March is a heavy birthday month in my family. TD’s is the 3rd and my brother’s is the 17th. So, we needed cake. Lots of it. While perusing the March issue of Bon Appetit, I spied a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake. Well yeah, chocolate and peanut butter are always fun. This is a single-layer cake made in a 8X8″ pan. And, it starts with chocolate.
This is also one of those no-heavy lifting or serious kitchen tools required sort of recipes. At least, the cake part is.
The resulting batter will be very dark and very thick.
And really difficult to not stick your fingers into.
Out of the oven, the cake looks a lot like a brownie. But don’t be fooled. This baby is all cake.
The frosting is a basic buttercream recipe with a lot of peanut butter thrown in. Be prepared to be able to smell nothing but peanut butter for the rest of the day after making a batch of this confection.
Enough whipping (and air) and the color fades to a nice, mellow Tuscan beige.
And then the real fun begins. We happened to have house guests the weekend of TD’s birthday. So, I enlisted a mini-pastry chef to decorate. She used salted peanuts, mini peanut butter cups and chocolate curls.
Here our chef spreads a nice thick layer of buttercream.
A border of baby cups.
She spelled-out the birthday boy’s name in peanuts…but was very artistic about it.
And that my friends, is a very fun cake. I would have liked to hire Kate on permanently but her dad said something about kidnapping and child labor laws.
All kids songs all the time.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake
Bon Appetit, March 2012
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (3 1/2 ounces)
Peanut butter buttercream:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (about 1 3/4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry roasted pinenuts (TMH note: I believe this is a typo–I used salted peanuts)
- Mini peanut butter cups (a TMH addition, optional)
For chocolate cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat bottom and sides of pan with nonstick spray; line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups water; whisk until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
For peanut butter buttercream:
Combine sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until cool and thick, 5-6 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. With mixer running, add butter a few pieces at a time, beating to blend between additions. Season with salt.
Run a thin knife around pan to release cake. Invert cake onto a serving plate. Spread peanut butter buttercream over top. Garnish with chopped chocolate and peanuts. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Cut into 2″ squares.