Chocolate Peanut Butter Lover’s Cake

Chocolate and peanut butter are just one of those universal combinations that people seem to go nuts over…which is probably why Reese’s peanut butter cups are so stinkin’ popular.  Well, I decided to make this into a cake, for your drooling pleasure.  I made this cake for a big family reunion that we recently went to.  In fact, I wasn’t even going to make a cake this year for the reunion, but one of my mom’s cousins emailed her, asking if her daughter was going to make one of her amazing cakes.  Um, yeah, that plastered an ear-to-ear smile across my face…so I decided to make this one.  This is a 9 inch 3 layer dark chocolate cake with peanut butter chips, peanut butter icing in between the layers, and covered with chocolate icing.  Oh, and then decorated with MORE peanut butter icing, chocolate syrup, and mini Reese’s peanut butter cups.  After I decorated this, I stood in the kitchen, staring at it and saying out loud,  “Wow.  Just, wow.”

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At the reunion when people started getting in line for the food, I noticed several people avoiding that long lunch line and heading straight for the dessert table, picking out what they wanted.  Within five minutes, I looked over and saw that almost half of this cake was gone.  So, my mom and I went to find her cousin that emailed her to let her know that she may want to go ahead and get a piece of the cake, especially since she was the reason I made it in the first place.  She hurried over to the table and grabbed a piece.  The sister cupcake to this cake would be the Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes, which is one of the most popular flavored cupcakes that I make.

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At this reunion, there is a quite large dessert table, and every year that large dessert table is packed.  Packed!  Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, cobblers, cake balls…you name it, and it’s probably there.  I also made some Candy Sushi and took that as well.  The end result?  Both of them were polished off…and I mean completely gone.  Wiped out.  The cake board was only left with bits of crumbs and a little bit of icing…and the candy sushi platter was totally empty.  No evidence of any sushi existing on this platter here, folks.  This made me happy, especially considering the fact that I already told my mom I wasn’t taking any of this stuff home if there were leftovers.  Problem solved!

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This was the cake I made for last year’s reunion.  It was huge.  And Neapolitan.  It’s a 12 inch 3 layer cake, the bottom is chocolate, the middle is strawberry, and the top is vanilla.  The numbers and letters are made out of chocolate, and the flowers are made out of royal icing.  It’s layered and covered with cream cheese icing.  I think next year for the reunion, I may make an Oreo Cake, or maybe the White Almond Cake with Bavarian Crème Filling and Truffle Icing.  Decisions, decisions.

For the Cake:

1 box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix

1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

1 bag peanut butter chips

1 bag unwrapped mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first six ingredients in medium bowl, beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in peanut butter chips.  Divide evenly between greased three 9 inch round cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on cooling racks in pans for 10-15 minutes, turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before layering, covering and decorating.

For the Peanut Butter Icing:

2 lbs. powdered sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup shortening

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup water

combine first three ingredients and beat with electric mixer at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, until mixture is creamy and smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and continue to beat at medium speed for another 3-4 minutes until creamy.  Spoon half of mixture between cake layers, use remaining peanut butter icing to decorate bottom and top of cake.

For the Chocolate Icing:

2 cans Duncan Hines Classic Chocolate Icing

For the Chocolate Syrup:

Take a little big of leftover chocolate icing and add a small amount of chocolate syrup, stirring to desired consistency.  Pipe or drizzle over cake.

Chocolate Covered Reese’s Stuffed Oreos

Wow, that’s a long name.  Well worth it though, considering all of the chocolate and yumminess inside.  When I made these, my brother and friend were at my house.  They were in another room, chatting away, with no clue as to what I was doing in the kitchen.  I figured it would be best to surprise them when I was finished.  My brother was getting ready to walk out the door when I stopped him, a big glob of chocolate on a paper towel in my hand, holding it out for him.  He immediately took it and looked at it.  “What is it?” he asked.  “Don’t worry, you’ll like it,” I responded.  He said, “Well, I’m sure I’ll like it, but what is it?”  “Just take a bite and you’ll see.”  It’s a good thing he trusts me.  He took a bite, and looked at the inside.  When I explained exactly what was inside the big glob of chocolate in his hand as he gobbled away, he looked at me and said, “I outta beat you for giving me this.  I guess this is lunch AND dinner!”  He still finished it off, and I got a good chuckle out of it.  When my friend ate it, she said, “This is STUPID good.”  I’m going to take that as a compliment.

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First, get your ingredients.  Double Stuf Oreo cookies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and dark chocolate melting wafers.  That’s it, just three ingredients.  Separate the Oreos, disgarding the side of the cooke that doesn’t have the cream.  Or, save it for something else.  Or, just eat it.

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Sandwich one of the peanut butter cups in between two of the cream-coated Oreo cookies.

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Melt your chocolate wafers in 15 second intervals in microwave safe dish (I use a coffee cup or glass measuring cup), stirring in between each interval.  Dip each cookie in melted chocolate using tongs, then place on wax paper for chocolate to harden.

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Eat, and enjoy.  Beware, because it’s a LOT of chocolate and tends to be quite rich…but I noticed that after I gobbled one down, I was talking myself out of eating another one and just staying away.  It worked long enough for them to get out of the house.  Whew!

Candy Bar Cheesecake Brownie

Four glorious words, all rolled into one delicious dessert.  I like it.  I originally found this recipe in the Philadelphia recipe book, a book filled with tons and tons of recipes using Philadelphia cream cheese.  I love cooking and baking with cream cheese!  This is one of my favorite recipe books to look through, because there are SO many recipes that I want to try.  A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law made the no-bake oreo cheesecake and brought it over to our house.  It was crazy good, so I asked her where she got the recipe and she told me about the book.  The next time we went over to visit, I saw the book and started flipping through it, oohhing and aaahing at so many of the recipes that I couldn’t keep up with how many I wanted to try.  As soon as I got home, the book was ordered.  It really seems like every time I open this book, something else jumps out of the page that I want to make…so this book alone should keep me busy for a while.

Anyway, I was excited about trying out this recipe, but wanted to add something to it.  I thought about Oreos, which would be a great option here, but since I’ve used Oreos in so many other desserts, the thought of a candy bar broken up and thrown in with this would be a great option.  Ohh, peanut butter cups would be another really good option.  In fact, you could add peanut butter chips to the brownie mix, then chopped up peanut butter cups to the cheesecake batter…my brother would be in heaven.  This time though, I kept it simple.  While shopping at the grocery store for ingredients, I wondered how many Snickers bars I would need.  I grabbed two…it didn’t seem like it would be enough, so two more on top of that were added to my buggy.  As the cashier was ringing up my items, she asked, “Doing some baking?”  I smiled.  “Yeah, you could say that.”

After I cut these delicious little boogers into squares and put them onto plates, they didn’t seem like they had enough (like they ever do).  As I started rummaging through the fridge, I came across chocolate syrup.  “Oh yeah!” and grabbed it.  There’s the caramel sauce.  “Perfect!”  Then, I came across the Cool Whip.  “Oh, yeah baby.  Awesome.”  In case you’re wondering, I DO talk to myself.  Out loud.  Regularly.

The end result was heavenly.  I’m a huge fan of cheesecake…and brownies…and Snickers…and chocolate… Okay, so I’m a fan of everything here in this dessert.  Surprise, surprise.  If you don’t like Snickers, just pick another candy bar to chop up and throw in the batter.  I chose to use the chocolate and caramel sauces to go along with the Snickers flavors, and even throwing a couple of peanuts on top.  Perfection on a plate.

Recipe:

1 package brownie mix (19 to 21 oz.)

4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

3 eggs

4 candy bars, chopped into chunks (I used Snickers for this recipe)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Prepare brownie batter as directed on package, pour into prepared pan.  Bake 25 minutes, or until top of brownie is shiny and center is almost set.  Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Add sour cream, mix well.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.  Add candy bar chunks and gently stir.  Gently pout over brownie layer in pan.  Bake approximately 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set.  Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen side of dessert from pan, cool.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Cut into squares, drizzle with chocolate syrup, caramel sauce and top with whipped topping.  Store any leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

*While baking cheesecake in oven, put water in a pan underneath the cheesecake during the baking process.  This keeps moisture in the air during the baking process, preventing the cheesecake from cracking.

Like this?  Try these!

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

S’mores Candy Bar

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies