Oh yes. That is what I said. It was Paul’s birthday two weeks ago, and to celebrate him turning the big 3-0, I took him to Las Vegas for a week to celebrate! It was absolutely fantastic. Beautiful weather, delicious food, interesting people, Las Vegas has it all. It was Paul’s second trip, and my first, and what a trip to remember! Anyways, I promised Paul that when we got home and things settled down, I would make him a birthday cake. For the past two years, I have made Paul the same thing. A dark chocolate cake, with peanut butter frosting, with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups in the middle, topped with a chocolate peanut butter ganache and more Reese’s cups. In case you can’t tell, Reese’s peanut butter cups are Paul’s favourite chocolate bar/treat in general, so his birthday cakes usually revolve around those flavours. In my opinion, chocolate and peanut butter are a truly fantastic combination. I don’t blame Paul for loving the combination so much, and Reese’s does it right. Anyways, I was floating around Pinterest (I never should have gotten Pinterest… I am a little more than addicted….) and I found this recipe. It was linked to another foodie blog (how I love the food blogs!) called Life, Love, and Sugar. I took this recipe from her, and adapted it ever so slightly. I kept the brownie recipe the same, and ever so slightly tweaked the eggless cookie dough and the ganache on top. Here is the link to the original recipe: http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2014/03/26/peanut-butter-cookie-dough-brownie-layer-cake-recipe/ Here is my version: Oooohh yes. Three layers of brownie, two layers of peanut butter cookie dough (to which I added chocolate chips and Reese’s peanut butter chips), topped with a chocolate peanut butter ganache, Reese’s peanut butter chips, and more chocolate chips. Phew. That’s a lot. Well, guess I better get to the recipe before you all start drooling. Or I can tempt you further with another picture.
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Layer Cake
Yields: 1 8 inch cake
1½ c. vegetable or canola oil
3 c. sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ c. flour
1 c. cocoa
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1¼ c. butter, room temperature
1¼ c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
¾ c. peanut butter
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ c. flour
3-4 tbsp. milk
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or half chocolate chips, half Reese’s peanut butter chips)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 c. heavy cream, divided
Line the bottoms of three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F.
To make the brownies, in the bowl of a mixer, mix the oil, sugar and vanilla extract. Once combined, add the eggs and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, and slowly add the dry mix to the wet until well combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the three pans, spread evenly, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, not clean. Remove brownies from the oven, cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to cool on a wire rack. Brownies must cool completely before assembling cake.
To make the cookie dough, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the peanut butter and vanilla extract. With mixer on low, add flour in until it is combined. Add milk to preferred thickness (if you like a thicker cookie dough, add less milk). With a spatula, stir in chocolate chips. (Again, I used half chocolate chips, and half Reese’s peanut butter chips.) Dough will be thick. If it’s a little too soft for your taste, put in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
To assemble the cake, start off with making a ganache. Put half the amount of cream into a microwave safe bowl until it is almost boiling. Whisk in chocolate chips, and let it set for a couple minutes until the ganache thickens. Place a layer of brownie on a serving platter, and using a pastry brush, brush on a thin layer of ganache. This will help the brownie and cookie dough layers stick together.
Using one of the same 8 inch cake pans you baked the brownies in, put parchment paper or saran wrap in the bottom and up the sides of the pan. You will use it to lift the cookie dough layers out of the pan. Split the cookie dough into two equal parts. Press the cookie dough into the pan to form an even layer, and then place on top of the brownie layer. Repeat with a second brownie layer, a second cookie dough layer, and the last brownie layer, brushing each layer with ganache before placing the next layer on.
Once the cake is assembled, finishing with a brownie, place it in the refrigerator to firm up slightly before putting on the final layer of ganache. Make the rest of the ganache like before. This time, however, I added Reese’s peanut butter chips to give the overall glaze a more peanut butter cup taste. Wait until the ganache is thick but still runny, and drizzle over the top of the cake so it runs down the sides. (I was a bit too overenthusiastic and my ganache was still fairly thin… should have let it cool longer!)
Refrigerate cake for 7-10 minutes, until ganache is almost set, but still soft. Finish garnish with peanut butter frosting (as in Life, Love, and Sugar), or with Reese’s peanut butter cups and chocolate and Reese’s peanut butter chips, like I did. Enjoy with a huge glass of milk!