Chocolate & Peanut Butter Truffle Cake

 

I swear, I do eat real food. I am not living on a constant sugar high. And my teeth aren’t rotting out of my head with cavities.

I know I’ve sorta been slapping you in the face with some intense chocolatisms lately. Not that chocolate is really the worst thing you could have all up in your face, but I do apologize if the richness has offended anyone…or anyone’s “new year, new you” diet. I gain weight from looking at a load of chocolate too, no worries, it’s all good.

Moral of the story is, I promise there will be some relief from the sugar rush this week. Mark my words, it’s gonna happen. But for now…

It’s been way to long since I’ve been called upon for birthday caking purposes. Way way way too long.

I had all this baking aggression building up inside; the kind of aggression that can only be released through constructing a cake monstrosity with layers of intense decadence and coated with over-the-top richness. Trust me, that’s a pretty severe aggression to have bottled within yourself. Had one of my friends not had a birthday soon, I think we may have just had to give me a belated half-birthday celebration.

Because that wouldn’t be weird or anything.

I made this beast for one of my nearest and dearest pal’s 20th birthday.  Besides commemorating her birth, this cake is basically a celebration of the holy union between chocolate and peanut butter. You’ll see through the progression of pictures, that sacred marriage is essentially the central theme here.

And justifiably so.

Chocolate +peanut butter is always a guaranteed safe combo. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who would renounce the Reese’s peanut butter cup.

Despite all of her many amazing qualities, the birthday girl is kind of a picky eater. When I was prodding for some guidance as to what she might actuallyenjoy, would you like to know the help she offered me?

“Um, I like lima beans.”

 

Obviously, I was going it alone.

Chocolate and peanut butter saved the day. As usual.

 

I’m a firm believer that birthday cakes need to be seriously extravagant, indulgent, big- fat-deal kind of affairs. I mean, the cake is like the central component to like all of the biggest birthday traditions: the candles, the singing, the partying. And a birthday itself is what? A celebration of someone’s existence… so uh hello, BIG DEAL.

People who say a birthday is “just another day,” you’re wrong. Straight up wrong. Go reevaluate you life please.

Sorry, that was sort of snappish. I’m just saying birthdays are special and deserve a little bit more than a haphazard boxed cake with some canned icing slapped on. That’s all.

Especially your first birthday beyond the realm of teen-dom.

I need to go watch Shrek or something now. I’m having a hard time accepting that I’m celebrating people’s 20th birthdays. I’m not quite ready to be old.

 

The layers on this cake come from the recipe that Ina Garten deemed as “the most fabulous chocolate cake she’s ever made.” If it’s endorsed by the Barefoot Contessa, you know it’s good.

Remember how we talked about the way coffee brings out the deepest chocolate flavor of chocolate with my deep dark brownies? Okay well, that concept is already back again. This batter includes a cup of fresh brewed coffee, yielding an intensely chocolatey, ultra moist, amazing, chocolate cake.

Take four layers of such fantabulous  cake, fill them with chocolate-peanut butter ganache, wrap them up in peanut butter cream cheese frosting, coat the whole affair in crushed Butterfingers candy, and finally garnish it all off with some chocolate peanut butter bark and fudgey drizzle…and guess what…

You my friend, are about to embark upon one of the most insane chocolate and peanut butter rides of your life.

What can I say? I like to live on the edge.

Let’s wrap this up with wishing my wonderful friend a big fat HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

You’re amazing. The end.

 

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Truffle Cake

For the Cake:

Adapted from Food & Wine

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low-speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.

For the Filling:

Adapted from bon apétit

  • 2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Bring cream and sugar to simmer in saucepan, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; let stand 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in peanut butter. Chill uncovered overnight.

For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla. Finally, beat in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
For the Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bark
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/8 cup peanut butter

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat. Pour in an even layer of about 1/4 inch thickness on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Scatter the peanut butter over the melted chocolate by spoon and swirl with a fork. Put cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Once bark is set, break into pieces.

Garnish

  • 1 & 1/2 cups crushed Butterfingers candy
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

Assembly:

Split the layers of cooled cake horizontally into 4 even layers. 

Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread one-third of the chilled ganache over the cake to the edge. Top with a second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread with another third of the filling  and repeat with the third layer. Place the final cake layer on top.
Frost the top and sides of cake with cream cheese peanut butter frosting. Press the crushed Butterfingers candy around sides by handfuls.
Arrange the chocolate bark pieces decoratively around top and drizzle with melted chocolate.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.

 

*** Check this & lots of other amazing treats out at Sweets for a Saturday!!

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