Last week I hosted a (long-overdue) birthday dinner for my brother’s sweet wife, Kelly. And OH MAN, was it fabulous! As is our family’s birthday custom, the birthday girl got to handpick the entire menu and was not required to take into account anyone else’s food preferences whatsoever! She chose a very carbtastic meal, and of course I was thrilled that said meal did not require me to thaw or handle any raw meat. (Not that I’m not willing to do that for the people I love… but it sure is nice when I don’t have to!)
Ready to hear about her feast?
Peach Balsamic Pizza and Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Toasts
(Elsa *might* be a bit spoiled, considering that her idea of “pizza” involves peaches, balsamic, and fresh basil.) Oh and those Sweet Potato Toasts? One of the BEST foods I’ve ever put into my mouth. I’m saving that recipe for a post ALL of its own!! Prepare yourself.
Next we moved on to the entrée course, which included Sundried Tomato Alfredo, Asparagus, and this amazing salad!
And after the meal, we savored cups of coffee alongside THIS chocolate cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Talk about sinful! Oh, it was a good cake. My husband has declared it will be his birthday dessert this year as well. And I probably don’t need to tell you what Elsa though of it. She DEVOURED it. And she talked about it nonstop for the next 24 hours, except when she was sleeping.
One thing I want to note about this cake though… it was overly sweet in my opinion. (My husband agreed.) And I actually reduced the sugar from the original recipe to make this cake! I think that when I make it again, I will reduce it further. But the printable recipe below gives the quantities I used for this exact cake. Just know that I think it would be even better if you reduced the sugar by another ¼ cup. Speaking of overly sweet desserts, does anyone know how to make a frosting that won’t give you a toothache? This frosting uses peanut butter, cream cheese, and obscene amounts of powdered sugar. I recognize that there’s no way to get it thick enough if I don’t add that much powdered sugar. So tell me, dessert experts, are there other ways to thicken frosting without using so much powdered sugar? I’d love to hear about them!
Dessert tangents aside, this was a wonderful meal and a wonderful night! I feel so blessed that my brother and sister-in-law live just an hour from us… we’re soaking it up as long as we possibly can. If they ever move, they might need to take me with them.
Scroll down for the printable recipe for this CAKE!!! And make it at your earliest possible opportunity. P.S. It is a small cake, made in 6 inch pans, so you can enjoy it for a special treat without the lingering obligation to keep eating it for the entire next week. Just keeping an eye out for ya!
Happy Celebrating with your own loved ones! I’m so glad you choose to find inspiration here.
- For the cake:
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- 1 C C sugar
- Scant ½ C Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ C vegetable oil
- ½ C sour cream or plain yogurt
- ¾ C brewed coffee
- 1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- For the Peanut Butter Frosting
- 5 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ stick butter, softened
- 2 C powdered sugar, sifted
- ⅓ C smooth peanut butter
- For the Chocolate Ganache
- 4 oz Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1½ Tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
- ¼ C half-and-half
- To make the cake, prepare 2 6-inch round pans by buttering all sides of each cake pan. Trace the cake pans onto parchment paper and cut out the circles to line each cake pan. Butter the parchment paper in each cake pan after lining the cake pans. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the sour cream and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Slowly pour in the coffee a little at a time, stirring until a smooth mixture forms. After the coffee and other ingredients are smoothly combined, stir in the vinegar and vanilla. Then, whisk in the egg. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. When the cakes are finished, let them cool in their pans for 20 minutes. As you remove them from the pans, allow the cakes to cool briefly on a cooling rack. Then transfer them to a plate or tray. Do not stack them. Freeze for 20 to 30 minutes, or until firm.
- Make the peanut butter frosting: With a hand- or stand-mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese and the butter until smooth. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. When the frosting is smooth, beat in the peanut butter. Frost and stack the the cooked cake layers thickly with peanut butter frosting. Store cake in the refrigerator until ready to coat with ganache.
- Make the chocolate-peanut butter ganache: In a microwave-safe measuring cup, melt together the semi-sweet chocolate, smooth peanut butter, and light corn syrup in 20 second increments stirring regularly. When the mixture is smooth and melted, whisk in the half-and-half. While warm and pourable, drizzle the ganache over the frosted cake.
- Serving: Remove the cake from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving to let it come towards room temperature.