Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fun Cake

I am in need of some fun right about now.  My kids are in their last couple of days of school, and although my 4th grader comes home with stories on how her teacher is still making them work up until the last day (no picnics and day long parties like the other classes), I can tell they are still having fun.  I haven’t seen her do any homework in days, which is quite impressive given the mountain of work she had to do this year.  My kindergartener on the other hand, is in complete lala land with the final days.  She is having the time of her life – she said she would much rather stay in school than go to camp.

I remember when I graduated college and started working, it was quite a shock thinking that there was never an “end” unless you created one.  I loved the end of the year, taking a break from school, than starting the next year completely fresh.  At work, even though we start fresh each year with new commitments, the old ones pretty much roll into the new, and you never really have a clean break.  Although, this year…we are going to try something new – they don’t know it yet, but we are getting closer to fun.

So just like a true food obsessed person would do, I turn to food.  What can you do if you want to infuse a little fun in your life?  Well, I turned to Bon Appetit, and decided to make this cake.  First of all, anything with the words chocolate and peanut butter has to be delicious – but seriously – add the word fun, and you have just created yourself a party.  This cake was so amazingly moist and delicious, and that frosting, I seriously could not get enough.  I don’t even like buttercream frosting, but this was more like a marshmallow frosting with butter in it – it was light and sinfully good.  The best part about it was how simple it was to make.  Now, who is having fun now?  So, if you need a little fun in your life – this is the cake for you, and the best part of all is you don’t need to go through an entire year of school to get to the fun part…

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/4 cupsall-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (3 1/2 ounces)

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (about 1 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • special equipment:

    An 8x8x2-inch cake pan

Preparation

Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat bottom and sides of pan with nonstick spray; line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups water; whisk until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 35–40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

Combine sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat; using  an electric mixer, beat on high speed until cool and thick, 5–6 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. With mixer running,  add butter a few pieces at a time, beating to blend between additions. Season with salt.

Run a thin knife around pan to release cake. Invert cake onto a serving plate. Spread peanut butter buttercream over top. Garnish with chopped chocolate and peanuts.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fun Cake

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