Tag Archives: chocolate desserts

Chocolate Peanut Layer Cake

march 15, 2018

chocolate peanut layer cake

When spring rolls around, I dream of chocolate and peanut butter. Wait, what? Not even close to seasonal, you might think. Easter brings those egg-shaped Reese’s peanut butter treats, creamy milk chocolate covering a salty sweet peanut butter filling, and I swoon. Yes, they are available year round as little patties with ridges, and at Halloween as pumpkins, but the Easter ones have a very thin coat of chocolate and lots of slightly crunchy peanut butter filling. I’ve eaten more than my share lately, so today’s cake is all about the chocolate, with a little peanut thrown in for pleasure. Yep, this is a chocolate lover’s cake for those who also like peanut butter.

chocolate peanut layer cake

Is this a ” healthy” dessert? Not on your life. My motto regarding dessert is this: better to have a little bit of the real thing than a lot of lower calorie stuff that will leave you less than satisfied. There, I said it. Or wrote it. That’s my philosophy and I’m sticking with those words.

chocolate peanut layer cake

Is this an easy dessert? Relatively speaking, yes. All three components may be made ahead at different times and assembled when you have a bigger chunk of time. All purpose wheat flour would work just as well as the gluten free favorite in my pantry. The cake is a great keeper in the fridge for up to one week—simply let the servings sit at room temperature until they are soft and creamy. I’m certain freezing is also an option, but my tasters and I could not wait for that experiment. To keep the outside pretty, your freezer needs to be large enough to accommodate the cake dome, but if you make this tasty cake and decide on freezing leftover  pieces, wrap in plastic and rejoice in your ability to delay gratification. You have more discipline than the author of this post.

chocolate peanut layer cake

Chocolate Peanut Layer Cake

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes one three layer eight inch cake


chocolate layer cake

1 ¾ cup 1-for-1 gluten free flour (my current favorite is Bob’s Red Mill) – all purpose wheat flour works just as well
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I use Hershey’s) – plus extra for coating cake pans
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted gently and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1 cup boiling water

cake directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 3 eight inch cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment, spray again and coat interior lightly with cocoa powder.
  3. In large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  4. In another mixing bowl whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla and milk; mixture will appear curdled.
  5. Whisk together dry and wet ingredients, then whisk in boiling water.
  6. Batter will be very thin; to fill pans evenly, use a large ladle; bake until tops spring back easily and cake begins to pull away from the sides, about 20 minutes.
  7. Let cool in pans about 10 minutes, then flip out onto waxed paper; you will be frosting the bottoms of each layer, as tops will be sticky.

peanut butter mousse

4 ounces (half a brick) of full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter ( I like Jif or Skippy natural)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 or more cups powdered sugar
whole milk, about 2 tablespoons

mousse directions

  1. In large mixing bowl, use electric mixer to cream together cream cheese, salt, vanilla and peanut butter; mixture will appear dry and shaggy.
  2. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and blend well, then add 1 tablespoon milk.
  3. Add another cup powdered sugar, then ½ tablespoon milk; add more milk a few drops at a time if needed until mousse is creamy, but it must be firm enough to set between the cake layers.

sour cream chocolate frosting

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I like Hershey’s)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup full fat sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped, for assembly

frosting directions

  1. Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat in small saucepan, stirring frequently.
  2. Whisk in cocoa and add mixture to large mixing bowl.
  3. With electric mixer on low, add one cup powdered sugar, followed by vanilla and ⅓ cup sour cream.
  4. Add another cup sugar, then another ⅓ cup sour cream, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  5. Add remainder of sugar, then rest of sour cream and mix well.

cake assembly

  1. Place one cake layer (bottom side up) on flat surface of cake server, cover with half the peanut butter mousse, then add the second cake layer, cover with remaining mousse and top with third cake layer.
  2.  With thin spatula (an offset spatula is best) apply frosting starting with the top, then the sides, and finally use spatula to create decorate spikes on the top layer.
  3. Using your hands, attach the chopped peanuts to the cake sides, a little at a time, and when peanuts fall onto the work surface,  you may scoop them up for the next application.
  4. Cake may be enjoyed immediately, or stored in the refrigerator up to one week; allow cake to sit at room temperature at least ½ hour to soften before serving.


Salted Chocolate Pecan Tart

january 28, 2017

salted chocolate pecan tart


Judging by the proliferation of chocolate and salt pairings on menus for both sweet and savory  (salted mocha coffee drinks, chocolate cocktails rimmed with salt, beef dishes braised with chocolate and, of course, chocolate desserts sprinkled with flecks of sea salt), I’d say it’s now safe to admit you like a little salty with your sweet.

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Chocolate Berry Tart

june 24, 2016

chocolate berry tart


It’s almost time to do your patriotic duty and eat something red, white and blue. Naturally, summer’s berries will cover the red and blue, so let’s add something creamy like thickened and lightly sweetened Greek yogurt to cover all bases.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Tart

march 11, 2016

bittersweet chocolate almond tart

If you like dark, creamy chocolate desserts that are not too, too sweet, this one’s for you. If you are enamored of desserts with natural sweeteners, this one will do very nicely. If you like to get your vegetables from dessert, you’re three for three!

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Chocolate Cherry Parfaits

january 29, 2016

chocolate cherry parfaits

As a kid, I cooked so many desserts that my parents readily gave in to my request for parfait glasses. We purchased them at the Pleasants Hardware in our neighborhood (where all things kitchen reigned alongside tools and snow shovels) and I have them still. They have languished in the buffet drawers until now, when the urge to conjure up a comforting memory dessert made me polish them to a shine and fill them with something akin to what my childhood chef prepared for the family.

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Chocolate Raspberry Mascarpone Tarts

february 7, 2014

chocolate raspberry mascarpone tart

Chocolate and Valentine’s Day are inextricably linked, forever.  Pair chocolate with raspberries and marvel as some primordial part of your brain registers approval.  Add cheese, in this case creamy mascarpone lightly flavored with cocoa and barely sweetened , and you have a complete meal.  At least that’s how I justify breakfast consumption of these chocolate raspberry tartlets.

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