Monday, May 19, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake

Here is a very different cake than the last one I posted. I made it for my brother-in-law's birthday last year, and it's quickly become a favorite. Some of the teachers at my mom's school tried it, and it took on a life of its own. The recipe looks intimidating, but it's really not that difficult - just time-consuming and dirty-dish-making. And it's a true crowd-pleaser! I made one for the teachers last week, and it was gone within half an hour.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake (adapted from Chocolatier magazine via

Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/3 cup boiling coffee (the recipe calls for boiling water, but I always sub coffee in chocolate cake)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Crunch filling

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/4 cup toasted rice cereal

Chocolate Mousse

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard bittersweet chocolate chips)

1/3 cup whole milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

Peanut Butter Mousse

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Ganache Glaze

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (again, Guittard chocolate chips)

3/4 cup heavy cream


2/3 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts

Make chocolate cake:Position rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of a 9" springform pan and line the pan with parchment paper if you are going to try to take the cake off the bottom of the pan (I don't).

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.In another small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth; set aside.In bowl of electric mixer, using paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium-high speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary. Add flour mixture at low speed and mix until blended. Add cocoa mixture and mix at low speed until blended. Scrape down sides of bowl again. Add sour cream and mix until blended.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake cake for 18-22 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Butter sides of springform pan.

Make crunch filling:Place chocolate and peanut butter in microwave-safe bowl, covered. Heat on 1/2 power for about two minutes, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Fold in rice cereal. Spread filling over top of cake in pan just up to edge of cake. Refrigerate cake while you make mousse.

Make chocolate mousse:Put chocolate in food processor until finely chopped if you are not using chips and place in medium bowl.In a small saucepan, combine milk and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and milk comes to a boil. Remove from heat. (I usually do this in the microwave). Pour over until chocolate is completely melted. Scrape down sides of bowl and add vanilla; stir until blended. Cool for 5 minutes, until tepid.In bowl of electric mixer, using whisk attachment, beat cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining cream. Remove cake from refrigerator and scrape chocolate mousse over crunch filling, letting it fill gap between cake and sides of pan.

Make peanut butter mousse:In bowl of electric mixer, using whisk attachment, beat cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.In another bowl of mixer, using paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until creamy, about one minute. Add peanut butter and mix until blended, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Gently fold in whipped cream. Scrape peanut butter mousse on top of chocolate mousse layer, smoothing it into an even layer. Freeze cake for at least 3 hours, until firm.

Make Ganache:Place chocolate in medium bowl. In small saucepan, bring cream to gentle boil. Pour over chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds, to melt chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Assemble cake:Run paring knife around side of pan to loosen cake and remove side of springform pan. Remove bottom of pan and peel off paper. Transfer cake to plate or cardboard cake round. Pour ganache glaze over top and sides of cake and spread using a small, offset metal spatula. Pat chopped peanuts onto sides of cake (or on top if you like). Refrigerate cake for at least one hour, until softened, before serving.To serve cake, use a hot knife to cut into 12 slices.


Alison... said...

it's looks completely complicated to make but the outcome looks divine! I can see why everyone requests this for their birthdays!

The beach cake was cute too, I hope you're keep pictures of all the cakes you bake your kids throughout their childhoods like your parents kept of your and K's cakes.

Of course you are!

Good job!

Stephanie Carnes said...

Yes, I do keep pictures in their scrapbooks! The cakes take a while to make and they're "destroyed" so quickly. :-)

Kristen said...

Alison told me she almost licked her computer screen when she saw this picture! LOL

Stephanie Carnes said...

Too funny!

Kim said...

Big Winner!!!
Looks and tastes great.

I love the various textures and flavors that marry so well together.

It has a great peanut butter flavor without being too overwhelming.

One person told me that it was the best cake that he ever had.

Many many thanks to the person who created this cake!