The Best Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

I pretty much always wish I had a reason to make a cake.  The more I think about it, it’s one of the reasons I love weddings, because I think wedding cakes are amazing.  Tonight I had a conversation with some ladies about wedding media.  Wedding sites, blogs, shows magazines are all geared at woman.  The wedding is portrayed as entirely about the woman, which to me seems a little unfair, given that the woman is only one half of the equation.

But in the conversation, one of the things I pointed out is that part of my fascination with wedding media is the aesthetic.  I think weddings are beautiful.  I think cakes are beautiful.  That’s probably why I love food blogs too, because I think the photography is pretty.

Most of the time when I see a beautiful cake my first thought is I want to make that, then second, I want to eat that.  For me, making cakes is fun.  I love making them look beautiful, but I also love making them taste good.

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Because really, isn’t a layer cake just one of the prettiest things out there?

While I always want to make cakes, there isn’t always an occasion to make a cake.  I originally made this cake for a birthday/going away party for friends.  But it was so popular and pretty that I wanted to make it again and photograph it.  

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  I think it just means I appreciate aesthetics. So if you want to make a cake for a special ocassion or no reason at all other than to please yourself… please do! ChocolatePBCake3

And as a bonus, it’s amazingly delicious and the perfect 6-inch cake.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

For Cake (adapted from Hershey’s Chocolate Cake):

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

For Filling:

2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup whipping cream

For Frosting:

2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 big pinch of cream of tartar*
1 pinch of salt

For Chocolate Ganache:

3 oz bitter sweet chocolate chips
1/4 heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Make Cake.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line with parchment paper 2 (6-inch) cake pans, set aside.  In a stand mixer bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Add eggs, oil, milk and vanilla.  Beat together.   Add boiling water and beat until combined.  Pour batter evenly between both 6-inch cake pans.  Bake 25-30 minutes (this might vary based on your oven so start checking for readiness after 20 minutes, especially if using a convection oven) or until cooked through (i.e. do the toothpick test: insert toothpick, once it comes out clean, it’s ready).

Allow to cool completely.

In the meantime, make the filling.  Beat together cream cheese, condensed milk and peanut butter.  In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream into firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture, refrigerate until ready to use.

Next make your frosting.

Place a glass bowl over a sauce pan that has about 1 inch of water in it, make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl (aka build a double boiler).  Add egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt.  Mix together.  Heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are warm when you touch them.

Transfer egg white mixture to a stand mixer and attach whisk attachment.  Stir on low and turn up the speed every 15 seconds or so until it’s on high speed.  Beat 5-7 minutes or until glossy, stiff peaks form.

Now assemble the cake.  Level your layers and slice in half, so you have 4 layers (you’ll notice in my photo I only had 3 layers, you can accidentally drop one on the floor and have 3 layers as well… that’s allowed, but not advised).  Place your first layer on your cake circle or cake dish of choice. Lay some filling on top of the first layer and spread evenly, press on second layer, it’s ok if it overflows a bit.  Repeat until all layers are complete.

Next, frost with a generous layer of frosting.

Place in the fridge while you make your ganache.  Place chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.  In a small sauce pan, heat heavy cream and vanilla stirring constantly until it comes to a light boil.  Pour cream over chocolate chips.  Let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.  Pour over cake and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Allow to cool completely, then slice and serve.

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I had hopes and dreams of making a beautiful vide to go along with this blog post, but I’m still working on perfect my video making skills… but in case you’re curious… here’s my first attempt:

 

Not the prettiest video, but I’ll take it for a first try!  We can’t expect to make gorgeous creations the first time around, and I’m cool with that.

 

So tell me, are you a fan of layer cakes, weddings and pretty things?  Are you overloaded with wedding stuff? Don’t even see it?  Is a cake just a cake for you?  

 

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Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake + A Giveaway!

I love peanut butter.  We all know this.  I eat it by the spoonful.  It’s a problem I’m working on.

Last year, Allison and I threw a Peanut Butter Throwdown (aka an awesome party where we made crazy peanut butter sandwiches sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co.).  So to say I’m a fan of Peanut Butter & Co. is kind of an understatement.  A few weeks ago, they sent me and a few bloggers their new 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream cookbook, full of recipes featuring Dark Chocolate Dreams.

So after having the cookbook for a few weeks, eating spoonfuls of Dark Chocolate Dreams and mulling over which recipe to make, I finally decided on the flourless chocolate cake.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this is the perfect treat for you special peanut-butter-loving someone.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake

from 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream

Nonstick Cooking Spray
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
1/4 tsp salt 1 (12 oz) bag Semisweet Chocolate Chips
8 large eggs, at room temperature

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Generously spray 10 inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Make a double boiled by filling a medium-sized saucepan half way with water and placing a large glass bowl on the top of the pan.  Bring the water to ta boil and add the butter, peanut butter, and salt to the bowl.  Mix until well incorporated and turn off the heat.  Add chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Remove the glass bowl from the double boiler.

Use an electric mixer to whisk eggs for 3-5 minutes or until the volume doubles.  Fold 1/3 of whipped eggs into the chocolate-peanut butter mixture and gradually add the rest of the eggs until mixture is well combined.

Pour mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the cake separate from the pan and the center is springy.  Cut and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

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So in real life, I halved this recipe and put it in a 6 inch cake pan.  I still baked it for 20 minutes, and it turned out perfect.  I topped it with whipped cream and a cherry, because cherries make everything a little more special.  So if you’re looking to downsize this recipe, that’s a great option!

Ok so are you ready to try this now?

Peanut Butter and Co. is being super awesome and giving away a 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dreams Cookbook and a 28oz Jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams to a Foodologie reader!

To enter, head over to Facebook and enter the giveaway on my Facebook page click the Giveaway tab at the top.  The giveaway is open to US Residents and will end on February 14th at midnight!

You can enter by:

You know you want some free peanut butter, especially to make this cake, because it’s delicious.  Head over to Facebook now and enter. You’ve got nothing to lose 🙂

Peanut Butter Bacon Rice Crispies

I’m going to go ahead and let you know that after this post, all you’re going to want in life is a rice crispy treat.  If there’s bacon in it, that’s going to be an added bonus.  But rice crispies are going to be on your brain and I’m not even sorry.

The past few weeks have been the most insufferably hot weeks ever.  It’s like I forgot that I grew up in a desert-like region where 100F+ is normal during the summer.  100F in Costa Mesa is hell (without AC).  As a result, I refused to turn on the oven.

Frying bacon on the other hand, no heat could stop that.

When I was trying to think of what to make for dessert for a potluck, I could only think of making something that did not involve turning on the oven.  So of course I had a brilliant idea, and I made it a reality

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The world can pretty much thank me for this.

Peanut Butter Bacon Rice Crispies

3 slices of thick cut bacon
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter & Company Crunch Time)

4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups puffed rice cereal

In a large pot, fry bacon.  Once cripsy, remove from pan and pour off the majority of the grease (it’s ok if some stays on there).  Allow bacon to cool completely, then chop.  Add peanut butter and marshmallows to pot and melt on low heat.  Once melted together, add rice cereal and bacon.  Stir to combine.  Press into a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Allow to cool completely, slice and serve!

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These were tasty.  Next time, I’ll drizzle some chocolate on them, because I’m intense like that.  Also because peanut butter, bacon and chocolate are an awesome combination.   Did you forget about the Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon?  In case you did, here’s a reminder…

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Peanut Butter and Bacon is absolutely a thing.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.  And seriously, this couldn’t be an easier way to do so.  No baking, just a bit of stirring, pressing and slicing.

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Get on it.

What’s your favorite sweet bacon combo??

Peanut Butter Honey “Bee’s Knees” Pie

Can we talk about TV for a minute?  For my birthday, Jesse got me a Kindle Fire.

I was super excited to have an ebook reader, but then I learned that it comes with a month of free Amazon Prime… That includes the free streaming…

Instead of voraciously reading the classics like I originally intended to, I’ve been watching Downton Abbey.  I get it, I’m like 5 years too late.  But I’m loving it.  To further my recent TV obsession, on Friday night I made Jesse watch 3 episodes of “Orange is the New Black.”  Awesome.

So since I like being late to the party, let me tell you about something I made for a party a while back.  You remember the Peanut Butter Throwdown, right?

I made White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

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But I also made pie, because pie is always a good idea.

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Let me tell you about one of them because you know what else is a good idea? Pretzel crusts.

Along with being obsessed with multiple TV shows, I’m also really into pretzel crusts.  I love the salty and sweet combination, so in pie form it takes it to a whole new level.

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Peanut Butter Honey Pie

1 1/4 cup pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Bee’s Knees peanut butter
4 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
4 tbsp honey

First make your crust by mixing together pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar.  Press into a 9” pie dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.

Next, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Beat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until if holds firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until combined.  Set aside.

Beat remaining 1 cup of whipped cream.  Once it start to form peaks, add in 4 tbsp honey.

Next assemble the pie.  Spread peanut butter mixture into the pie crust.  Top with honey whipped cream.  Chill for a few hours.  Serve cold.

Ok now you can forgive me while I go crawl into bed to watch more Downton Abbey.

Which shows are you into these days?

I also recently discovered Catfish.  That’s totally amazing…

White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

This week has included a lot of eating.  Jesse and I have our birthdays within a week of each others, which means a lot of celebrations happen at one time.  Now I like to think of birthdays as more than just your birthday.  It really should be a week long celebration.

We started on Monday with an outdoor movie at the Segerstrom Center.  Like any good girlfriend/foodie, I had to pack a picnic…

picnic

I tried to include healthy things, because sometimes we all need some balance.  But see that PB&J chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  OMG delicious.  Also, those mason jars are filled with wine (the movie was Mulan, adult grape juice is totally acceptable).  Wondering about the sandwich…

sandwich

Turkey and Cheddar with spinach on a pretzel roll with lots of dijon mustard.  Epic.

Wednesday was Jesse’s birthday for real (you probably remember my ridiculously cheesy blog post.  You’re welcome.).  We went to the Boiling Crab for dinner, where I ate an entire pound of shrimp on my own.  I also made him a creamy pumpkin pie

creamypumpkinpieBecause on your birthday you should get what you want, even if it means pumpkin pie in July.

So as you can tell, there’s been a lot of eating.  But while I’ve been busy eating and celebrating, I’ve also been doing other types of photographing.  Did you know sometimes I take pictures of people?

IMG_0568Needless to say, I haven’t had a lot of time to make things and photograph them for blogging purposes.  So while I take a break before making more exciting new things that I can blog about, let me tell you about something I made a while ago… Remember the Peanut Butter Throwdown?  Oh yeah you still have a few more days to enter the giveaway

Well I was super excited to made dessert for that gathering.  And thus this was born:

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White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

1 cup White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy (a few minutes).  Add half and half and whisk until combined.  Transfer to a saucepan, turn flame on to medium/low.  Continue to stir until mixtures starts to thicken (about 10 minutes).  Lastly, stir in white chocolate wonderful peanut butter and stir until combined.

Keep stirring until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Then chill for bit until mixture is cold.  Put in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.    Just before ice cream is done, drop in white chocolate chips.  Freeze for a few more hours to set, then serve!

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I had to give this away for fear that I would eat the whole thing in a day.  True story.   It doesn’t matter how sugar loaded I am, there’s always room for ice cream.  Don’t you think?

So go ahead and make this.  Think of me and the fact that my birthday is on Tuesday.

Also, Don’t forget to enter the Peanut Butter & Co. Giveaway to win 6 free jars of Peanut Butter!  Click here to enter!  Don’t be a meany! Share it with your friends so they can get some peanut butter love too!

Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

When a friend comes to visit from across the country, they deserve a treat.  When a friend says she wants a dessert with bacon, you oblige and make these:

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My friend Liz loves bacon more than anyone I know.  We have that bond of former roommates so I know the lady loves meat  (no pun intended, get your mind out of the gutter).

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Lucky for her, bacon in dessert is totally having a moment, or is that just me?  If you haven’t had bacon in a dessert yet, you need to try it asap.  Start with these cookies…

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Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 slices of bacon, fat reserved
1/4 cup softened butter
*
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted PB)
1 cup chocolate chips

In a pan, fry bacon over medium heat until very crispy.  Reserve fat and allow to cool completely.  Chop bacon and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Beat together butter, peanut butter and bacon fat (*note if you don’t want to use bacon fat, you can just use 1/2 cup of butter and omit the bacon fat).  Add sugar and beat for an additional minute or two.  Add egg and beat for an additional minute.  Add flour and baking soda (and salt if using) and beat until almost combined.  Lastly, fold in chopped bacon and chocolate chips.

Form dough into walnut-sized balls, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden on the edges.  Allow to cool completely and serve!  Makes about 2 dozen cookies (or maybe more… I wouldn’t know because I ate a ton of the cookie dough).

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If your friend loves bacon but isn’t a fan of peanut butter… not to worry, I have a solution for you:

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Bacon Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not into cookies (we won’t talk about how blasphemous that is…) but feeling the need to put bacon in a dessert?  How about this Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon?

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Equally delicious and bacon-y.

How do you feel about bacon in desserts? Do you love it? Hate it? Is it over-rated? Never tried it?  Tell me!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie in a Pretzel Crust

This blog post was original a dramatic complaint about how my life isn’t perfect.  I just re-read it, and I feel dumb, capricious and immature.  Because I realize all the things I worry about are trivial.  There are far more serious things in life than the fact that I have a pile of student loan debt, a mean comment from a reader or a little bit of back pain.

Last week, I thought I was having a terrible week.  Things kept going wrong, or so it seemed.  But I was wrong.

This week is far more terrible, because terrible things didn’t happen to me.  They happened to my loved ones, and that is a million times worse.

So in those moments when I feel like my life is crumbling, like a pie crust that doesn’t have enough water to help it stick together, food is important.  Those moments are when pie is essential.

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Really though.

Even if you don’t eat it, because by now I know turning to food when things aren’t going well is wrong, make the pie and give it away.

Give it to a loved one who isn’t having the best day, or a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time.

Pie doesn’t heal all wounds, but it helps.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie in a Pretzel Crust

1 1/4 cup of pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth natural
4 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp strawberry jam

First make your crust by mixing together pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar.  Press into a 9” pie dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.

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Next, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Beat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until if holds firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until combined.  Set aside.

Beat remaining 1 cup of whipped cream.  Once it start to form peaks, add in 3 tbsp of strawberry jam.  If you want to avoid clump, blend your jam before adding it to the whipped cream.  Set aside.

Next assemble the pie.  Spread half of the jam on the bottom of the pie crust.  If it’s hard to spread, feel free to add a little water or blend it to make it smooth.  Next spread on half the peanut butter mixture, then another layer with remaining jam. Top with remaining peanut butter mixture.  Transfer whipped cream to piping bag and pipe strawberry whipped cream onto the pie, alternatively you can just spread it.

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Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and serve cold to someone special.

This is comfort food to the max, because sometimes we need a little comfort and a big hug.