I have this thing with giving food cheesy names. As in, I’m against giving food cheesy names. I apologize if it’s something you’re really into. To each their own.
Personally, when I hear the name of a recipe, I want it to tell me what’s in it. Telling me something is “Aunt Mary’s Super Special Layer Cake” doesn’t give me any idea what it is. And I would probably choose “Raspberry Lemonade Cake” over “Luscious Lemony Razzmatastic Dream Cake”.
It’s just who I am.
I promise I won’t judge you for whatever you choose to call your recipes.
But I was trying to decide how to title this post, and I was kind of stumped. If it was just a cheesecake cake, I could call it “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake” and it would be a somewhat reasonable length. But it’s not just a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake cake, because it has the all-important cookie layer, and I can’t just leave that out of the title. It would give people the wrong impression.
So I could call it Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, or I could call it Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cheesecake Cake. But I feel like it’s a little ridiculous.
So I think we’ll just call it the Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake for short.
Anyway, so I had to choose a dessert to make for Easter at my in-laws. I know chocolate and peanut butter isn’t super Easter-y, but I’m never not in the mood for chocolate and peanut butter, so I went for it.
When I’m making something for a big dinner, whether we’re hosting or being hosted, I usually try to make something that I feel I shouldn’t be left alone with in our fridge. I had been dreaming up a chocolate cake, cookie, cheesecake combination for a long time, so I thought this was my chance.
You see, if I’m going to make a cake that weighs as much as my toddler, I feel like I probably shouldn’t eat it all myself.
Kidding. I really don’t know how much the cake weighs.
But I do know that it is quite large. And that I’d rather not get too much larger myself.
One of the things I love about this cake is the mix of textures. The cake is so moist and fudgy. The cookie layer is a bit crisp on the edges and has crunchy chocolate chips. The cheesecake is decadent and creamy. Just a wonderful, wonderful combination.
So whether you’re feeding a crowd or you’re going to hide this away in your fridge for yourself, I won’t judge. Enjoy 🙂
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The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
For the cake:
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour or all-purpose
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup strong hot coffee or water
For the cheesecake:
- 2/3 cup chocolate good quality chocolate chips or chopped milk, semisweet or dark chocolate — depending on your tastes
- 16 oz cream cheese 2 packges
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup cocoa
- 2 tsp vanilla
For the cookie
- 3/4 cup butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour or all-purpose
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
For the frosting
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup milk
- 5 1/2 cups icing sugar
For the ganache
- 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 3/4 cup milk
- Important notes: you will want to use the same pans or pans that are exactly the same size for all components. I used 2 10″ springform pans and my layers were about the right thickness. Each time, I line the springform pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick.For the cake:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 springform pans or cake pans the same size with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray. If using springform pans, line the outside with tin foil to catch any leaks.
- In a large bowl, with a stand mixer or a whisk, combine milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
- Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and beat until just combined.
- Slowly stir in hot coffee or water.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake 20-30 minutes (baking time will depend on the size of your pans – check after 20 minutes), until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool to room temperature before freezing or chilling for at least a few hours before assembly.
- For the cheesecake: Line a springform pan (I used all 10″ springform pans)with wax paper and spray with non stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs, sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake about 40 minutes, until set and doesn’t jiggle. (*Note: the original recipe recommends a water bath. I’m a bit of a rebel — obviously — and rarely do water baths. I didn’t this time and it didn’t crack at all)
- Let cool to room temperature on the counter. Freeze or chill at least 3-4 hours before assembly.
- For the cookie: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a springform pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick.
- In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add egg and vanilla extract.
- Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and combine. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Press into prepared pan (I recommend lightly wetting your hands to spread the dough evenly in the pan). Bake for about 15 minutes, until set. Be careful not to overbake as it will be hard and difficult to cut through.
- Cool to room temperature. Chill or freeze cookie if not yet ready for assembly, or move on to assembly.
- For the frosting: Beat butter, peanut butter, vanilla and milk until smooth.
- Add in icing sugar and beat, slowly at first, then increasing speed to high, until light and fluffy.
- Assembly:Set one of the cakes on a cake stand or plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting over top.
- Set the cookie layer on top and spread a thin layer of frosting on top.
- Set the cheesecake layer on top and spread on a thin layer of frosting.
- Set the last cake layer on the very top. If the sides of your cake are quite uneven and you want to trim them, do that now with a serrated knife. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Set the cake in the fridge to set.
- Prepare the ganache: combine chocolate, peanut butter and milk in a small pot over low heat on the stove. Stir constantly until melted.
- Remove cake from the fridge and pour over the top.
- Garnish as desired, and devour.
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