Today I feel lucky for several reasons: my husband, my life, my job...but most importantly the fact that I am not a chocolate craver. I do not particularly love peanut butter either. Growing up in Italy my addiction was Nutella (which is not chocolate, as many of my American friends claim. It's nutmeg cream! That's very different!) but I had never had peanut butter until my 20s, when travelling and living abroad made me acquaintant with it. Now I like it but I definitely do not look for it or rush to the store because of a craving. Ain't I lucky? This should be enough to avoid losing shape (altought, it turns out, this is not true).
Then why did I decide to make this cake today? Well, every day I ask Wally "What would you like for dinner?" or "What would you like me to bake?". Usually the answer is "I don't know...you are the cook" or just "Something yummy". This doesn't really help me decide. But yesterday evening I asked for a more specific question "Which ingredients should there be in the cake?" and the answer was a decise "Chocolate and peanut butter". Wow...we are improving, Amore. So, here is it: a chocholate peanut butter cake. I have looked online for hours before deciding that this was the cake I wanted to bake, the cake with the right combination of chocolate and peanut butter. I might even like this cake! ooppsss goodbye diet.
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)
Peanut butter frosting (makes 1 1/2-2 batches):
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
mini Reese’s cups, halved and/or chopped
Preheat the oven to 350° and prepare two 9×2” round cake pans with cooking spray and parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups.) Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.
Peanut butter frosting
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
Inspiration: Smells Like Home