Reese’s Cake

My friend Mac recently had a birthday.  His request?  A peanut butter cup cake.

Challenge accepted.

So I browsed through my collection of cake recipes and thought about my plan of attack.  I decided that what I wanted was a two layer chocolate cake with a layer of peanut butter frosting in the middle and a crown of tiny peanut butter cups on the top.

I picked my go-to chocolate cake recipe, a coffee chocolate layer cake from Bon Appetit.  I made a slight modification in that I substituted the espresso powder for more cocoa powder.

Then, I took a bit of a shortcut and bought a tin of whipped white frosting from the store, which I mixed with a half cup of peanut butter.   A bag of tiny Reese’s peanut butter cups and a cup of homemade chocolate ganache completed the line up.

Assembly: bake the cake as specified in the recipe below.  Let cool thoroughly.  Spread most of the frosting mixture on the top of the first cake, reserving a good sized dollop for the top.  Sprinkle the frosting with a handful of miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups (you can find the wrapper-less, tiny ones in the baking or candy aisle at your supermarket).  Place the other cake on top.  Pour the warm ganache over the top.  Let it cool for a minute or so and then add the last dollop of frosting in the center.  Finally, place the rest of the tiny peanut butter cups all around the edge of the cake, and pile a few in the center as well.  Yum!

Chocolate Cake
from Bon Appetit

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.

Sift 2 cups cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add hot espresso-water mixture, beating just until smooth.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; lift pans off cakes and remove parchment. Place wire rack atop each cake; invert again so top side is up. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature.

Basic Chocolate Ganache
from Chow

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes.
Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly before using.



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