Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Peanut Butter Cup Cake - made August 1, 2010

This is another recipe I got from my fitness friend, Tanya. Note this is a peanut butter cup cake, not a peanut butter cupcake. Hence the peanut butter cups:

Tanya's recipe calls for making this as a 9" two-layer cake but I've already packed away my round cake pans so I made it in a bundt pan instead. Since the base of the cake is a cake mix, this was really easy to mix together. You have to bake it longer if you use a bundt pan instead of splitting between two round cake pans. I think I baked this for around 45-50 minutes.

As it cooled, I made the ganache. When I was in culinary school, one of my classmates, who had worked as a pastry chef before, had a tendency not to follow the directions our chef instructors gave us. No matter what, she usually did her own thing. Something I found baffling sometimes because then it makes you wonder why go to school if you're not going to do as instructed? But in the making of ganache, I confess, I like her method better. Ganache is essentially melted chocolate and cream whisked together. The traditional method and the one I was taught in school was to heat the cream to boiling and pour over chopped chocolate then to let the heat of the cream melt the chocolate before whisking together to make a smooth ganache. For some reason, I don't like this method. You have to take the time to chop the chocolate and sometimes the ganache doesn't come out evenly if the cream isn't hot enough or you don't whisk fast enough to melt it completely.

My classmate's method (which drove our chef instructors crazy, lol) was to melt the chocolate then take a little bit of cream and whisk into the chocolate. At first the chocolate "seizes" as liquid is added to it and it looks like the whole thing is going to solidify and be a wreck. But you just have to keep whisking and adding the cream a little at a time and you'll end up with a pretty smooth ganache. If you're risk-averse, go with the traditional method in the recipe but this other method also works pretty well. Just remember to keep whisking.

Tanya, a true peanut butter and chocolate aficionado, says she uses double the amount of peanut butter cups that the recipe calls for. I only had one bag of peanut butter cups so my cake turned out much more modest than hers.

You can't really see the peanut butter cups that got mixed into the cake itself - they're there but they blended in pretty well with the cake.

If you like peanut butter and chocolate, this is a good cake. My coworkers liked it - a lot, judging by how fast these disappeared from our communal kitchen on my floor. Next time though, I think I'm going to try it with a devil's food cake from scratch instead of a mix. I'll probably wait until I move, settle in and unpack so I can make it as a real two-layer cake. If you make this as a bundt cake, be warned that you don't need all that ganache. Probably 2/3 of the recipe will do. I personally am not a ganache fan as it's not sweet enough for me and I don't care for the texture as much as with regular frosting so I might change up the frosting too.

Peanut Butter Cup Cake

1 devil’s food cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups (plus more for garnishing – I used 2 bags)
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup peanut butter
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat two 9-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Line with wax paper and coat paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides after 1 minute. Fold in 2 cups of the chopped peanut butter cups.
3. Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Cool cakes completely.
5. Place chopped dark chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream just to a boil and then pour over chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts. Add peanut butter and whisk until smooth.
6. Trim each cake layer so the tops are flat. Place one layer on a cooling rack and pour 1 cup frosting on top. Spread evenly with a spatula. Add second layer and pour remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Smooth out with spatula.
7. Allow frosting to set for a minute and gently press remaining chopped peanut butter cup pieces all over top and sides of cake. Place in refrigerator for about an hour to set. Remove and serve.

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