S. )
They are currently selling a peanut butter cup cake, and the moment I laid eyes on it I pissed myself and screamed, “I MUST MAKE A COPYCAT VERSION!!”
So before I proceed I must credit this as the inspiration.
I also felt it was the perfect time of year to make this chocolate, peanut buttery, rich and creamy goodness. February 14th is upon us.
Now, I have to admit that Valentine’s day is my LEAST favorite holiday. I really do not get excited over an $80 bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates. You know you only eat, like, three of the flavors then throw the rest of the box out. Not to mention it makes single chicks and some guys feel left out.
There is nothing personal about roses and chocolates. If that is what everyone is giving and receiving, there is nothing personal about it. Cards are poopy too. Except for this one:
I don’t like cuddling, romance flicks, or hand holding. I rarely care for hearts (Except the marshmallow filled strawberry hearts I made. Those sort of worked without being cheesy. Not that I have double standards, or anything).
Also, what about the single people?
So I say you can make this for a loved one, but really, you could just bake it for yourself. You are all that is awesome. The yin to your yang. The Doogie Howser, M.D. All that and a bag of chips..plus the dip.
No more, “My significant other bought me this stupid card just because.” No mas with the, “Single’s awareness day.”
Just call it, “I am making this amazing cake just because. I do what I want, day.” The end.
Here’s what you need for your peanut butter cup cake,
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE SECTION
- You can use your own favorite chocolate cake recipe if you have one. You will not need the full amount, keep in mind.
OR you can use my Buttermilk Chocolate Cake (moist and very rich)
- 1 cup of flour
- 3/4 cup of butter
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- a heaping 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of buttermilk
- a little extra butter and cocoa powder to line your cake
*This is not a full cake recipe because you do not need that much cake. If you want to use this recipe to bake a regular-sized cake then just double the measurements.
FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER FILLING
- 1/2 cup of graham cracker
- 3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter + more (you will add to your liking)
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- 1 1/3 cup of heavy cream
- 13-17..or more! Hershey’s chocolate bars (I usually like good quality, dark chocolate, however, I wanted it to taste like a Reese’s peanut butter cup which requires this type of chocolate. It is totally up to you what you use)
UPDATE: the more chocolate you use, the easier to remove from the mold. I used only 12 and it was tricky to peel off but I managed. Another reader had 15 bars and said it was stuck for her. Try 17 or even more if you want it to be hassle free. Just keep in mind the more chocolate you use, the less ganache-like and creamy, and the more like a “shell” it will be.
- 4 tablespoons of butter
Recipe makes about 2-4 small pb cup cakes depending on how large your layers are.
I only made two and had leftover cake. You can use leftover pieces for trifles, cake pops, serve it in little baggies for kid’s lunch (as a treat), or shove it all into your mouth when nobody is looking.
- aluminum foil
- optional: a cooking thermometer for the ganache
I used this for my cake:
-Big Top Cupcake Silicone Bakeware
I found it at RiteAid or Walgreens, or somewhere like that. The website says it is available at: Bed Bath & Beyond • CVS • Kmart • Toys R Us • Walmart • Walgreens
I called the peeps at Bed, Bath & Beyond and they said it is available in most stores. I called Toys R Us and there were none in my area. So either call a store and check first, or order online. Buy it online here .
I paid $15. So online might be a better option.
If you do not want to buy this (but seriously, why wouldn’t you?) you could buy one of those round aluminum pans from the grocery store. It just wont look as “pretty” with the large ridges. Who cares, though. It’s meant to be eaten.
Begin by baking your chocolate cake or using the buttermilk chocolate cake recipe.
(Just a heads up, I have measured double what I told you so I had extra cake to experiment with when creating the cake. Quantities will appear greater in photos)
Mix together your dry ingredients in a dry mixer.
Pour 1/2 cup of water into a sauce pan. Add cocoa powder and butter. Heat on medium.
Stir constantly. As soon as it begins to boil and the oil and cocoa powder separate a little, remove from stove.
It will look hideous, but trust me. This cake is delicious.
Pour the cooked mixture into the dry ingredients.
…and mix until it is thoroughly combined.
Add egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix in until thoroughly combined.
If you are using the giant cupcake silicone mold, the grease it with butter and pour a little cocoa (or flour) powder over butter. Shake around until butter is totally coated with powder.
You do not need the coat the entire inside of the mold. You want thin layers of chocolate cake that sandwich the peanut butter. So two layers of chocolate cake per peanut butter cup cake.
You have two choices in terms of creating layers:
1. Pour only about 3/4 inch of batter into bottom of mold. Bake. Use a large serrated knife to cut off the top so that it is flat and leveled.
Repeat until you have all layers. This requires patience, but it is a lot easier for the beginner baker.
In this case bake at 325 degrees for about 20-30 minutes (my home oven is crazy so use a toothpick to stick in center. Once the cake just begins to stop sticking to the toothpick it is ready.
2. Pour batter about 2-3 inches high. Bake, then slice off top to level off the bump. Slice the cake through the middle so you have two equal cake layers.
Repeat for how many pb cup cakes you would like to make.
Requires less baking time, however cutting cake layers can be messy and difficult.
Bake at 340 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
use a toothpick to stick in center. Once the cake just begins to stop sticking to the toothpick it is ready.
*Whichever way you choose to create your layers, I always suggest allowing cake to totally cool and then refrigerating. It makes cutting the cake much easier when it is cold and firm.
Should you choose to go down the aluminum pan route, bake time will differ. You will also need to place foil in first, then grease and powder. This way you can lift the cake out using the aluminum foil, once cooled as this pan does not bend like a silicone mold does.
To make the peanut butter filling,
Use a food processor (or blender) to break down the graham crackers into fine powder.
Blend in powdered sugar.
Add peanut butter and butter. Process until totally combined. Now, I start with 1/2 cup of peanut butter and process. Add more until it tastes just right for you. You do want the mixture to be wet, yet still firm and dry enough so that it can be molded into a disk and stay intact.
FYI if you desire a more accurate pb filling like the candy, it requires more powdered sugar. I cut out a lot because I felt that although it works for the candy, it would be far too sweet for the cake. It’s up to you.
Trace the bottom of the mold onto either wax paper, parchment paper, aluminum foil, or just regular paper.
Take peanut butter mixture and form a little “patty” in the center. Leave space between the edge of the paper and the pb patty.
You can either form one tall patty, refrigerate, then slice into several layers for your cakes. Or, you can form one at a time.
Either way, refrigerate to harden a little.
Once layers are formed/cut, I use either a knife or large circle cookie cutter (you can use a circle plastic container or anything circular as a cutting template. I cut the layers so that they fit into the mold with space around the sides.
You can cut the bottom layer smaller, then each layer above slightly wider so that it widens out as the edges of the mold do. That’s just if your picky. Ignore otherwise.
Make your ganache.
Heat cream and butter. Either until it begins to bubble around the edge (just about to boil but not quite), or use a cooking thermometer and heat until it reaches 160 degrees (F).
Remove from stove and add the Hershey’s chocolate (or whatever chocolate you prefer). I used 12 bars. This creates a creamy, ganache covering but is more difficult to remove from mold.
So I tell you to use 13-17 bars in the ingredient list.
I REPEAT!! THE LESS CHOCOLATE YOU USE THE MORE CHALLENGING IT WILL BE TO REMOVE FROM THE MOLD! I MANAGED TO REMOVE MINE, BUT I AM PATIENT AND AM AN EXPERIENCED BAKER.
So less chocolate= creamy yummy ganache BUT challenging removal
More chocolate =firmer shell BUT not as creamy
If you want it to be easier, add in 2-4 more chocolate bars.
Let it sit for a minute, then use a whisk to stir in. Don’t beat, just gently stir or else you will end up with lots of air bubbles.
Pour some ganache (3/4 inch or more, just be aware of how much ganache you have left for sides and top) into your mold.
I DID NOT USE ALUMINUM FOIL BUT I SUGGEST YOU DO… and dust with cocoa powder.
Tug on tops of aluminum foil to pick up cake.
Again, if you use more chocolate than I did this should be easier for you.
Pop in fridge until cool. I then placed in freezer for a bit so it could hold up cake layers properly. This is up to you to do.
Place your smallest chocolate layer on bottom, then peanut butter layer, then last chocolate layer.
Rewarm the rest of the chocolate ganache until just melted (try to avoid stirring a lot). Pour around sides of cake layers and cover the top.
Refrigerate, then I popped into freezer once totally cooled.
I carefully peeled back the mold.
Well, would you look at that. For all of you Valentoon’s day supporters I used pink dishware. I will also be hosting a screening of Titanic. I kid, I kid.
This is so good. Please pair with a large glass of ice, cold milk.
****If you are considering posting up photos or ideas from this or any other posts I am truly happy that you are excited and find my recipes interesting enough to share with others. Please see copyright standards in the footer (bottom) AND follow them!!!!
After a few readers emailed me, the difference between those who made this with success and those who did not was patience and care. Please read the recipe thoroughly and make sure to take notice of any points or tips I make. Take your sweet time, and be patient when making it.
An excerpt from a reader who was successful the second attempt:
” I think for this particular creation, patience really is key. For my second round, I made the ganache in two parts (and I actually was way more patient with the letting it sit for a few minutes, adding chocolate, letting it sit for a few minutes, then stirring super duper slowly) and I poured my ganache into a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout so that I had more controlled and accurate pouring for the second layer of ganache and no floating! I did have some issues removing the cake (I used cocoa coated wax paper).”
As for removing the cake, I found that freezing overnight (and using the 17 chocolate bars) was key. I would freeze it, then peel it back. If living in warm weather and only able to peel back some of the mold (such as the sides, but slightly stuck on bottom) then return it back to freezer partially peeled back. Do it little by little. Once fully out of mold, place in fridge or outside if not too hot to soften back up.
PATIENCE OVERALL IS KEY. DON’T BE LAZY AND SKIM THE DIRECTIONS. DON’T RUSH THROUGH WHEN MAKING IT YOUR FIRST TIME.