Fudge and peanut butter and fudge and peanut butter and fudge and peanut butter and fudge: With fudge on top

Drake’s Funny Bones. Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. Reese’s Pieces. Twix PB. Peanut M&Ms.

Peanut Blossoms. Magic in the Middles. Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Filling.

Oh, and let’s not forget “The Chocolate Peanut Butter Gallery, dedicated to the world’s two best ingredients” Web site. (Sorry, you’ll have to Google that one yourself.)

You see where I’m going here? If you’re all over it, like I am – read on.

Chocolate and peanut butter go together like… well, like chocolate and peanut butter. It’s an unlikely combination, but there are those of us – indeed, legions of us – who love it.

Is it simply the happy marriage of two childhood favorites?

No, because otherwise we’d be lusting after Cheez-Whiz and grape jelly.

Is it their complementary textures – creamy, and creamy? Their assertive flavors? I AM NUT, YOU ARE CHOCOLATE. HEAR US ROAR.

Or are they simply a good-looking couple? They’ve got that classy black-and-gold thing going, big-time.

Whatever the reason, chocolate and peanut butter, two of the New World’s finest native products, have been playing happily together for decades. George Washington Carver invented “modern” peanut butter in the 1880s. Forty years later, the H.B. Reese Candy Company offered peanut butter filling dipped in Hershey’s chocolate: the first peanut butter cups.

Then there are Buckeye candies, peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate (a.k.a. Ohio’s unofficial state dessert). They’re the inspiration for this towering, multi-layered, ganache-drizzled cake:

Buckeye Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake.

Read it and eat!

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Here it is again, star of stage, screen, and bowls of batter everywhere – espresso powder! No, it doesn’t make your treats taste like coffee (unless you add enough). It just absolutely enhances the flavor of chocolate.

OK, let’s jump in. First, turn your oven on to 350°F, so it can preheat while you make the cake batter.

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Put the following ingredients in a mixing bowl:

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Instant ClearJel or cornstarch
3/4 cup Double Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-Process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

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Stir to combine.

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Add 4 large eggs, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

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Beat till well combined; the mixture will be fairly thick.

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Next, add 1 1/4 cups cold water, beating until smooth. As you can imagine, this has the potential to be a messy project. To avoid  chocolate splashes, add water gradually, draping a dish towel over the top of the mixer, if necessary.

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Get out two 8” x 2” round cake pans. Note: These pans need to be at least 2” tall; if you have non-standard, shorter 8” pans, substitute 9” round pans.

I’m using our new USA Pans here. They’re made by the USA Pan company which, surprisingly, is the world’s largest supplier of commercial bakeware to the foodservice industry. And they make their pans right in Crescent Township, PA., not overseas someplace. Well, who knew?

And now, a word from our sponsor. I want to take a moment to wax eloquent about USA Pans. You might think this is a sales pitch; I just consider it well-earned enthusiasm. Here’s what they have going for them:

•Sturdy, heavy-gauge aluminum/steel. And, so you can feel eco-friendly, the steel is 65% recycled.

•The perfect color: dark gray. Not so dark they burn; not so light they leave your crusts pale.

•Corrugations: they increase airflow, which bakes bottom crusts thoroughly without burning. “Yeah, but won’t the corrugations leave creases in my cake?” No, not if you use parchment. And even if you don’t use parchment, they’re so faint that once you add the icing, you can’t see them.

•FDA-approved, environmentally friendly, hard-glaze silicone non-stick coating. Surprisingly, even sticky buns slip right out of these pans.

• And, the reassuring words you love to see: lifetime warranty.

Right now we have 8” and 9” square and round pans; and a 13” pain de mie. Coming soon: 9” pain de mie (VERY exciting – a pain de mie pan for a standard loaf); 9” pie pan; and three sizes of rimless cookie sheets.

Plus anodized aluminum standard AND deep-dish pizza pans, 12” and 14”. And let me tell you – I’ve been lobbying for anodized aluminum pizza pans for a long, LONG time. Their dark finish gives your pizza crust wonderful crunchy/crisp texture.

And now, back to our program.

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I do tend to use parchment for cakes, out of habit. It’s a good little insurance policy. So, take a sheet of parchment, and lay the pan on top. Draw around with a marker, then cut out a round. Or, even easier – use pre-cut parchment rounds.

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Spray the pans with EverBake or your favorite non-stick spray. Then line with parchment, and spray the parchment.

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Divide the batter between the two pans. If you have a scale, you’ll put about 689g in each; that’s about 24 3/8 ounces, in American measurements.

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Into the 350°F oven they go.

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Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes (a bit less if you use a 9” pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then loosen their edges with a thin nylon spatula, or table knife.

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Turn over onto a rack…

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…lift off the pan, and peel off the parchment. Repeat with the other layer.

Let the cakes cool completely; or at least till they’re just barely warm.

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Pick up one layer (a giant spatula is always a help)…

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…and transfer it to a piece of parchment or waxed paper or foil – just something so it’s not sitting right on your counter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the cake in half around its circumference.

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Now your single layer has become two.

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And your two layers, four.

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Time to make the peanut butter filling. Put the following in a mixing bowl:

4 cups (1-lb. box) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: I haven’t tested this with “simply ground peanuts” peanut butter, just the regular Skippy-type.

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Mix till well combined.

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Gradually add 3/4 cup milk. Again, watch out for splashes, this time of the peanut-butter variety.

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The filling should look like this. And should taste like heaven.

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Put one layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1/3 of the filling (about 290g, a generous 10 ounces) on top.


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Repeat with the remaining layers.

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Put the final layer on top.

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It helps to anchor the layers with some bamboo skewers. Or clean broom straws, like I’ve used here.

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Next – the icing.  Put the following in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup:

1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

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Heat in the microwave till the cream is hot and the chocolate soft. Then stir…

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…and stir, till the mixture is completely combined. Don’t get nervous; at first it seems like a gloppy mess that’ll never come together. But it will. It does.

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Pour the ganache (yes, that’s what you’ve just made, ganache) atop the cake. Those creases are actually from the cooling rack, not the pan.

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Spread the ganache atop the cake…

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…and encourage it to dribble down the sides.

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Give it some time to set – a couple of hours is good – then serve, to rounds of applause and the lusty singing of “Happy Birthday,” if apropos. Be sure not to serve anyone a piece with the bamboo skewer still intact.

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Uhhhh…. yeah, this is what we do in the test kitchen. I didn’t like how the first attempt at icing poured. So I made another batch, and poured it right over the first. Then my Web mates started getting into it. I just HAD to take a picture. How’s THAT for a glamour shot?!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Buckeye Peanut Butter Fudge Cake.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Expresso Italian Villa, Charlottesville, VA: slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeye Cake – rich, moist chocolate cake with a creamy peanut butter filling and a thick, chocolate ganache topping, $4.25

Bake at home: Buckeye Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake, 2” slice (1/12 of cake), 87¢

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Mags

    OK, you had me at peanut butter and chocolate, and then you had to put me over the edge by sweetening the pot with the Buckeye reference. I am so totally making this cake for Ohio State’s season opener against Navy next Saturday. GO BUCKS!

    Well, Mags….. Since I’m from Wisconsin – ON WISCONSIN! (But I’d love to join your tailgate party! And our Web designer, Janet, is an Ohioan) – PJH

    Reply
  2. annamarie

    Best Title Evar! 2 of my mostest favorite food.

    Here’s a variation which will speed up the making of the cake (anything to get to eat it faster): Use a single deeper pan (so you have to change the time a bit), drop tablespoons of that heavenly PB into the batter before cooking (then you don’t have to slice and spread) and increase the cream a bit so the ganache is pourable and just pour (why spread … unless you want to lick the spatula!). You will thank me for the time saved.

    Oh man, Annamarie – you try it and let me know what happens; I’m kind of foreseeing a gloppy mess of PB and very wet batter in the center of this cake, but I’d love to be proven wrong! And the ganache – absolutely, you can make it thinner. One of my versions was thinner (yes, I actually made THREE icings), but the voters spoke (read: the Web team) and selected the medium-consistency one. PJH

    Reply
  3. Jules

    Ok, I’m trying to invent an occasion so I can make this. It’s the last Friday of the month! Good enough for me!

    How about, the Friday right before the Friday of Labor Day weekend? That sounds like a pretty good occasion, too… PJH

    Reply
  4. Erie

    How long do you let the cake cool before you cut it, or is it still hot at that time?

    You can let it cool all the way, or cut it while it’s just slightly warm. I’d better clarify that, eh? Thanks- PJH

    Reply
  5. BAKING is my ZeN

    Looks so comforting :)

    Well, absolutely, if you’re a fan of chocolate – because this is heavy duty, upside-your-head, sock-it-to-me dark chocolate, with a big assertive hit from the PB, too. In fact, it’s just one deluxe cake, which is why (in my opinion) it really demands a birthday. That said – EVERY day is someone’s birthday, so go for it! PJH

    Reply
  6. Kimberly D

    Okay you done it this time……..will be making this very soon. I remember the old comericals for Reeses peanut butter cups where the chocolate and PB got mixed together.

    Reply
  7. Allan

    Great recipe. And I love the need for broom bristles to keep it stable. After the last few chocolate blog posts I’m wondering if the small amount of espresso powder should be a normal addition to any recipe that has chocolate as the main flavor?

    You’ve discovered my secret, Allan – I always add a bit of espresso to anything chocolate. It just seems to point up that flavor… PJH

    Reply
  8. Allie

    Wow. I wonder if I could modify this to make cupcakes… I bet I could. Yum.

    Bet you could too, Allie – think the filling a bit and pipe it in afterwards… PJH

    Reply
  9. Mrs. Hittle

    This looks awesome. My husband doesn’t like peanut butter, though, so… i might have to eat the whole thing myself.

    Do you ever use bake-even strips for cakes?

    Yes, I’ve used cake strips. They actually work very well. And as for eating the whole cake, remember – a moment on the lips, forever on the hips! PJH

    Reply
  10. LF

    Wow! I thought I had a good idea for what to bake for my husband’s birthday. Now you got me conflicted! I’m tempted to make this instead!

    Reply
  11. Jeri Hurd

    I have to make a cake for my dad and fiancee’s birthday in a few weeks. You just decided which one I’m going to make!

    Reply
  12. Julien

    I put mashmallow in the ganache as it contains gelatin that creates a perfect consistency to cover the cake with a thin layer of chocolate. It can also help to cut on the heavy cream (not that I don’t like cream).

    Julien, I’ve never tried marshmallow in ganache – I’m definitely going to give that one a whirl, thanks. PJH

    Reply
  13. Sara

    You are so not fair! How am I ever to lose baby weight if you keep creating deserts from my two favorite flavors!! I’ll sacrifice the pounds ~ my husband’s birthday is next week. I guess I’ll have to be unselfish and eat…I mean make this cake!!!

    Reply
  14. Donna @ WayMoreHomemade

    Ok… yum. And the only other combination that even comes close to chocolate and peanutbutter is chocolate and raspberries. That. is. all.

    I’ve been intrigued by espresso powder for a while but have yet to find and try it. What exactly is it? Is it ground up beans? Coffee that is dehydrated? Just curious.,br /> Espresso powder is ground, brewed, then dried from specially selected coffee beans. it’s a great addition to anything chocolate. Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  15. tomH

    Except for your (or your significant other’s) real birthday, everyday is your UNBIRTHDAY – and reason enough to make this cake and celebrate.

    Reply
  16. Tina

    OMG! Gotta make it. Would you suggest it be stored in the frig in the unlikely event there is some leftover?

    Nope, Tina, room temp is fine… ENJOY – PJH

    Reply
  17. Denise

    This cake sounds out of this world delicious…..my daughter will be celebrating her 40th birthday on Sept 4 and you guessed it….this will be the cake that ushers in her “middle” age (ha ha)

    Reply
  18. Julie

    This is so dreamy, especially to my husband who loves choc and PB. So, question: can I use regular espresso grounds (like Cafe Bustelo)? If so, would it be better to blitz them in a spice grinder so they’re even finer? I had espresso powder, but it turned into a rock hard mass in my pantry, so I hesitate to buy it again. Thanks in advance for any advice! I’m not sure whether the regualr espresso ground would work. Try it and let us know. Mary @ KAF

    Should work, Julie, as long as it’s very fine – like talcum powder, not gritty. Go for it! PJH

    Reply
  19. Tom Mix

    In dozens of attempts to slice two layers into four, I have never had anything that approached success. What is the most fail safe method? Don’t tell me toothpicks! I can’t line them up I hear you. I’m also challenged in this area. They make a cake slicer that is a wire in a frame that works pretty well. I’ve also used a little tool that has dental floss attached to one end. That works pretty well, too and seems a bit easier to me. If you don’t have access to these, make sure you are holding your knife level, that your knife is a sharp serrated one, and work slowly keeping the knife parallel to the borad or counter that the cake is sitting on. Practice also helps a lot. Oh, darn, that means you have to bake lots of cakes frequently :). Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  20. Linda Rodolff

    This recipe is similar to the chocolate cake with peanut butter icing I make that my family loves. I make it in a 13×9 pan as I do not do well with round cake pans.I bought wearever professional non stick cake pans and had very disappointing results. I think the non stick created a situation where the batter could not grasp the sides of the pan in order to rise so the cake stayed flat. Anyway… My cake batter calls for a cup of strong coffee as well so the batter is very thin. I too always use expresso powder in my chocolate cakes and brownies. It makes a difference! I have adapted my peanut butter icing to be a peanut butter and marshmallow icing which also adds another dimension to the recipe. I seldom measure…I just add the peanut butter till it has the color I want and about 1/2 cup of fluff.

    Linda, I hear you with the Fluff – I’m definitely going to try that next time. Whenever next time is for this whopper of a cake… :) PJH

    Reply
  21. pity

    Oh my blog! As a chocaholic I was getting so anxious by looking at the photos, if I had a piece of that wonder-cake I would have to go for a confession!

    well done!

    pity

    Reply
  22. Joey D

    Oooo, yummy! Other variant: Hazelnut butter with toasted hazelnuts around the edging. If you do it right, has a bit of a Nutella feel. =) Little hazelnut extract in the chocolate frosting. Looks like I’ll be making a cake this weekend. Thanks!

    Reply
  23. Melisa

    This looks incredible! Can I leave out the espresso powder? You could, but you really won’t taste it as coffee taste. it just highlights the choclate taste. mary @ KAF

    Reply
  24. Angela

    Wow, my favorite combination!! Too bad I just made my husband’s birthday cake this morning for his birthday tomorrow. I wish I would have seen this first. Looks excellent…thank you!

    Reply
  25. Aulani

    I have a chunk of your dark chocolate. Can I grate that or put it in my VitaMix to make a power? Would that be the same as Coco powder? Looking for a way to use it up before it gets too old…. Looks like a great recipe! It wouldn’t make cocoa. It would make grated chocolate, which would have more fat than the cocoa. I’m not sure whether it would work or not. Try it and see and let us know. Mary @ KAF.

    Reply
  26. Ann D.

    Re: slicing layers in half — I agree with Mary’s suggestion of a sharp serrated knife. However, do not try to slice all the way through the layer in one long stroke. This method has worked for me many times: Draw the knife along the edge, slicing in only about 1/2″, all around the cake; make sure that this cut is where you want the layer split, and to keep the knife parallel to the counter. Then, keeping the knife always in that “groove” and parallel with the counter, slice in just a little bit farther and go all around the cake again. You’ll have to go around the whole layer five or more times, but you will wind up in the middle and with well-split layers.

    Reply
  27. Libby D

    What does the 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup do for the icing? Is it replace-able? I have little (or no) need for corn syrup in the house 99.9% of the time. 20+ years ago I tried to find a backer who could make a “Reeses Cup” like cake or a recipe for one. I had no success. Now you’ve done it! And one of the people I would share it with (in order to limit the amount I personally eat) cannot eat chocolate. I think I’ll manage! Somehow!!!

    Libby, corn syrup gives it some shine and thins it out for pouring. You could definitely just add more cream or milk… PJH

    Reply
  28. Janie

    I would like to try this with Almond Butter (or other Nut Butter) and use some almonds to top the cake and/or in the filling. I’m also a fan of crunchy peanut butter…

    Reply
  29. Brenda

    Donna, did you try their chocolate roll with a cream and raspberry filling yet? It’s their Aprill 22, 2008 entry. Try it; you’ll like it!

    Reply
  30. edhicks

    Just a “what if” — What if annamarie (see above) used a bundt cake pan instead of just a big round pan? You could make a tunnel of peanut butter mixture around the inside after pouring half the batter in the pan. Someone else try this. My wife can’t have the sugar, and I don’t need it.

    Ed, you’re right – that would work much butter. Tunnel of peanut butter fudge cake. I’m still a bit worried about the PB just disappearing during baking, but I may have to try this and report back. It would be a lovely variation – PJH

    Reply
  31. Christina

    That looks positively amazing. My PB cup loving husband is going to be campaigning if he sees this.

    Any ideas for making the ganache without dairy? I was wondering if soy milk/creamer might do the trick. I think silken tofu would be too thick.

    Christina, try soy coffee creamer – Silk makes a good hazelnut flavored one which would be a nice complementary flavor here, in my opinion. Use less to start – not sure how much less. Add more, if necessary, once the chips are melted. PJH

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  32. Anne

    Ohmigoodness! I was going to something sane like a Spanish Bar Cake for my DH’s birthday, but methinks that plan has just flown out the window. Love the idea for the Nutella with hazel nuts around the edges.

    My two dogs are wondering why on earth would anyone sit here and drool at a machine? Heh, they know so little! Mmmmmmmm.

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  33. Angela

    I was drooling over this recipe all of Friday and as soon as I came home and showed the picture and recipe to my family they all declared that we had to make it this weekend!! (much to my drooling relief!)

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  34. Kenn

    Who in their right mind would ever place a nice clean fork next to a perfectly delectable, delicious, delightfully sinful chocolate cake and not having taken a bite out of it. Fire the photographer as he is insensitive to what is good eating.

    Hey, Kenn – I’m the photographer so I can truthfully tell you, I’d eaten an entire slice of that cake – to make sure it tasted good. And then to make sure again. And again, with every bite. And THEN I cut another slices and photographed it. And then I used that nice, clean fork to take a bite of that pristine piece of just-photographed cake… It was FINE. Thanks for chiming in – PJH

    Reply
  35. Lori Bollinger

    I just made this and it is very yummy. However, I would make just a two layer cake and only about a third of the peanut butter mixture. We had too much. But boy does it taste good! King Arthur recipes never fail me. Thanks.

    Good variation, Lori – this recipe is indeed quite over-the-top… PJH

    Reply
  36. Sarah

    Okay, we’ve all talked about it – I made it this morning and…WOW!!! This is definitely an “Oh my gosh”, show-stopping, hypoglycemia-inducing cake. And it’s every bit as delicious as it looks (and not hard to make at all!).

    Just a couple of quick comments: We used instant espresso because we couldn’t find espresso powder. Quite frankly, I couldn’t taste the difference between the base cake with espresso and a chocolate cake without it (granted, I haven’t had chocolate cake in a while). Also, I thought the peanut butter filling and ganache overpowered the base cake. In fact, the peanut butter could really easily cast its shadow over everything else, so I’d probably not recommend using the entire batch of filling (we didn’t, and it was perfect). Thanks for this delectable recipe!

    Thanks for the input, Sarah. I love hearing people’s results – I’m always learning something new! PJH

    Reply
  37. Christina

    A quick update:

    Oh. My. Gosh.

    We made this cake this afternoon and it was a hit. My husband claimed it was a “peanut butter cup cake.” It will be a regular in our rotation of treats. I’m thinking about doing these as cupcakes with the peanut butter filling injected into the cupcake and ganache on top.

    PJ – We took your suggestion and used the hazelnut Silk creamer. It worked great! Using the soy replacement for dairy all around does need less liquid for both the filling and ganache. I’m still figuring out the balance, but a little gooey, drippy filling and ganache doesn’t hurt anyone. (of course, it’s more than a bit warm here in Texas right now… it’s hard to avoid the “drip” under normal circumstances atm)

    Christina, thanks for reporting back glad to hear the hazelnut Silk worked out. And “drip” isn’t ALWAYS a pejorative term… :) PJH

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  38. Cathy

    I just finished a piece of the cake. WHEW! It was goood. I took your advice about using more cream in the ganache. That gave it a thinner coating, so it poured and looked pretty good. It took forever for it to set up. (It was a hot day.) I went to school in Ohio (although it was not OSU), so I’ve had a few Buckeyes in my day. This really did taste like that candy. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Glad it worked out well for you, Cathy. And thanks for carrying the icing experiment one step further – PJH

    Reply
  39. Sylvia

    I always put nuts on chocolate cakes. I think I may try using a few mashed up salted peanuts on top. This would cut some of the sweetness and give it a little texture. Can’t wait to try this cake.

    Reply
  40. Angela

    Made this cake this last weekend and it was a hit! So delicious, I actually cut up a few pieces and put in the freezer for a peanut buttery chocolate treat in the coming months so that I didn’t end up eating the whole thing. I was afraid of cutting my 9 inch the cakes in half (was sure they would break) so I just made a double layer cake with this, and when I do this again I will cut the ganache in half because I ended up with pools of it around my plate (so good, but not so pretty). Also, I would like your advice on the peanut butter frosting, not wanting to let it go to waste I decided to frost the sides too and boy was it hard! I ended up having to press it up against the sides since it wouldn’t spread on. Would I just add more milk to it to make it more spreadable (never made peanut butter frositng before, any special rules?)? Even with the finger marks and pools of chocoalte it was divine!

    Yup, you’ve got it, Angela – just add more milk, and it’ll spread just fine. And yeah, with just two layers instead of four, you’d have an “overflow” of ganache… But glad it was delicious, anyway! PJH

    Reply
  41. Leslie

    Where has this cake been all my life?! I’m not sure but I’m so glad you made this, cataloged each step, posted it and that I found it. I can’t wait to make it. My daughter has been asking for a fun baking project and this is it! I may post about this myself with links back to your recipe if all goes as planned. Thanks again for sharing the deliciousness. :-)

    I’ll look forward to seeing your post, Leslie. Great idea, approaching this as a project with your daughter. Just be sure to wear “play clothes” – that ganache can get a bit messy… Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  42. PAT MEYERS

    I can hardly wait to try this new recipe. One problem – I do not like coffee and there is no way that I would ever put expresso powder in any recipe!! Just the thought of coffee – turns my stomach. If it doesn’t taste like coffee – then why put it in the recipe???

    Hi Pat – you can’t taste it, but it does enhance chocolate’s flavor – just like you can’t taste vanilla in a chocolate recipe, but it simply makes the chocolate taste “more.” I’d suggest you give it a try sometime with a treat you’ll be giving away – perhaps cookies – and just take a bite of one… I think you’ll be surprised! – PJH

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  43. Pam H.

    Since I was fixing this for a group, I didn’t want to be slicing it at the last minute. I used my “texas-size” muffin pans to make mini cakes. I sliced them into 3rds. When I put the peanut butter layers on, they slid over on the plate. Thinking I could skewer them, but that didn’t work. So, I encouraged them to slide and drizzled them with the ganache and garnished them with chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. My friends raved over the “dessert”. This was “dessert”, not just cake! Presentation is everything, right? Why not make the best out of a situation :-) It looked like stairsteps to heaven. And tasted like heaven, too.

    Pam, quick (and good!) thinking on your part – thanks for sharing this success! PJH

    Reply
  44. Joni M

    Wow, I made this cake last night and it is absolutely wonderful! I am an “8-and/or-9-inch-cake-multiple-layer-challenged” person–especially since I saw you had to use picks to hold yours in place… so opted to just make a 9×13 cake; then once cooled used my new Lamson bread knife to slice and only had one layer of PB filling (which I did have to add just a few drops more milk to get it to a good spreadable consistency); I cut the peanut butter filling part in half and it was enough for my one layer. I also want to note since the final chocolate topping isn’t sweet, the balance of the 3 components of this cake is perfect! I too was a little concerned at the amount of sugar in the pb filling, but it ended up not being a problem at all since the top chocolate layer isn’t sweet. So–this is definately a keeper recipe. Way too much cake for just hubby and me though, so will cut and freeze most of it so we can continue to enjoy the cake over a much longer time period vs trying to eat this thing up just the two of us! And for the person above who doesn’t like coffee at all–you absolutely don’t taste the coffee, it only enhances the chocolate–my hubby hates coffee too and he never knows or would even suspect that that teaspoon of espresso powder is even in there! Once again, you have provided us with a terrific new creation! Thank you so much!

    Thanks for your detailed report, Joni – always nice to hear the variations people make, and how they work out. Glad your husband can’t tell you snuch some “chocolate enhancer” in there… PJH

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  45. danielle

    does ths cake freeze well for the leftovers? How would u freeze it?

    Danielle, depends how you want to serve it. If slice by slice, wrap individual slices and freeze. If you’ll take the remainder out and enjoy it all at once, you can wrap the whole thing. Just be sure it’s wrapped very well, and don’t try to keep it frozen longer than a few weeks; the longer it’s frozen, the more it deteriorates. PJH

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  46. Erie

    Hmm I should have read all the comments before I made that cake yesterday! It was delicious but it does not travel well! It decided to slide in my cakebox on the way over. Luckily with a couple of shakes I managed to move the the top 2 layers back slighty, however then while waiting for the party the toplayer decided to break in two! So now I have a cake with two shiny dark brown halves and a brown ‘river’ in between. It did not matter to my fellow folkdancers, it still tasted good. But the presentation was not so. I might have to try the 9x 13 idea and 1 layer of filling next time, that seems a safer way to go. Although you miss out on the yummy peanutbutter that way. That was definitely the favorite part of my daughter.

    I’m with you, Erie – I once made a tiered wedding cake (chocolate) that I stuck in the back of a van for the trip to the wedding. Hit the brakes hard when someone cut me off, and that cake did a big sliiiiiiiiiiiiide from the back to the front of the van, where it hit the console and broke up like the Titanic. Chocolate Mess. Luckily, the bride was a GOOD friend, the wedding was informal, and everyone laughed… Did you have the skewers holding it together, and it still slid? It is a bit ungainly for transportation. But I’m glad your daughter enjoyed it! PJH

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  47. Joan

    HAD to make this last night and bring to my favorite taste-testers, my co-workers. I think I have them in peanut butter and chocolate shock! Fabulous cake – and I doubled the ganache (what can I say I like chocolate). The peanut butter middle is wonderful. I knew there was a reason I had a jar of KA espresso poweder in my cupboard! And if anyone is worried about cutting the layers evenly — once you have the middle filling and topping on, no one cares, they are too busy eating! Go for it I did use the skewer in the middle, worked great. I make a full sheet cake for our monthly office birthdays — I think I have found the one for September (doesn’t hurt that MY birthday is this month also!) Thanks for this!

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  48. Sheryl

    I made this cake last Saturday. I wish I had known about using the bamboo sticks. I had cake sliding everywhere until I got the sticks out. I was taking it to a friend’s house for her birthday, and I was worried it would slide off on the floor even with the bamboo sticks, but it was sure a success. I was a little embarrassed with the looks of the cake, but it was everything promised as far as the taste. What a hit! Can’t wait to try to bring it to work on the next treat day! I think I’ll try to make the peanut butter filling a little thicker and maybe it won’t slide quite so much.

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  49. Margy

    I am at work. We are looking at this cake. I have been informed by my office-mates that I AM making this cake! :-D

    Listen to your friends, Margy – friends always know best. PJH

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  50. Elizabeth

    Don’t have espresso powder on hand, could I substitute l and 1/2 cups cold coffee for the water for the espresso taste?

    I think that might be a bit much coffee, Elizabeth, as the espresso doesn’t lend any taste, it simply enhances the chocolate. How about substituting 1/2 cup cold coffee for the same amount of water? That should do just fine. PJH

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  51. Sue

    I found this recipe after deciding to make a banana cake with my ripe bananas, and thought how good pb and banana sandwiches are…. so I decided it will be a fancy banana cake (I think Elvis would be proud). Still, I am going to need another excuse to make a cake soon so I can try the whole recipe ;)

    Sue, banana cake with PB frosting is an all-time favorite of mine – I hope that’s what you have in mind… Elvis is indeed smiling! PJH

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  52. jami

    This looks fabulous!

    Any advice on how to keep my espresso powder from clumping up in the jar? Thanks!

    Just trying to decide if this is appropriate for a breakfast birthday celebration… it might be a LITTLE rich!

    Hi Jami – sounds like your espresso is getting damp. You might try putting it in a small, tightly capped glass jar, one that fits it pretty closely, to avoid moisture getting in. I have mine in a plastic container with a rubber-gasket-sealed top, and it never clumps. So figure a way to keep that moisture out, OK? As for that cake being rich – yes, it is, for sure. It’d have to be brunch at a minimum, I’d say – :) PJH

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  53. Alison T

    I have been waiting for 2 weeks to make this for my daughter’s 14th birthday. Making the cake today, filling/frosting/eating tomorrow. So I just printed out the recipe. I’m 48 and I just ventured into reading glasses territory a few years ago, but I can usually skate by without them. HOWEVER – I will have to get them, if not a magnifying glass, to read the recipe as just printed out from your website! I’m all for saving paper – but I can’t read a thing without glasses!!! Could you please reconsider the layout and font sizes you get with the “printer friendly” recipe button? I’ll report back on the cake tomorrow :)

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  54. linnie

    I’m making this cake tomorrow, for sure!! As for the damp powder..when we lived in Fla we would put a few grains of rice in the salt shaker so it wouldn’t clump from the humidity..perhaps this would work with the expresso powder too.

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  55. Alison T

    So I made the cake – YUM. Definitely in the rotation. Here in UT, it’s hard to get your cakes moist. Hubby said wow, I wish your German Chocolate Cake was as moist as this. I made 3/4ths a recipe of the pb filling, that was plenty for us. It looked very “wet” so before trying to spread I added more pb and sugar – ended up with firm stuff (barely spreadable) – but that ended up keeping the cake from “creeping” (though I DID use the bamboo sticks just in case). The ganache was looking a little runny too, but I decided to “trust the chef” (AKA KAF) after the pb filling situation – and it was PERFECT. If you had a spot for me to upload a photo, I would. It was great. The corn syrup was a great add to the ganache. Thanks SO much for making my daughter’s day terrific!

    And thanks for sharing, Alison. We’re working on a new online “gathering place” for all of our bakers to post pictures, converse, ask questions, and generally hang out, virtually speaking… PJH

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  56. Pat Meyers

    I was so anxious to make this cake – so I made in over the Labor day week-end. This is a very delicious cake and filling. I did have a problem – and it was a BIG problem. I put the cake in my covered cake carrier. When my son decided the next morning that he wanted to have a piece for his breakfast, I took off the cover. Well, there was the top 3 layers about 2 inchs over the bottom layer. So, I pushed the top layers back where they were suppose to be. This just kept getting worse and worse. I finally took tooth picks and pushed them down into the cake to try and hold it in place. But that would not work either. I finally had the cake layers all together with a pile of filling on the plate beside the cake. This is really a delicious cake, but there was no way that I could keep the top layers from sliding off of the bottom layer. We finally had to cut a piece of cake and put the filling on top of the cake. It was a big mess!!!

    Hi Pat – Next time try doing what I suggested: stick 4-5 long bamboo skewers right down through the top of the cake to the plate. That should anchor the layers. Also, you night try refrigerating it, to keep it more solid. At least it was tasty, right? :) PJH

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  57. Sandy T

    Anyone made this with natural peanut butter in the filling? Any adjustments that should be made? Thanks – looks like a great cake!

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  58. Kathryn Henry

    Terrific recipe! We made one for a friend’s birthday and the comments were, “truly decadent, outrageously delicious, and to die for.” The birthday girl loves peanut butter and chocolate and we try to come up with different desserts each year. This one was over the top. We did add more cream to the peanut butter filling and it spread very well. We didn’t use skewers and didn’t have any problems with the cake slipping. Another hit for KAF and all of you in the test kitchen. You Rock!!

    Glad the b-day girl had a successful cake! Thanks for sharing, Kathryn – PJH

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  59. Penni

    I live at 6,300’…how would you adjust this recipe for the altitude? It seems like it is a dense and moist cake and I am concerned about how it will rise at that altitude.

    It looks really good and my husband loves both chocolate & peanut butter, so I would like to try it.

    Hi Penni – Please take a look at our high altitude baking tips – they should help you out here. Good luck – PJH

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  60. Gert Martel

    PJH – We were invited to a last minute Labor Day cookout so I took the oppportunity to make this cake. I was waiting to have an occasion to make it and here it was. After all the ohhs and ahhs, dessert time arrived and it was as delicious as it looks. It wasn’t difficult to make and the cake was very tender and so moist. It was like having a chocolate peanut butter cup, only better. Thanks for posting this recipe as it will become one of my favorites.

    Glad you can add this to your favorites list, Gert – thanks for sharing. PJH

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  61. Gina

    I made this cake and it was SO good!! I did not have dutched cocoa, and could not find it in any of my area grocery stores. So, I used natural cocoa, adjusted the baking soda, and cut out the baking powder and the cake tasted great and rose beautifully. I had the same issue with the layers sliding off of one another, and found that refridgeration was the best solution.

    The cake was a hit at the party, despite it’s lopsided look. I plan to make it agin for the next family function!

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  62. FRAN S

    When I was a kid (long time ago) my girlfriend’s mom use to make a banana sheet cake (13×9) that had a thin layer of white frosting (buttercream?) and then a thicker layer of chocolate frosting. I have never been able to re-create it. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks

    Fran, To achieve a “double” icing, you will want to chill the cake after the application of the first layer. Once this is firm, you may add the next layer without the 2 intermingling. Frank @ KAF.

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  63. Alison T

    To Penni on Sept 11 – I live at 5300 feet, didn’t adjust anything, and it rose well. My biggest issue is that I’m in Utah, and it’s drier than dry here. I tend to compensate for the flour’s dryness by upping the liquids, but in this case I didn’t and it all came out perfectly well. Generally speaking, each KAF recipe I’ve tried has done well without high altitude adjustments, not sure if that’s dumb luck or what. Good luck.

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  64. Dee

    I had such high hopes for this recipe! I’m quite the avid baker, I bake all the time but this recipe completely disappointed me and I feel a little bummed now. I followed everything to a T and yet the cake came out overly dense and rubbery. I don’t know what went wrong but if it helps, I used an 11′ square pan instead. Really hope someone can help me out…=(

    Sounds like your baking powder was bad, Dee – that’s the usual reason for a dense, rubbery cake. Did you use King Arthur Flour and Dutch-process cocoa? Both of those would make a big difference, too. Also, perhaps an 11″ square pan just offered too much inner area without support (no pan rims), unlike two 8″ round pans. Sorry this didn’t work for you! PJH

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  65. Buckeye Baker

    The recipe sounds great! Since there seem to be some issues with transporting this cake, could the components be made individually, and then assembled “on site”? If so, would the peanut butter filling and/or ganache need to be refrigerated during transport? Could either be microwaved to re-warm? Thanks in advance–Go Bucks!

    Neither would need to be refrigerated, Buckeye. the filling might need a bit more milk stirred in if it stiffens up; and yes, the ganache can be heated in the microwave to make it pourable. So sure, you could definitely assemble on site. Still, do bring the skewers, OK? they help as you assemble, and you can remove once the ganache has set some. Good luck – PJH

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  66. Laura

    Wow! This is a wonderful cake! I made this over the weekend for a large group and it was a hit. I made two substitutions. First, I had no espresso powder, so instead I substituted brewed coffee for part of the water called for in the cake recipe. We also substituted crunchy peanut butter for the creamy used in the filling. The cake came out perfectly. We didn’t use the bamboo skewers and did not have any problem with sliding layers as we transported the cake across town. Perhaps it was the crunchy peanut butter in the filling?
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    Reply
  67. Lorena

    I made this around a week ago for my wonderful husband and I have a question and a comment. I thought the cake turned out great. However, I normally like a dark chocolate buckeye coating, so I used a bittersweet chocolate chip on my frosting – WHOA – it was awful. Lesson learned, use the semisweet as suggested next time – or are there any changes one could make to make the glaze (as it hardened and wasn’t technically in my book a frosting) sweeter without losing that dark flavor?

    Finally, a comment. I know, at least for me, there was a lot of PB filling and a LOT of cake scraps left over from leveling and de-crumbing and such. They looked too good to waste, so I chucked them in a batter bowl, put the lid on, and tossed it in the freezer. Yesterday, I took it out of the freezer, craving some more of that (now-gone) cake and just scooped it out like the world’s best ice-cream. Wow. What a great sundae accompaniment.

    Lorena, Now that sounds like a delicious use of “scraps”! To achieve a smooth shiny glaze when moving from semi-sweet to bittersweet chocolate, you will need to increase the amount of corn syrup. Treat this as an experiment, as different bittersweet chocolate will have their own unique “tipping” point for this adjustment. Frank @ KAF.

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  68. Misty

    I have made this before and it is EXCELLENT! I lost my recipe and just had to come back and get another one! I did not try it with espresso before but I sure will this time…Thanks and everyone who reads this just please know this is welllllll worth the sugar rush!! lol…Mississippi

    Reply
  69. Melissa

    i just made this yesterday for a small dinner party — it was a huge hit! i couldn’t find my 2nd 8″ round pan, so i used 2 9″ squares. i also didn’t halve the layers, so it was only a 2 layer cake, which meant there was LOADS of peanut butter filling in the middle, but really not *too* much.

    it was amazing. thanks!

    Glad it went over well, Melissa – I love it when you can “make do” with alternate pans and everything turns out fine. I wish more people would feel free to do that; baking really is NOT brain surgery, and it’s hard to totally goof something up, in my opinion. PJH

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  70. Kelly

    I have been wanting to make this cake for a while now, and this weekend I finally decided it was time. I am a very experienced baker, so I’m not sure what I did wrong, but the cake was extremely dry. I cut a slice of cake, took a bite, and proceeded to separate the cake layers from the peanut butter filling, throw the cake pieces away, and eat only the peanut butter filling (which was excellent). I was very disappointed!! I mixed it as little as possible, so I’m not sure what I did wrong. I’ll try it again someday, though.

    Sorry about your experience with this recipe, Kelly. Try calling our Baker’s Hotline (802-649-3717), they can try to figure this out with you. PJH

    Reply
  71. Alice

    This has been a huge hit at two potluck dinners I’ve taken it to. I bake it in three 9″ layers, which are thin enough that I don’t have to split them. I also use less than the full amount of milk in the peanut butter filling; I have no trouble spreading it onto the layers, which then don’t shift in transit. Seriously yummy! And yes, GO BUCKS!!!

    Reply

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