October 28, 2012

The Best Reese's Peanut Butter Cake EVER!



It's a bold statement, I know -- "Best Reese's Peanut Butter Cake EVER!".  But I stand firmly behind my assertion that you'd be hard pressed to find a more delicious Reese's Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake than this one.  Inspired by a few different Reese's cakes I saw online, I used my own recipes from my boutique cakerie days to create this four-layered fantasy of chocolate and peanut butter.  I started with my signature sour cream fudge cake, a wonderfully moist and chocolatey cake that balances perfectly with the not-too-sweet peanut butter frosting.  The chocolate frosting is cocoa based, so it too isn't too cloyingly sweet, leaving room for the Reese's chunks to shine through and take center stage.

Read to begin?  Let's go...



Best Reese's Peanut Butter Cake EVER

Flour Shop Signature Sour Cream Fudge Cake:  This is a perfect cake for stacking and sculpting because of its tight crumb and firm structure. (makes two 9" rounds) 


  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup regular sour cream
  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee

Foolproof Chocolate Frosting
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream (for the glaze at the very end of the recipe)

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar

2 12 oz. packages Reese's minis, unwrapped and chopped
(set 11 whole peanut butter cups aside for garnish)

For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Butter two 9" cake pans.  Line with parchment paper rounds, then butter the paper.  Dust the entire inside of the pans with cocoa powder.  Set aside.
  2. Sift dry ingredients into a mixer bowl.
  3. Beat in remaining ingredients one at a time on low.  Beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  4. Divide batter between the prepared pans.  Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.
  5. When pans are cool enough to handle, invert cake on a large cutting board.  Flip back over and allow to cool.  Wrap cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
 For the chocolate frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until smooth.  
  2. Scrape down sides, then add corn syrup (this gives the frosting it's luscious gloss) and vanilla and process until just combined. 
  3. Scrape sides of bowl, then add melted chocolate.  Pulse until smooth and creamy.  
  4. Frosting is ready to use.  Set aside 1 cup of frosting to use at the end of the recipe for a glaze.
Tip:  Your frosting may be too soft if you're working in a warm kitchen.  I advise opening some windows and working in a cool room.  However, if this is not possible, and your frosting seems too loose.  Allow it to spend some time in the refrigerator before use.
For the peanut butter frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a mixer, whip cream cheese, butter, peanut butter, and salt until combined.  On low speed, add confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time.
  2. Once sugar has been incorporated, bring speed up to high and whip until light and fluffy.  Note:  The ingredients may appear to separate at first.  Don't fret.  Continue to whip air into the frosting to emulsify the fats and achieve a smooth, fluffy texture (up to five minutes).
Tip:  A warm room can work against you when making frosting. If your frosting seems too loose or soft, it's likely that the temperature in the room where you're working is too warm.  Before proceeding to Step 2, refrigerate your frosting to allow it to cool (try 10 minutes, then check).  Once frosting has tightened, resume with whipping.
To assemble:  As with any cake assembly, you want to work in a cool room.  Cakes should be at least room temperature (even better if chilled). 
  1. Cut each cake in half for four even layers.  Place one of the bottom layers on a cardboard cake round.  It will help at this point to assemble the cake on a cake turntable or lazy susan.
  2. Spread half of the chocolate frosting evenly on the first layer.  Set second layer on top.
  3. On second layer, spread 1/2" of peanut butter frosting.  Sprinkle entire surface of frosting layer with chopped Reese's.  Lightly press the candy into the frosting.  Place third layer on top.
  4. Evenly spread the remaining chocolate frosting on the third layer.  Place the final layer of cake on top.  I recommend using one of the "bottom" pieces of cake and flipping it over so that the smooth bottom becomes the top of the cake. 
  5. Frost the entire cake with peanut butter icing, starting on the top, then working your way around the sides.  You'll likely have some peanut butter frosting left over.  Refrigerate and use as a dip for apples.
  6. Using a slightly cupped hand, press handfuls of chopped Reese's into the side of the cake.  
  7. Refrigerate for an hour, or until frosting is firm to the touch.
  8. To glaze the cake, heat the reserved cup of chocolate frosting till warm and pourable.  Stir in the two tablespoons of heavy cream to bring the temperature down.  When smooth and glossy, pour the chocolate glaze in the center of the cake.  With a small offset spatula, gently smooth the glaze toward the edges, allowing it to drip over slightly.
  9. Chop the reserved Reese's minis in half.  Garnish around the edges of the cake.  Chill until ready to serve.
 Make sure you have lots of milk to serve with the cake!     
ENJOY!
 


36 comments:

  1. This looks SOOOO yummy! Thank you!!

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  3. Thank you. I'd like to make this for the Creative Memories Scrapbook Retreat this weekend. I really enjoy checking your blog every day to see what 'tasty morsel' you've posted_and not just the edible kind ;D

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  4. Oh, gee whiz! This looks AWESOME! I'm pinning this for the recipe, so I can make it and pin it to my hips! LOL

    Kristy @ Shona Skye Creations
    http://shonaskye.blogspot.com

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  5. I think I just licked my screen! So delicious! Can you just make me one and ship it?:) You never seize to amaze me!

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  6. I am in Reeses heaven just looking at that divine cake!!!! This is seriously the most awesome looking cake ever!!!

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  7. oh jenn...that is so out of control...but in a good way! i know a few men in my life that would go "nuts" over this. thank you for sharing the chocolate cake recipe too..can't wait to give it a whirl!
    christy

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  8. Wow, that looks amazing! Reese's are my husbands favorite candy, I think I need to make this for our anniversary next week. Thanks for the recipe! :)

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  9. WOWWWW
    Such an amazing cake!!
    Sinful, rich and decadent = PERFECT
    I'm pinning this

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  10. I want to eat the whole thing. All of it. Now.

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  11. This looks totally scrumptious. Can't wait to try it. I pinned it. Blessings to you, Jo-Ann

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  12. FA B U L O U S !!!!!
    Cant wait to try it for a special birthday celebration.
    Looks sooooo good!

    Deborah ;)

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  13. This cake looks stunning! The chocolate fudge cake sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Visiting from DearCreatives.com

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  14. Jen.....you are so awesome...this looks fabulous...I'm going to email the link to my husband ~ he'll expect me to make this....I will laugh....slap my leg and then tell him sending him the picture was my way of sharing....baking this is not going to happen...{okay...I may make it for him but I'll let him pout for a while!} I'm sure my version will be no where as awesome or beautiful as yours but this looks so good I need to at least try!

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  15. Wow Jenn!! This looks amazing!! You always have such great instructions too - thanks for that!!

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  16. That looks amazing - delicious and beautiful, all in one! Can you just make one for me? :)

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  17. In the instructions to make the chocolate frosting you say to add cocoa to the food processor but you don’t have cocoa listed as an ingredient under "foolproof chocolate frosting". How much cocoa do you need for the chocolate frosting?

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  18. Whew, thanks so much for catching that, luvlucy18! I've updated the recipe to reflect the 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

    Good save!

    Jenn

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  19. This cake looks amazing, I've pinned it and I'm definately going to make it. I love chocolate and peanut butter and this cake looks absolutely divine.

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  20. Holy wow, Jenn!! My father would flip over this cake. It looks spectacular!! Adding it to my cake arsenal for sure. :)

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  21. My son's favorite chocolate treat is Reese's peanut butter cups. His 20th birthday is coming up and I asked him to choose what kind of birthday cake I could bake for him. He said, 'Is there some kind of Reese's Peanut Butter cake you can make?' Ta-da! Found it! I will be making this cake for him and I'm sure he's going to loooove it! Thank you:)

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  22. My peanut butter icing seemed like it was separating; very crumbly. I saved it by adding more icing sugar and some corn syrup but then it was more like a fondant. Any suggestions for next time?

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    1. When whipping a lot of high fat items together,the fats sometimes separate during the process. However, by continuing to whip air into the mixture, the fats and other ingredients gradually emulsify and come back together. I remember the first time I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and after adding the butter to the warm meringue, I thought I had "broken" it when the mixture seemed to curdle. I was surprised that the additional whipping made the whole thing lighter and fluffier than ever. I'm going to edit the recipe to include a warning that the frosting could appear to separate, but to keep whipping. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention!

      Jenn

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    2. Help! My peanut butter frosting now looks like oatmeal - it never got smooth, despite my persistent whipping. I tried adding more confectioner's sugar too. Do you think if I chill it, then whip again - it will fix itself? Or do I have to start over?

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    3. Help! My peanut butter frosting looks like oatmeal now. It never got smooth despite my persistent whipping. I tried adding more confectioner's sugar with no luck. Do you think I can chill it and then try whipping again? Or should I start over? Thanks!

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    4. Update: I did end up chilling the frosting overnight and whipped it in the morning, and it was fine! I read another one of your posts where you were talking about it being too hot. I think I left the ingredients on the counter too long before mixing, and they were not cold enough. We're going to have the cake tonight for my husband's birthday, so I will report back. I still need to do the last step of chocolate icing. I don't bake too often, so I appreciate your detailed instructions! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

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  23. This cake sounds awesome!!! My hubby love Reese's and I plan on making it this week for his b-day. I am so excited I might to it today lol I just wonder if the chocolate poured on top makes it to rich with the cake being chocolate.... I am torn. Has anyone tried it?

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  24. I made this for my boyfriend's birthday. It didn't look near a pretty as yours, but it tasted amazing! His exact words were "this tastes dangerous, it's too good" :)

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  25. Can I make this without using the hot coffee? If so what can I substitute?

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  26. Can I make this without the hot coffee in the cake?

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    1. Hi Kirstine, you can definitely make the cake without the coffee. However, it's there to boost the chocolate flavor -- an old baker's trick. The cake will not taste like coffee -- just deep, rich chocolate. However, I know that some people don't drink coffee because of the caffeine or for religious reasons and I respect that. The hot coffee can simply be substituted with hot water.

      Best,
      Jenn

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  27. I made this cake yesterday for my sons birthday and it was a HUGE hit! My cake did turn out a little dense but other than that AWESOME! It took me about 3 hours to make it but worth every bite! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  28. Hello,
    Ive made this for my husband for his 24th birthday cause he LOVES reases peanut butter cups and mine didnt turn out as i planed and i followed it to a tee and it kept falling apart and the pb cups and the peanut butter frosting kept sliding off the cake and the "fool proof chocolate frosting" made me look like a fool :( it was to buttery next time im not using that much butter ill use less :) but i love the cake part that was fun to make and thank you for sharing with us! but it made me sad when it was sliding down the cake i thought i did somthing wrong!!! :(

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    1. Hi Sara, I'm so sorry to hear that the cake didn't turn out as you had hoped (and that my post promises). I've made the cake several times, following my own recipes, so I'm not sure what went wrong. It sounds like all of the problems had to do with temperature, since the result was that everything was too soft and buttery. I'm wondering if perhaps the kitchen was warm, or the cakes weren't chilled long enough in the refrigerator. Back in my cake sculpting days, the biggest problem I faced was warm weather. My worst cake disaster happened when I was sculpting a Mrs. Potts cake on an insanely warm day. Just as you described, the frosting slid right off, even though it was the same frosting I had used for ages. The cake was chilled too. The Chocolate Frosting is a Cook's Illustrated recipe that I've used for years, and I know it has gone through rigorous testing on their end. I hope that you'll perhaps give the recipes a try some day, when a special occasion is not at stake. I would hate for this unfortunate fluke, to sour you to this wonderful cake or cause you to lose confidence in my recipes. I really appreciate your letting me know what happened. Kindly, Jenn

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  29. Hi Jenn,

    I am not sure if you are still checking posts on this cake, but if you are could you tell me if I should adjust the recipe for high altitude? Also, what is a good kitchen temperature? It is winter so I can adjust the thermometer accordingly. Thanks so much!

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I enjoy hearing from you! Thank you so much for taking the time to be part of the creative and positive spirit here at Rook No. 17! xoxo Jenn

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