Friday, April 4, 2008

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake with Cream Cheese and Butterfinger Frosting

My family never celebrates anything on the correct date. Like, seriously, my immediate family is allergic to pre-set schedules. I don't even think my parents own a calendar. It kind of drives me crazy in a way, but I'm used to it by this point. Their constant spontaneity has turned me into a little bit of an OVERplanner.

It's refreshing in a way. To know that they live life by their seat of the pants. A lot of people are too scared to do that (me). A lot of people like to know when they aren't going to be in town in advance so they can pre-plan the previous weeks in preparation for the trip(me).

Anyway... long story short. My family celebrated Easter one weekend after Easter. Ham, deviled eggs, the whole bit. Strangely missing were easter baskets, but whatever. I'm 28, I'm not going to complain about that. Too much.

So, family get togethers are awesome for me, because I get to make a full-size recipe of something decadent. I searched through my recipe folder and came across this recipe. It was noted as being from Bon Appetit originally. But, I'm sure I got this recipe from someone else's blog. Unfortunately, I didn't put that blog link on the recipe (like I usually do).

I really enjoyed making this cake. I made it in about 3 different stages in about 3 different days and I eagerly anticipated the final day... putting all the delicious components together. But, I think I had overloaded on all the individual components to the point where the final product wasn't as awesome as I had expected it to be. It was delicious, don't get me wrong. But, not quite as delicious as I thought it was going to be.

A few notes on the cake: It's supposed to be a 3 layer cake, but I only have two cake pans, so I made it a two layer cake. For whatever reason, I didn't split the filling recipe in half though, which is why my filling is SO thick. But, it was good that it was thick, because it wasn't too rich at all. My cakes seriously feel in the centers, as you can tell by the cake. I probably should have ran my knife along the edges as soon as I pulled it from the oven and I probably should have leveled the layers out with a serrated knife. Life and Learn.

Anyway, this cake is really good (the peanut butter cake is very light in peanut flavor, I think I would add more peanut butter next time, but it's so moist!) and though it seems kind of daunting, it's totally not.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Cream Cheese and Butterfinger Frosting

Begin preparing the cake one day before.

2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
12 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used semi sweet chips)
1/2 cup old-fashioned (natural) chunky peanut butter (I used smooth JIF)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup old fashioned (natural) chunky peanut butter
1 pound brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature (basically 12 oz of cream cheese)
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
6 tbps unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
Butterfinger candy bars, coarsely chopped

For filling:
Bring cream and sugar to simmer in saucepan, whisking to dissolve sugar (this took me a LONG time, I dont think I had the heat up enough to start). Remove from heat. Add chocolate; let stand 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in peanut butter. Chill uncovered overnight.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9 inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2 inch high sides. Line bottoms with Parchment paper (I then buttered the parchment paper, too). Sift first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until blended. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. At low speed, beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions.

Divide batter among pans and spread evenly. Bake cakes until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes 5 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment paper. Cool cakes completely.

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Whisk whipping cream and 3/4 cup powdered sugar in bowl until mixture holds medium-firm peaks. Fold into cream cheese mixture in 3 additions; chill until firm but spreadable, about one hour.

Place one cake layer, bottom side up, on a 9 inch round tart pan bottom. Spread half of filling. Place another layer, bottom side up, on work surface. Spread with remaining filling; place atop first layer. Top with remaining cake layer, bottom side up.

Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before continuing). Press candy onto top and sides of cake.

Makes 12 servings
Bon Appetit