I needed to make desserts for two different events today, so I decided to come up with something crowd-pleasing and technically easy. I didn't take a picture (!), so I thought I'd show you the end result of the potluck - the cake was pretty much gone. If you want something homemade that most people will love, this is your cake.
The cake is based on the one on the back of the Hershey's box, which I've been making for years. I used Hershey's "Special Dark" cocoa, which is why it so dark; it's a partially dutch-processed cocoa. You can certainly use regular cocoa, though, and the recipe on each box is the same.
The change I make from the original recipe is using boiling coffee (I heat up coffee in the microwave to boiling) instead of hot water. *Some people* accuse me of leaving out details in my recipes so they can't be replicated, so I wanted to highlight this change. :-)
The frosting is based on Ina Garten's peanut butter frosting, and it is To.Die. Try not to eat it all with a spoon!
Peanut Butter Cup Cake
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling coffee
1 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 c. smooth peanut butter
1 t. vanilla
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. milk or cream
20 mini Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9X13 pan.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling coffee (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
4. Make frosting: with a mixer, beat together butter, peanut butter, salt, and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and milk and beat until fluffy. If the frosting is too thin, add confectioner's sugar a tablespoon at a time; if it is too thick, add milk a teaspoon at a time to get to the desired consistency.
5. Frost cake and top with peanut butter cups. Feel free to use more candy if you like!