A succulent layer of peanut butter cheesecake wedged between two layers of moist chocolate cake and smothered in fudgy Reese frosting. Like peanut butter cups? This cake is for you. It’s a Reese Cup in cake form!
I’ve never been one to walk up to someone and introduce myself, make conversation, and walk away with a friend. I’ve done that twice in my whole twenty-four years of life. Granted those interactions did result in two of the very best friends any girl could ask for (so maybe there’s something to be said for the stalk-and-talk method), but I’ve always found them difficult. Since I’ve moved to Australia, it’s been a little lonely at times. I’m a homebody most of the time, and I like it that way, but even recluses like myself need social interaction on occasion. Not having university classes to attend or any luck finding a job, I haven’t been presented with much opportunity to make friends the ways I usually do. So I was stoked when my brother said he’d be coming to visit my boyfriend and I for a month!
Over the past week, I’ve shown him a few of the sights Canberra offers its tourists. It’s been fun playing tour guide and taking him to the national museum, Questacon, and to the long list of fabulous restaurants I have carefully cultivated over the past nine months. It’s been a grand ol’ time. Tomorrow we’re heading to Cairns to check out the Barrier Reef! I’m very excited. The Reef has been on my bucket list of places to visit for a very long time; I’m doubly pleased to be able to share this experience with my little brother.
But let’s talk about cake now, shall we?
Yesterday was my brother’s nineteenth birthday! It’s a big birthday in British Columbia, because nineteen is the age at which you’re finally legal. You can drink, you can buy a house, and you can get up to all sorts of impropriety. Not that my brother would, of course. He’s got a squeaky clean image to uphold. But we did take him out for a nice dinner at Jamie’s Italian, bought him his very first legal drink, and I made this monstrously delicious cheesecake cake!
When I asked him what sort of cake he’d like for his birthday, he told me “chocolate.” Great. How boring. So I jazzed it up a little, as you do. What we have here is a layer of peanut butter cheesecake sandwiched between two beautifully moist layers of rich chocolate cake. Slather the thing in fudgy Reese frosting, toss on a few peanut butter cups for good measure, and you have one hell of a tasty dessert!
I can’t take all the credit here. The idea for this cake spawned when I saw Amanda’s (iambaker.net) decadent Root Beer Cheesecake Cake. Originally, I was simply going to make her cake for my brother, but he really loves Reese Cups, so I make a peanut butter version instead. The chocolate cake recipe comes from Joy the Baker’s cookbook, Homemade Decadence. I’m not entirely confident in my cake recipe development yet, so I wasn’t ready to do some crazy experimenting on my brother’s birthday cake. Maybe next year!
This combination is to-die-for! Joy’s chocolate cake is moist, super decadent, and everything you want from a good, sturdy chocolate cake. The peanut butter cheesecake layer is the bomb. Seriously, if you make no other part of this cake, just make the cheesecake layer and it eat it straight up. From the pan. With a fork. Or without a fork, we’re not judging here. And if you’re an I-don’t-care-about-the-cake-gimme-a-bowl-of-frosting person, you will die when you taste this frosting. It tastes exactly like a Reese Cup and complements the two layers incredibly well. You feel like you’re eating a humongous Reese Cup when you eat this cake. It’s delicious and you should try it immediately.
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my brother did. He had two slices. Okay, we all had two slices. And then we were ill for the remainder of the evening, but our tummies were oh so happy.
Bonne fête, little bro!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake
Inspired by I am baker.
For the cheesecake:
- 380g cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
For the cake:
- One recipe two-layer chocolate cake of your choice*
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
MAKE THE CHEESECAKE LAYER: Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F) and grease an 8″ spring-form tin with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and peanut butter and beat together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and cream it into the peanut butter mixture until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir the vanilla and cream into the mixture and pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the cake is mostly solid with a slight jiggle at the middle. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the cheesecake layer until ready to assemble.**
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE CAKE LAYERS: Prepare your cake layers according to the recipe’s instructions and set aside to cool completely before assembling and frosting.
MAKE THE FROSTING: In a large bowl (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla, cream, and maple syrup until combined. Sift the icing sugar, one cup at a time, into the mixture and mix on a low speed until thickened. Sift in the cocoa powder and mix on a low speed until incorporated. Set aside.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Decide which cake layers will be the bottom and the top. Dollop a tiny amount of frosting on a cake stand or Lazy Susan and set the bottom cake layer on top. The bit of frosting will hold the cake in place while you frost. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of the bottom layer and then place the cheesecake layer on top. Spread another thin layer of frosting on top of the cheesecake layer and then place the second cake layer on top. Use the remainder of the frosting to frost the entire cake. If desired, top with halved Reese Cups and dark chocolate shavings.
- *I used Joy the Baker’s 3-Layer Basic Chocolate Cake recipe from her book Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats. I used the rest of the batter to make a batch of cupcakes!
- **If necessary, the cheesecake layer can be made 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble.
This cake took me most of a day to complete! I think it has to have been my biggest cake challenge yet. What’s the biggest baking challenge you’ve taken on?