Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

This cake, THIS CAKE, is unlike any other cake I have ever made.  It is a cake, within a cake, that has surprises throughout...good surprises like caramel, peanut butter cups, and peanuts...oh yes, it crazy rich, but soooo delicious!

Usually I am all for easy, fast, economical, or all of the above.  This cake is not any of those things; however, for the holidays I am willing to splurge for a dessert that makes the entire family drool in anticipation.  I served this for a dessert party that my sister-in-law hosted after Thanksgiving and it was a hit for everyone who tried it.  At one point three of us were standing around what was left eating bites with our forks and visiting.

I found this recipe by complete accident when I stumbled upon the blog Sprinkle Bakes.  If you have not seen this blog, go there right now and check out the many, many, many, tasty and beautiful recipes.  I made a few changes to the original recipe but nothing that changed it too much.  A few pointers:

1. You need time to make this cake so plan accordingly
2. Read the recipe a few times before starting it!
3. Use good quality chocolate to make the ganache and chocolate curls (check out this video for a how to on making the curls
4. Take the cake out of the freezer about 15 minutes before slicing, and use a hot butcher knife to cut through the multiple layers.
5. Last but not least, ENJOY!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake
Recipe Source: modified slightly from Sprinkle Bakes

**Cook's note...store this cake in the freezer.  The multiple layers will start to collapse if it gets too soft**

Crustless Cheesecake portion:
30 mini peanut butter cups, each one quartered
2 sticks (16 tbsp) softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4- 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1- 3 oz. package cook and serve vanilla pudding
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9" pans with shortening, line the pans with parchment and then grease the parchment. Lightly flour the pans and tap out excess over the sink. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add cream cheese a little at a time until smooth. Scrape bowl down and beat again on medium speed, adding eggs one at a time. Add remaining ingredients except peanut butter cups. Mix again until smooth.

With a rubber spatula, fold in quartered peanut butter cups. Divide batter evenly between pans. You should have 8 cups of batter, so 4 cups in each pan. Smooth batter with offset spatula (Fig.1) and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour. Cheesecake will puff up during baking, then deflate when taken out.

Do not turn out cheesecakes when they are finished baking. Put them directly in the freezer, and leave until frozen solid.

Turn out frozen cheesecake layers and peel parchment from the bottoms. Line the pan they were in with enough parchment or wax paper to hang over the sides of the pan (Fig. 3). Place the cheesecakes back in the pans. This makes removal FAR more easy after caramel layer has been added. Place cheesecakes back into the freezer while you make the caramel layer.

Caramel for cake layers:
 2-14 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
10 tbsp. butter
80 caramels
Scant cup of salted peanut halves

Important note: This recipe is made in two batches (one batch for the cheesecakes and one batch for the chocolate cakes), so all of the ingredients are divided.

In a large microwaveable bowl, place 1- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, 5 tbsp. butter, and 40 caramels. Heat at 1 minute intervals until smooth. My household microwave at full power took about 4 minutes.

Pour caramel evenly over frozen layers of cheesecakes. Be careful to not let much of the caramel drip over the sides. Sprinkle each layer with 3-4 tbsp. of salted peanut halves. Return cheesecake layers to freezer.

Chocolate cake portion:
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of coffee - must be hot!

Grease 2- 9" pans with butter and line with parchment. Grease parchment and lightly flour pan, tapping out excess. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. In a 4 cup glass measure, mix all the wet ingredients except hot coffee!

Turn mixer on low speed and gradually add wet ingredients to dry. Stop and scrape down the bowl. Return mixer to low speed and beat in hot coffee. The mixture will be very thin but don't worry!

Divide batter evenly between the two pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes (check at 35). Cake is ready when toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool slightly in pans. Run knife around the edge of cakes and turn them out. Let them rest on a cooling rack.

When cool, level cakes. . Line cake pans with parchment or wax paper, enough to hang over the edges (just like previously with the cheesecake layers). Return cake layers to parchment lined pans.

Make 2nd batch of caramel as directed for the cheesecake layer. Pour caramel evenly over both chocolate cake layers.  Place caramel covered cakes in freezer until caramel has hardened a bit (about 15 minutes).

Remove all cake layers from freezer. Remove all cake layers from pans using the parchment overhang to pull them out. Stack layers beginning with 1 layer of chocolate cake as the bottom, then cheesecake layer, then chocolate layer, and last cheesecake layer will be on top. Wrap layers in plastic wrap and freeze overnight. You'll frost your cake the next day.

Chocolate ganache frosting:

13 oz. or 1 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tbsp. corn syrup
8 oz cream cheese softened

Note: Remove cheesecake layers from freezer and unwrap. Choose your serving plate and line it with wax paper strips. Place cake over strips. Now you're ready to frost.

Put chocolate chips in a medium bowl or 4 cup measure. Heat cream in a saucepan over medium high heat until very hot but not boiling. Pour hot cream over chips and stir until smooth. Remove 2/3 cup chocolate mixture and pour into a small bowl. Add 1/2 tbsp. corn syrup and stir. When combined, immediately pour over top of cake, creating a shiny dark topping and taking care that most remains on top of the cake and doesn't spill down the edges. Return cake, uncovered this time, to freezer.

Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment. Beat the softened cream cheese until light and airy then pour remaining chocolate ganache into the stand mixer bowl and whip on the highest speed for 5-10 minutes (I set my timer for 7 minutes) until icing is light and fluffy. Icing is ready when it is thick and can be pulled into a stiff peak.

Remove cake layers from freezer and frost sides with chocolate ganache using an offset spatula. The whipped frosting should grab on to the frozen cakes well. Use all the ganache frosting, evening the cake's surface as you work. Return to freezer

Chocolate curls:
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips -semisweet


11x14 cookie sheet

Small brownie spatula with a sharp edge - like this one

Melt chocolate chips at 30 second intervals in the microwave; stir until smooth. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Place in refrigerator for 5-7 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm and has a matte appearance.

Remove from refrigerator and let stand for a few minutes (3-5ish) at room temperature. With a small, sharp spatula, begin scraping chocolate at one edge in a thin strip. If chocolate breaks into pieces it is too cold, so allow it to stand a few minutes more at room temp. Chocolate should curl easily as you run your spatula under the chocolate and down the length of the cookie sheet. Place curls in a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready for use.

To garnish cake top with the chocolate curls.  If you want curls on the side of the cake, allow it to soften a few minutes then gently place on the sides of the cake.

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1 comment:

  1. this cake sounds crazy amazing! (And it looks lovely, too.) Will have to find a reason to make it!