I don't really enjoy most candy. But I've always, always loved Reese's Cups. I don't know what it is, aside from the possibility that whichever genius invented it realized that chocolate and peanut butter is the most piquant combination of flavors on the planet.
Yesterday, my good friend Nathaniel celebrated his twentieth birthday. Nathaniel and I have been friends since back in high school, and I remember that on his eighteenth birthday during our senior year, I baked him a cake that he loved: chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting, garnished with chopped up Reese's Cups.
[Then again, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't love a cake covered in Reese's Cups, since they are basically the best food group on the planet.
Made evident by my assertion and strong belief that they alone could qualify as a distinct food group].
Last year I kept up with the chocolate/peanut butter theme by baking him peanut swirled brownies [which turned out more like fudge by the accidental dismissal of baking soda from the batter, but one could argue that they turned out even better that way...?], but this year I thought I'd try and recreate that amazing cake from senior year.
Perhaps he'll think that I did. And even if not exactly the same, this cake is, equally, to die for.
I'll give the peanut butter frosting recipe I used [the frosting is the star, here]; the cake itself can be made from your favorite basic chocolate cake recipe.
Note: as much as I am a huge proponent of all-natural, organic peanut butter without any added preservatives or sugars, I always use the processed stuff when baking. This is because the oils separate from the peanut butter when using an organic kind, and therefore it won't bake as well. So, go get the cheap stuff!
To assemble the cake, I baked a chocolate cake in an 8-inch springform pan, trimmed off the top, cut the cake in half width-wise, spread a generous amount of peanut butter frosting on top of the bottom layer, covered it with chopped up mini Reese's Cups, topped it with the second layer, frosted the top and sides, and covered the top with more mini Reese's Cups. It's basically the easiest cake on the planet.
I love both the color and the consistency of this frosting. It's a gorgeous, light caramel color, and the consistency gives the cake a homely feel. Kind of like how your grandmother's Reese's cake would look.
You know, if she were hip and made candy-based cakes.
Happy birthday, Nathaniel! I hope this cake lived up to your expectations :)