I might have mentioned here before that I really love our birthday parties at work. We have the best Big Girl birthday parties, ever. And I don't mean that in a naughty way - well some of the gifts might be borderline risque. The team I work with is really fabulous, and we genuinely enjoy working together. So on our birthdays, we go all out. Lots of presents (great loot!) and our favorite cake to enjoy and share.
Well, last week was a co-workers birthday, but she was in Cuba on a mission trip, so we delayed the celebration until today. I volunteered to bake her cake. She loves German Chocolate, so I was all set to make that. And since I am in the very beginning of a serious, committed health challenge, and I don't like GC, that would have been the best choice.
Then she mentioned on Facebook that her daughter had a homemade German Chocolate cake waiting for her when she got home from her trip. I changed my plan. I had already considered another, sinfully decadent cake. My friend loves chocolate and Reese cups, and I've had this recipe for years, so what a perfect marriage into a cake??
This recipe came from Family Circle magazine. I ripped out the page, but it was at least 5 years ago and I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity.
Peanut Butter Fudge Cake, surprisingly, finds its base in a Devil's Food cake mix. Instead of using the called-for water, the recipe uses buttermilk. As an aside, if you do have to use a cake mix - always, always use buttermilk. It really makes the end result more homemade-tasting. The magic in this cake is the 2 cups of chopped Reese cups in the batter. That's an 8 ounce bag, minus 3 or 4 that fell on the floor (for less than 5 seconds). As always, I measured my layers by weight so they would all be the same size, give or take 1/10 of an ounce.
My co-workers tease me about the measuring now. Instead of asking me if I baked a cake, they ask "have you measured any layers recently"? Ha ha. But the layers look beautiful, and there is usually no leveling required. I don't like splitting layers, so I just use 3 pans.
The icing was a dark chocolate, peanut butter ganache. Oh. My. I ended up doubling the recipe,
so I would have plenty to eat afterward since I went with 3 layers, instead of two. I didn't have enough dark chocolate, so I used semi-sweet to make up the difference. I had never made a ganache. Just the name intimidated me, I thought it would be really difficult. Turns out, not hard at all. Impressively easy. Basically you just heat the cream to boiling, then pour over the chocolate and whisk it all til smooth. Then I added the creamy peanut butter and all done. Smooth, silky and delicious! And, to my benefit, I used almost all the frosting. There was just enough for tasting at the end - and it was divine.
The cake was a big hit. Very, very rich. Tasted expensive - know what I mean? The layers were light, and good thing because the chocolate icing was silky and melt-in-your-mouth oh so good. Delicious!
Now that you are drooling sufficiently, here is the recipe. Enjoy!!
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line with waxed paper; coat paper.
In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high; beat for 2 minutes, scraping down side of the bowl after 1 minute. Fold in 2 cups of the chopped peanut butter cups.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 34 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let layers cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto wire racks and cool completely.
Place chopped dark chocolate in a medium-size bowl. Bring cream just to a boil and pour over chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts. Add peanut butter and whisk until smooth.
Trim top of cake layers flat with a serrated knife. Put 1 cake layer on cooling rack and place on a baking sheet. Pour 1 cup frosting on top; spread evenly with a spatula. Top with remaining cake layer. Pour remaining frosting over the top, allowing it to spill over the sides. Smooth top and sides with spatula. Refrigerate 1 hour to set. Transfer cake to serving plate and garnish with chopped candy, if desired.