Last month, Ian celebrated his THIRTIETH birthday. To celebrate, I baked him a 4-tiered, peanut butter cup cake. A lot of recipes online simply did chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting. But I wanted the cake itself to have chocolate & peanut butter combo. The result? Peanut butter goodness.
Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tb vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
Peanut Butter Buttercream
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 6-inch deep cake pans with unsalted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour. Gently rotate and tap the pan, until the entire pan is lightly coated with flour. Tap out the excess.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, buttercream, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Gently stir in boiling water until combined. Pour cake into prepared pans and bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove cakes and place on wire racks until completely cool. Turn cakes out. Slice each cake in the middle horizontally so you have 4 layers in total.
- While the cakes are baking, make the buttercream by whipping unsalted butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and continue to whip until creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, whipping on low speed until each addition is incorporated. Add salt, vanilla extract and whip until fluffy. Slowly add milk until desired consistency.
- Make the ganache – melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until glossy. Set aside to let cool slightly. (You could also make the ganache in a microwave by microwaving in 30-second intervals)
- Assemble the cake – put one cake layer on a cake board. Add some buttercream and smooth out. Repeat with additional layers until the final layer of cake is adhered. Spread the remaining buttercream on top and sides of cake, smooth out the cake as needed. Spoon cooled ganache over the top of the cake, and use a spoon to encourage the ganache to drip down the sides. Top with chopped peanut butter cups.
In college, one of my go-to quick desserts were mini pudding cups. I’d cut up a rolled-out pie crust and place them in a muffin tin and blind bake them. Meanwhile, I’d make chocolate pudding (from the box) and stuff the cups. It was super easy and looked quite impressive.
I have nothing against chocolate pudding now, but I do think there are so many other fun desserts that have that pudding-like consistency and taste so much more elevated. One of them is pots de crème. Pots de crème literally translates to “pots of cream” in French. It is a loose-textured custard, quite similar to pudding. It tastes so rich and decadent but it takes so little effort. Like seriously you’ll be done in less than 10 minutes (well you do have to wait for everything to cool, that’s the hard part).
Chocolate Pots de Crème
Pots de Crème
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tb granulated sugar
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, milk, heavy cream, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt over medium-low heat. Continually whisking until mixture is thick and can coat the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes.
- Pour in chocolate chips and whisk until chocolate is melted and everything is incorporated. Transfer this mixture into 4 ramekins (mine were 5oz ramekins). Place in the refrigerator to set, about 1-2 hours.
- Before serving, whisk together heavy cream and granulated sugar until soft peaks. Top the chilled pots de crème.
Ahh summertime, my favorite indulgences is ice cream. Unfortunately, as much as I say that I’m not a dessert person, I am such an ice cream person. Seriously, you can put a pint of ice cream in front me, pop on an episode of “The Office”, and by the time the episode is over, I’ll be scraping the bottom of the container.
For me, mochi ice cream is the perfect solution – bite-size ice cream, perfect for portion control. (If making things bite-size won’t stop you from having more than 1, I don’t blame you).
This recipe is really straight forward and just requires some planning ahead. For example, scooping out ice cream beforehand and freezing individual balls is crucial since we’ll be working with our hands, so you want ice cream that will be really cold.
One mistake I made was not doing a better job in redistributing the mochi after I sealed it, so when I cut into it, there was definitely more mochi on the bottom than I would’ve liked. That’ll be something I need to practice more on.
Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream
- 1 pint chocolate ice cream
- 1 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs cocoa powder
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Use an ice cream scooper or two spoons, scoop out 1 inch size balls of ice cream. Put on a tray lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer and freeze until rock hard, about 2 hours.
- In a large glass bowl, stir together sweet rice flour, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir in water and mix until well combined. Cover and microwave for 5 minutes, stopping and stirring after each minute. Allow to fully cool before continuing.
- Sprinkle a little bit of cornstarch on work surface. Roll out mochi dough into a large rectangle. Use a round cookie cutter or a glass and cut out circles around 2 inches in diameter. Take each circle and wrap the balls of ice cream, pinching the edges to seal, smooth mochi dough to redistribute. Return mochi balls to the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.
What’s better than banana bread? Chocolate banana bread, of course! This is also a one bowl recipe, which is a huge plus. Although this is probably better as a dessert, I have managed to convince myself that this is perfectly acceptable as breakfast.
Chocolate Banana Bread
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 4 large ripe bananas
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
- In a large glass mixing bowl, melt butter in microwave (or double boiler). Remove from heat. Add the bananas and use a fork or potato masher, mash the bananas until no large lumps remain. Add egg, yogurt, and sugar, using the fork to incorporate. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes.
I did a thing!
So let’s back up, in February I went on a family trip to Monterey, California. There, we stayed at Portola Hotel & Spa. The hotel itself is nice and all, but the best part was this massive oatmeal chocolate chip cookie they greet you with at the front desk. This is not an exaggeration, it was the best cookie I’ve ever had. My entire family thought so. It was so good that we’d sneak down to the lobby and ask for seconds throughout our stay.
Luckily, the packaging had a list of ingredients: brown sugar, pastry flour, rolled oats, chocolate chips, butter, eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, baking soda. I knew my task once I went home, I was going to recreate these amazing chocolate chip cookies.
Back home, I got to experimenting. I first scoured the internet for a copycat recipe, but there weren’t any. There was a YouTube video on their page talking about the cookies and there’s a brief overview of them making it. But it was in massive quantities so it was hard to translate that for the home cook. But what I got from the video was the steps that went into making these babies, and boy … they are quite different from your regular cookies! The weirdest thing you might notice is combining the oats with eggs and milk in the beginning. In my opinion, I think what this does is it softens the oats a lot so when you eat it, it’s not this sharp and hard bit that you’re biting into. So here’s my ode (and attempt) at recreating the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
P.S. One of my favorite episodes of Friends is the one Monica tries to figure out Phoebe’s family recipe for chocolate chip cookies. So if this recipe is basically Betty Crocker’s, please don’t tell me because I’ll be absolutely gutted. Lol.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup pastry flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Add rolled oats to the egg mixture and use a spoon to combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, combine pastry flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Add oat mixture and the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low until well incorporated. Add chocolate chips and mix until just mixed. Divide dough into 8 large balls. Flatten gently on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and there are cracks on top of the cookies.
Yoo-hoo! This past weekend, we welcomed May and I baked up a storm. The theme was all things chocolate. So this coming week, you’ll be seeing so. much. chocolate, and I’m thrilled about it all.
First up on the list is this decadent chocolate lava cake (aka molten chocolate cake or petit gâteau, if you’re French and fancy). This actually came from a challenge my husband jokingly gave me. We were chatting about our favorite desserts, and he mentioned that his favorite dessert is the Chocolate Lava Crunch Cake from Domino’s. Yes, Domino’s as in the place that you get cheap pizza from. He then challenged me to bake a homemade version that tastes better than Domino’s. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if this challenge was insulting or not, but nevertheless, I was up for the challenge.
We did a side-by-side comparison. Honestly, the Domino’s version is so overwhelmingly sweet, the chocolate flavor doesn’t really come through. The flavor reminds me of an Oreo. This homemade version has very sophisticated chocolate notes and the texture is much better in terms of mouthfeel. The best part is, the whole thing comes together so fast, AND YOU CAN EAT IT OUT OF THE OVEN.
Chocolate Lava Cake
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tb granulated sugar, plus more for coating the ramekins
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tb all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease four 5-oz ramekins with butter. Sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tsp of sugar, rotate to coat and tap out the excess. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
- In a double boiler, melt dark chocolate chips and butter until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt until pale the mixture falls like ribbons. Pour in chocolate mixture and flour, mix well.
- Pour evenly into ramekins. Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes. (The top should be just set and when you shake the pan there should be a slight jiggle). Let cool for a couple minutes. Turn out to serving plates. Serve with fresh fruits or ice cream.