Please, don’t be frightened by the title. While Chocolate Double Peanut Butter Caramel Layer cake is a three process dessert, there are times when a multistage dessert can actually simplify your life. I promise!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been in a peanut butter chocolate mood for several weeks. Maybe it’s all these below 30 days we’ve had lately here in Minnesota. Maybe it’s that I didn’t eat quite enough of the Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossom’s I made for Christmas and then too quickly gave away. You did see those sparkling gems from I Am Baker, right? No? Okay, take a minute to go to Amanda’s website and look at them, Pin them, write the ingredients on your grocery list, look all over the place for those bright red sanding sugar sprinkles and never find them because you didn’t think to look the one place that actually had them even though your were only a few blocks away from Williams-Sonoma, duh – and then make them for next Valentine’s Day. Oh, sorry, I was thinking of myself the week before Christmas. You would never do anything so silly, would you? Getting back to the cookies, they are doubly delicious (meaning more rich and chewy) if you add an additional egg yolk to the original recipe.
There you are! I thought you would stay on Amanda’s addictive sight all day and forget about this fantastic cake. Now that you’re finally back, I’ll show you how to make your life easier by separating your dessert recipes into more than one day, and give you the recipes you’ll need to assemble this highly satisfying layered cake.
Day one – Time: allow yourself 45 minutes to an hour including clean-up to make your cake, cookie dough or pastry crust. Tip: Whenever possible double your recipe. For example, you might only have two 9″ rounds, but I bet you have some cupcake tins, so make your two rounds and several dozen cupcakes. It’s always a great idea to have cupcakes in the freezer. Buy those cheap disposable pie tins and make four crusts instead of one – it’ll take the same amount of time and then when you want to make a quick dinner or dessert, you’re ready to go.
- Cake – we will make our two 9″ or three 8″ cake layers. Mix and bake the cake. While the cake is baking, mix the frosting and assemble your filling. Remove the cake from the oven and cool it completely. I have found that cooling the cake in the pan, upside down on a tea towel for at least 20 minutes helps retain moisture While the cake is cooling do the dishes – yeah! Wrap the cooled cake in a layer of plastic and a layer of aluminum foil and place it in your freezer.
- Cookie dough – mix it, ball it and freeze it. Once the dough is frozen, place it into an airtight container and back into the freezer. The longer the dough hangs out there, the better it will taste when you bake it. Another advantage in my opinion – baking frozen cookie dough yields a puffier, chewier cookie, just keep in mind they may require a few more minutes in the oven. Make sure to write the type of dough, date and baking instructions on your container so you don’t forget! Trust me, it happens.
- Pastry dough – mix it, roll it and put it into whatever dish or tin you will bake your final product in. Wrap it in plastic and freeze it until you need it.
Day two – Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour or more depending on the final product.
Here’s the beauty of this method. You won’t be stressed out if you are making a dessert for a big event or a last minute treat. The hard part and all the dishes that go with it are done! All that’s left are the fun parts: filling, frosting, baking and eating. Day two tasks are best done the night before or the morning of the day you want to serve your dessert.
- Cake - So, maybe you got busy on day one or forgot some ingredients and had to run back to the store. Don’t worry! Pull out your cake, unwrap it and set it on a cooling rack to reach room temperature and whip up your frosting or filling right now. If your filling and frosting are already made, pull them out so they can come to room temperature. Some frosting may require another whipping, too. Once the cake is thawed enough to stop all that moisture from causing the frosting to slide off or bleed through, and your frosting and filling are spreadable, fill and decorate your cake or cupcakes. If you are serving them on the next day, you might want to save any sprinkles until then unless you know for sure they won’t bleed through to the frosting. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or on the counter as the frosting or filling dictate. This cake should be stored in the fridge do to the cream cheese in the frosting.
- Cookies: Pull as many as you want from the freezer, place them on a cookie sheet (not stoneware though) and bake away. Go ahead, put your glass of milk in the freezer so you are ready when they come out. Yummy in 10 – 14 minutes if you like them piping hot.
- Pie: Put your filling into the frozen pie shell (unless your shell is in a glass container, in that case you probably better pull it out of the freezer for 15 – 20 minutes before baking so it doesn’t shatter) and bake according to the recipe. If your pie requires a top, you can thaw one of your other crusts and place it on top or you can opt for a crumb, sweet biscuit or cookie topping for a modern twist.
The chocolate cake that pairs well with this peanut butter frosting is mild, delicate and moist. It’s not the deep, rich, ultra moist cake that I typically crave, but it is terrific in its own right. Now, I could give you the entire recipe for quite possibly one of the best chocolate cakes I have eaten to date or I could just direct you to King Arthur Flour’s website where you will find the recipe AND lots of terrific recipes and tips for all your baking, cake or otherwise. So, pardon the request, but please grab the chocolate cake recipe from here and pop back over for the frosting and caramel recipes.
Peanut Butter Frosting
Peanut Butter Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, soft
4 oz butter, soft
1 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural or homemade)
1 cup powdered sugar or powdered Swerve
1 cup, or less, heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
espresso powder to your taste (optional)
Combine cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy. Add in vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until combined. Mix on low speed while drizzling in the heavy cream until it’s the consistency you want. Frost your cooled cake and refrigerate until firm.
Frosting adapted slightly from this recipe.
Peanut Butter Caramel
Peanut Butter Caramel:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar
- 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the corn syrup, coconut palm sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. Continue to cook, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute. Pour into a clean glass container and allow to cool until you are ready to fill your cake.
I suggest using a thick layer of the caramel as well as a thinner layer of the frosting in the middle of the cake. You’ll thank me.
adapted slightly – See more at: http://www.mykitchenaddiction.com
- Place the bottom cake layer onto your serving plate of choice. Secure it with a dollop of frosting if you plan to travel with it.
- Spread a thin-ish layer of peanut butter frosting almost to the edge of the cake
- Pipe a thick layer of peanut butter frosting around the edge of the bottom cake layer.
- Spread a thick layer of peanut butter fudge on top of the peanut butter frosting layer, but inside of the piped peanut butter frosting edge. See the picture earlier in the post if this seems confusing.
- Place the second layer on top of the cake/frosting/fudge layer.
- Frost and decorate the sides and top of cake as desired. Add chopped peanuts, drizzle on some chocolate ganache, put brown sprinkles on the bottom or use just a simple, home style swirl like you see here.
If you need a tutorial on how to frost a layer cake, I found this one very helpful.