Please don’t judge my frosting skills. I TRIED SO HARD.
Now that that’s off my chest… guess what!? This is my first post using my new WordPress site!!!!! I’ve been working really hard over here since Sunday to get all the kinks cleared out. There are still a few issues and I’ve got some backend data/photo edits to make BUT we are here and it’s up and running (though, a little slower than I’d like.. still working on that). Hooray!!! What do y’all think of the new site? Love it, hate it? TELL ME.
Okay, so… can y’all figure out what today is??
IT’S TOM’S BIRTHDAY!!!!! I assume you guessed that pretty easily huh? Since it’s Tom’s birthday, I deem this Tom’s Birthday Week on the blog. What does this entail, you ask? All recipes that Tom LOVES, including chocolate and peanut anything. Though, these chocolate peanut butter mini cakes aren’t just anything… they are literally the best cakes that Tom and I have ever had. I know I’m supposed to be on Whole30 but I HAD to cave for this cake.
Let’s talk about the layers of this cake. Why? Because they are all equally fabulous. First, we have super moist chocolate cake made with all things delicious and cake-y. Yes please! Second, we have ultra creamy cream cheese peanut butter frosting. Umm hello, I could literally eat the whole bowl of frosting in about five two minutes. I know you’re wondering, “why not make chocolate peanut butter cake?” So I’ve made chocolate peanut butter cake before and it’s great but once you add the peanut butter frosting… the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter is just off. Too much peanut butter flavor to chocolate. The perfect ratio, in my opinion, is chocolate cake + lots of peanut butter frosting. It’s just better this way, I promise! Third layer: dark chocolate ganache because a) delicious b) looks super pretty. And last but not least, chopped up Reese’s peanut butter cups because you know, we didn’t already have enough chocolate or peanut butter or sugar. Are y’all drooling yet???
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temp
- 8 oz (1 box) cream cheese, at room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 8 oz dark chocolate chips
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped (I used half a bag of the miniatures and a whole bag of the minis)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Prepare three 8-inch round pans with cooking spray and parchment rounds. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all cake ingredients except boiling water (sugar through the vanilla extract). Whisk until just combined. Add boiling water then carefully beat until just combined again. Use a spatula to clean sides of bowl, and whisk one more time.
- Evenly distribute batter between three cake pans - a kitchen scale is very useful here! Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add peanut butter and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Use a spatula to clean the sides of the bowl, and beat again. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream, then beat until smooth.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Once completely melted, remove from heat. Immediately add dark chocolate chips. Using a rubber spatula, stir to combine chocolate and butter. The hot butter should melt the chocolate and create a smooth ganache. Set aside to cool slightly (about 10 minutes).
- Once the cakes are completely cool, cut each of the three cakes into four equal size mini circles using a 3-inch diameter biscuit cutter. This should yield 12 cake circles to make your four 3-tier mini cakes or you can just make a normal cake and skip this step if you'd like.
- Place four bottom layers on cake plate. Using an offset spatula, smooth about a 1/4 cup of frosting over the top of each cake bottom. Add four second layer cakes on top of frosting then repeat with another 1/4 cup of frosting on each of the four second layers. Add the top layer to each cake. Use the spatula to smooth the frosting around the outside of each mini cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to help solidify the cake layers.
- Remove cakes from fridge. Spoon a large scoop of frosting on the top layer of each mini cake (about 1/2 cup each) and smooth the frosting over the top and sides of each cake. Add more frosting as needed to completely cover the cake. Smooth frosting into an even layer on the tops and sides. p.s. I suck at frosting cakes... hopefully yours won't have cake peaking though lol.
- Return cake to refrigerator for another 20 minutes to chill the frosting. Prepare the ganache during this time.
- Once chilled, slowly pour the slightly-cooled ganache over top of each cake, starting in the middle of the cake. When the ganache begins to drip over the sides of the cake, stop pouring.
- Top with chopped peanut butter cup pieces. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes. [optional garnish: cut 16 miniature peanut butter cups in half and use them to rim the bottom of each mini cake]
- Devour!! Then become ill from eating too much sugar.
I love the idea of mini cakes but if you’d like to make one normal sized cake, that’s totes cool! Go ahead and do your thing. All the ingredients and directions are the same except you’ll have to add more frosting to each layer since you only have one. Also, don’t use my frosting look as an example. My frosting skills are atrocious. I’ll hopefully get better one day. Ok, I’m out! Happy Tom’s birthday weirdos 🙂