A few weeks ago, it was Brendan’s birthday. I love birthdays. I tend to go all out in the cake making department. I think it was because I was spoiled with great cakes growing up. Mom usually went crazy with her creativity. She made us ice cream cakes. Cakes shaped like The Little Mermaid. Cats. Princesses. Barbies. Yes, I grew up in an all-girl household.
I guess I want to keep this special cake-themed day alive in my own home. Like mother, like daughter I suppose. Because between my sisters and I, we’ve put together some pretty awesome cakes over the years. (see here, here and here.) And these are just examples from the past year since I’ve been food blogging.
Well, not all cakes have to be breathtakingly beautiful to be special. I’ve found that sometimes the simplest, humblest cake is often the best. If you were to make me a birthday treat, I’ll take a plain cake frosted with delicious butter cream over some bland fancy fondant thing any day.
And my husband? Well, he prefers anything with peanut butter. And I prefer him. So, just like last year’s peanut butter & chocolate treat, this year I did the same. Birthday’s celebrated with peanut butter. Only this year, it’s with cake.
I’ve made this Crunchy Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layer cake a few times now, and despite it’s modest exterior, it’s surprisingly over-the-top sensational. Sure, it may look like an ordinary chocolate cake on the outside, but once your fork hits that crunchy peanut butter layer, you’re like whoa. What is in this thing?
Oh, I’ll tell you what’s in it. Meringue mixed with crushed almonds. Salted peanuts on top. Smooth and creamy peanut butter folded in with rice crispy cereal. Oh, and then there is the layer of milk chocolate ganache too (also used on the outside of the cake).
This cake is so intense, it’s been exiled to my “only-once-a-year” list. It’s incredibly rich, and even more time consuming. I’m serious. With the filling, the cake and the ganache, you will become a chocolate cake slave. But the labor will be worth it.
I’ve adapted this recipe from Food and Wine Magazine, using my own chocolate cake recipe. I also tweak the ganache too. I use 1 1/2 pounds of milk chocolate instead. Maybe it’s just the milk chocolate that I use, but my ganache always seems a little soft. Oh, and refrigerating the ganache over night (the one hour minimum is never enough time) has worked best for me too.
If you have a craving for chocolate and peanut butter, and have a few hours to kill one afternoon, I recommend trying it out. Find the recipe for Crunchy Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layer Cake here. Feel free to use my modifications too.
P.S. With only a month or so to go till baby #3 comes, a lot of my energy has been spent outside of the kitchen. When pregnant, I make one lazy cook. Posting will be light from here on out, hopefully I’ll pick up more momentum after the big day. Thanks for understanding!