Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Death by Chocolate...Two Ways!

This cake recipe is one of my family's "All-Time-Favorites." My kids usually request it for their birthdays and for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, The Ides of March and any other special occasions that may or may not arise throughout the course of the year. Probably because my kids take after their mom. You know, they're hopelessly addicted to any combination of peanut butter and chocolate. They're suckers for Reese's peanut butter cups. And Reese's peanut butter eggs. And Baskin-Robbins chocolate peanut butter ice cream. And peanut butter on their Oreo cookies. Or pretty much just a hunk of chocolate dipped into a jar of peanut butter. Maybe even some peanut butter, smeared with chocolate syrup, slathered on a ham sandwich.

Or not.

The point is, this cake is delicious! The devil's food part is deep and rich and dreamy. The peanut butter frosting is a perfect match...thick, gooey, and it WILL stick to the roof of your mouth. A glass of milk is a must! (Unless you're me and you avoid milk the same as you would, say, a glass of hemlock. Then you can make do with a nice cold Diet Coke!)

BUT.

Some people in the world (Also Known As My Husband) happen to be missing their Chocolate-And-Peanut-Butter-Appreciation-Gene. These sad, deprived (depraved) individuals go through life knowing perfectly well what they're missing. And yet they refuse it anyway. They'd rather eat a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll than a Reese's. Poor things. They just can't help it. They know not what they do. They were born that way. There is no other explanation.

Unless you have a peanut allergy and then I totally understand.

So for those who prefer a lighter, creamier, smoother frosting on their chocolate cakes, I will kindly provide the recipe for another (almost as good but not quite) frosting that tastes yummy on this cake.

It's the least I can do.

Moving right along...here's the recipe for the CAKE part:

1 package devil's food cake mix (No, it is NOT called cheating, folks! It's called easy!)
3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 cup water
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare pans (grease and flour or spray with non-stick)
In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, cocoa, water, milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Blend on low speed, scraping down sides, for about 2-3 minutes. Batter should thicken a little.
Pour into pans (divide evenly) and bake for 30 minutes or until it springs back when lightly touched.

Set aside to cool completely.

Whew. Ok THAT was hard. Not. If you obeyed all of my instructions, you should have a moist, delectable cake just waiting to be topped with peanut butter frosting! (Or that other stuff, if it makes you happy.)

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1 cup peanut butter (smooth)
1 stick butter, room temp. (Please do not use margarine or your frosting will clump up and look nasty. It just doesn't work. Trust me.)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 Reese's peanut butter cups

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter and butter until smooth with no lumps. Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, alternating with the milk, until combined. Then add the vanilla. Only beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If you continue to mess with it any longer than that you will have a clumpy mess on your hands instead of a smooth frosting. So STOP already! And please, please, please use butter!

After frosting the cake, you should either cut the Reese's into quarters and stick them around the bottom edge of the cake in a nice little pattern OR cruch them to pieces and sprinkle them all over the top. Either way. Or both. Just be sure to put them on somewhere.

Did you notice how I told you to use butter? It really is necessary. I'm sorry, but it is. I can't tell you how many times I've thrown a bowl full of frosting at the wall in frustration after trying to use margarine. Because I always forget to buy real butter. Use butter. Just do it. Understand? Ok. Now for the white frosting which Pioneer Woman highly recommended on her very own website yesterday and which is absolutely heavenly, but not as good as peanut butter:

1 cup milk
5 tbsp flour (I know what you're thinking, but really.)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter (again with the butter??)
1 cup sugar (not powdered, regular granulated)

In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and milk and heat over low temp until it begins to thicken. Keep stirring constantly! You don't want it to burn or stick.
Remove from heat and let it cool. Completely. As in "Leave it alone now."
Once it's cool, add the vanilla.
Stir well.
In a separate bowl, combine the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the milk/flour/vanilla mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until creamy.
That's it.

Spread on cake and put it in the fridge for a while so it gets nice and cold. Then...go somewhere else for a few hours while your family devours the cake. Because if you don't leave, chance are you won't be able to stop gobbling down this cake! Your thighs will not thank you. Go shopping instead.

Sorry there are no pictures, but my hubby and kids start sticking forks into these cakes the minute I have them frosted. There isn't much I can do. Enjoy!



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