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Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake 5

This is a fabulous, decadent cake made from layers of chocolate, raspberry and vanilla mousses on a brownie crust. It is not as sweet as a normal frosted cake, but the mousses are definitely rich and creamy. Serve this in small slices. A whole cake will go a long way, feeding at least 12-18 people.

I first made this cake with Little J about a month ago for my birthday, after seeing it on Sugar Hero. I made a few changes to it then, and then some more changes when I made it a second time for a church youth event. I still found the brownie layer to be much too rich in the first two versions of this recipe, so I tried yet again and am now happy with the results!

Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake 4

The length of the recipe looks intimidating, but basically you are just making a one-bowl brownie layer, then repeating the mousse layer in three different flavors and topping with a simple chocolate ganache. I won’t lie: it does take ALL DAY to make. But that is mostly because there are a number of cooling/chilling steps, since the mousse layers each need to firm up before spreading on the next layer. And if you make your own raspberry puree, that adds more time to the process. Straining raspberry seeds is not one of my favorite things, but the result is definitely worth it.

The only special equipment you need to make this cake are a springform pan (or cake pan with removable bottom) and an acetate cake collar at least 4” high.

 

The final cake is taller than a regular springform pan, and you want the sides to be smooth, so a cake collar is a real help putting this together.

Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake Cake Collar 1

You can make your own using parchment paper or foil, but it is hard to get it completely smooth. I used non-stick foil the first time I made this cake, and then bought some cake collars on Amazon for my next try at it. Here are the differences in final texture between the foil collar and real cake collar:

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse CakeChocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake 5

If you have an egg allergy, this is a perfect cake. The mousse layers contain no eggs at all. The brownie layer does contain an egg, but you could leave that layer off or use an egg substitute for that one egg. This dessert is also really pretty layered in parfait glasses. I made one parfait version for our chocolate-hating son, just layering the raspberry and vanilla mousses and fresh berries.

Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake 6

 

RECIPE:

Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Vanilla Mousse Cake 5

Brownie Layer:
¼ cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
4 Tbs unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup flour

Chocolate Mousse Layer:
1 ¾ cups heavy cream, divided
6 oz (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1 pkt (2 tsp) unflavored gelatin
2 Tbs water
Pinch salt
t tsp vanilla

Raspberry  Mousse Layer:
1 ½ cups heavy cream, divided
6 oz (1 cup) white chocolate chips
1 pkt (2 tsp) unflavored gelatin
2 Tbs water
Pinch salt
t tsp vanilla
1 cup Sweetened Raspberry Puree or seedless raspberry jam

Vanilla  Mousse Layer:
1 ¾ cups heavy cream, divided
6 oz (1 cup) white chocolate chips
1 pkt (2 tsp) unflavored gelatin
2 Tbs water
3 Tbs powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1 vanilla bean
t tsp vanilla

Chocolate Ganache & Topping:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs corn syrup
3 oz (1/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
1 pint fresh raspberries

Brownie Layer:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9” springform pan lightly with baking spray. Line bottom of pan with a round of parchment paper and then spray again with baking spray.

Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating until melted. Stir in sugar, salt and vanilla; mix well. Stir in egg and mix well. Stir in flour until just combined.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes. Cool completely.

Chocolate Mousse Layer:
Place ¾ cup of the cream in a Pyrex measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 minute, or until hot. Add chocolate chips to hot cream. Let sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the water. Let sit while chocolate cools. Place remaining 1 cup cream, salt and vanilla in a large bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Microwave gelatin mixture for 15 seconds to melt gelatin; stir into chocolate. Pour chocolate mixture into whipped cream and beat briefly with a mixer to partially mix. Use a spatula to fold mousse until well mixed.

Place a 4” cake collar or a strip of non-stick foil around the inside of the springform pan. Spread chocolate mousse over the brownie layer, spreading to the edge of the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until mousse is firm.

Raspberry Mousse Layer:
Place ½ cup of the cream in a Pyrex measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 minute, or until hot. Add white chocolate chips to hot cream. Let sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the water. Let sit while chocolate cools. Place remaining 1 cup cream, salt and vanilla in a large bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Microwave gelatin mixture for 15 seconds to melt gelatin; stir into chocolate. Pour white chocolate mixture and raspberry puree into whipped cream and beat briefly with a mixer to partially mix. Use a spatula to fold mousse until well mixed.

Spread raspberry mousse over the chocolate mousse layer, spreading to the edge of the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until mousse is firm.

Vanilla Mousse Layer:
Place ¾ cup of the cream in a Pyrex measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 minute, or until hot. Add white chocolate chips to hot cream. Let sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the water. Let sit while chocolate cools. Place remaining 1 cup cream, salt, seeds from vanilla bean and vanilla in a large bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Microwave gelatin mixture for 15 seconds to melt gelatin; stir into chocolate. Pour white chocolate mixture  into whipped cream and beat briefly with a mixer to partially mix. Use a spatula to fold mousse until well mixed.

Spread vanilla mousse over the raspberry mousse layer, spreading to the edge of the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until mousse is firm.

Chocolate Ganache & Topping:
Place cream and corn syrup in a Pyrex measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 minute, or until hot. Add chocolate chips to hot cream. Let sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth. Cool until a thick pouring consistency.

Remove sides of the springform pan. Run a sharp knife along the top edge of the vanilla mousse layer to keep it from sticking to the cake collar. Carefully remove cake collar. Remove cake from bottom of the springform pan and place on serving dish.

Spread the ganache over the top of the cake and allow to drip down the sides of the cake. Place fresh raspberries in the center of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Sweetened Raspberry Puree
12 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen (about 2 ½ cups of not-crushed fresh berries)
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs cornstarch
¼ cup cold water

In a heavy saucepan, combine raspberries, ½ cup water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, crushing berries slightly with the back of a spoon. Strain the berries through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through the sieve with the back of a spoon or a pestle. Return seedless puree to the saucepan (rinse saucepan first if there are seeds clinging to the sides). Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir into puree in the saucepan. Return mixture to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and no longer cloudy. Cool before using.

Yield: about 1 ¾ cups seedless puree

(Inspired by Sugar Hero)

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A Birthday Experiment

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Just wanted to give a little teaser of a recipe in progress. Next month I am making a couple of cakes for a church young women event. I wanted to try out a new recipe I hope to bring that night, and since Monday was my birthday, I figured that was as good of an excuse as any to try it out. Monday was also a holiday from school, so I enlisted Little J to help me. She was thrilled to help; she had been worried that with her two older sisters now gone at college, she would be on her own to come up with a birthday dessert for me.

This is not a traditional cake –in fact,  there is  no actual cake in it at all. It has a brownie base that is topped by chocolate, raspberry and vanilla mousses. It is not an especially hard cake to make, but is extremely time consuming, as there are long waiting periods throughout the assembly process.

We were pretty pleased with the result, although there are some additional changes I want to make to the recipe before I post it here. So you will have to wait until next month for the full revised recipe.

For anyone who lives close who would like to test it out for me, come on by! Since Little A won’t touch chocolate, there are only three of us left here to eat this enormous cake! (Don’t feel too sorry for him though- I am a sucker-mom and made him his own parfait out of the raspberry and vanilla mousses.)

It has been 4 days now, and we still haven’t made it halfway through. Help!!

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Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 3

I have made three of these cakes in the last month. One for a Boy Scout fundraising auction and two more for a dinner for a visiting Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland) who was here with Elder Hallstrom of the Seventy giving training to local missionaries and ward and stake leaders. Elder Holland was president of BYU when I was there, and is one of my favorite speakers, so it was really nice to meet him.

I dragged four of my kids along to help me serve, and they were really great about it, even Big J, (who returned home from serving a mission just the night before and only complained slightly about having to put his suit back on the day after coming home) and Middle K (who was celebrating her 17th birthday that day and chose to come help serve instead of having her own birthday celebration). They even washed and dried TONS of dishes! I was certainly proud of all of them that day.

We did have cake left over, so we were able to wish Middle K a very happy 17th birthday with leftover cake. She didn’t mind one bit.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 5

This cake is made with 2 layered chocolate cakes, cut in half to make four layers. Two of the layers are drizzled with a very thin layer of chocolate ganache and then it is filled with a Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing. The entire cake is then frosted with the raspberry frosting and the top is drizzled with more ganache. It is finished with stars piped from cooled ganache topped with fresh raspberries. I am not usually a big chocolate cake eater, but chocolate and raspberry are such a great flavor combination that I make an exception in this case!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 4

I first saw this cake on Annie’s Eats, but used my own chocolate cake and frosting recipes to assemble it.

RECIPE:

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 1

Ingredients (recipes below):
Chocolate Layer Cake
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Chocolate Ganache
Fresh Raspberries, for garnish

Chocolate Layer Cake
2 cups flour
½ cup regular cocoa powder
½ cup Dutch process cocoa (or Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 9” cake pans; line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Grease paper and then dust entire pan with cocoa powder.

Combine flour, cocoa powders, baking soda and salt. Mix with a whisk. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars for 5 minutes. The mixture should be very pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until smooth.

Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, remove parchment paper and cool.

Cooled cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen until you are ready to assemble them. (For this cake, if you are freezing the layers: cut each layer in half before freezing to make 4 layers).

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing
1 ½ cups egg whites (about 12 large egg whites, or use pasteurized egg whites that come in a carton)
2 ½ cups sugar
pinch of salt
3 cups unsalted butter (6 sticks), at room temperature**
1 Tbs vanilla extract
about 1 ½ cups Raspberry filling (see recipe below) or 1 cup raspberry jam

In the top of a double boiler, stir together  egg whites, sugar and salt. Bring water in bottom of double boiler to a low simmer; cook until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 160°F and sugar is completely dissolved (rub mixture between fingertips-it should not feel gritty). Mixture will be foamy and not a uniform consistency.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip until meringue is completely cooled and glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. DO NOT ADD BUTTER UNTIL BOTH THE BOWL AND FROSTING ARE COMPLETELY COOL. Switch mixer attachment from the whisk to paddles. Add butter 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Mixture may appear curdled at times. Continue beating until butter is fully incorporated and frosting is fluffy and smooth.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Add vanilla and beat smooth. Add cooled raspberry filling and beat until frosting is a uniform color (start with about 1 cup filling, beat, and then add more if you want a more pronounced raspberry flavor).

**BUTTER NOTE: butter should be room temperature soft, but not at the point of melting. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate well into the meringue, and you will have butter chunks. If the butter is over-soft, it will cause the icing to curdle while beating-this is okay, it isn’t ruined: it will just take longer (more beating) for the frosting to become smooth. If icing still won’t set, place in the fridge for 20 minutes, and then beat again.

Raspberry Filling
12 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen (about 2 1/2 cups of not crushed fresh berries)
½ cup sugar
½ Tbs lemon juice
½ cup water
2-3 Tbs cornstarch or ClearJel
¼ cup cold water

In a heavy saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, crushing berries slightly with the back of a spoon. Strain the berries through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Gradually stir ½ cup water into the seeds in the sieve (over the bowl) and press again to remove as much pulp as possible. Return seedless puree to the saucepan (rinse saucepan first if there are seeds clinging to the sides). Mix the cornstarch and ¼ cup water in a small bowl; stir into puree in the saucepan. Return mixture to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and no longer cloudy. Cool completely (or chill) before using.

Chocolate ganache:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup

Place the chopped chocolate into a small bowl and set aside. In a Pyrex measuring cup or microwavable bowl, combine the heavy cream and corn syrup. Heat for 1 minute; stir. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for one minutes, then stir until smooth with a whisk.

Cake Assembly:

Completely cool cake layers. Cut each layer in half to make 4 layers. Prepare frosting and ganache.

Place waxed paper strips along edges of serving plate. Place one cake layer, cut side up, on the serving plate. Waxed paper strips should cover the exposed part of the plate, but not be too far under the cake layer. Spread a very thin layer of warm ganache (about 2-3 Tbs) over cake (it will begin to soak into the cake). Spread cake with a layer of raspberry icing. Repeat with remaining 3 cake layers (I only put ganache between the 2 cut layers of cake). Ice entire cake with a thin crumb coat of icing. Refrigerate cake for 2o minutes to set slightly (optional). Create a smooth finish with remaining icing over entire cake (top of cake should be completely flat).

Set aside about 3/4 cup of the ganache. Drizzle top of cake with the remaining ganache, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate cake.

When ganache on cake has set and the remaining ganache has set to a piping consistency (place in the refrigerator to thicken faster), spoon remaining ganache in a pastry bag fit with a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M). Pipe stars around the edge of cake. Top each star with a fresh raspberry. Serve cake at room temperature.

Storage:  Cake can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. The fresh raspberries will not keep at room temperature very long, but the cake tastes best when served at room temperature (when chilled, the icing will become very firm). When I am making this cake ahead of time, I store it in the refrigerator, and remove it to room temperature about 3 hours before serving.

(Inspired by Annie’s Eats)

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Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake 1

This is definitely a cheater recipe, starting with both a chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding mix. But it is easy, delicious and super-moist. Perfect. And baked in a bundt pan it makes a beautiful dessert suitable for serving company.

This is especially delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of each slice.

RECIPE:

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake 1

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used a dark chocolate fudge flavor)
1 small box (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
½ cup warm water
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F . Grease and flour a bundt pan (or spray with baking non-stick cooking spray: the kind with flour in it).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs and water. Stir in the chopped chocolate and pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely in the bundt pan for about 90 minutes.

Invert onto a serving plate and drizzle with glaze. If desired, serve each slice topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate ganache glaze:

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (a little more than 1/2 cup)
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbs corn syrup
1 Tbs granulated sugar

Place the chopped chocolate into a small bowl and set aside. In a Pyrex measuring cup or microwavable bowl, combine the heavy cream, corn syrup and sugar. Heat for 1 minute; stir. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for one minutes, then stir until smooth with a whisk.

Use a spoon to generously drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.

(Adapted from SixSistersStuff)

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Thanksgiving Dessert: Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Coconut Cream Pie Bars noemptychairs.me 059-1

Looking for a non-pumpkin dessert to add to your Thanksgiving menu?

How about a creamy coconut cream pie filling on a shortbread crust with the thinnest layer of chocolate ganache squeezed in, then topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut?!  And since they are so addicting, make them in a 9×13” pan so there are plenty of leftovers for the next day.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars noemptychairs.me 067-1

Move over pumpkin pie!

Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

RECIPE:

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

  • Servings: Makes 24 bars
  • Print

Coconut Cream Pie Bars noemptychairs.me 059-1

Crust:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) salted butter, cut into pieces

Ganache:
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ cup chocolate chips (bittersweet or semisweet)

Coconut Cream Filling:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups (2 cans) coconut milk
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon coconut extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cup sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted*

Whipped Cream Topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ cup coconut, toasted*

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with baking Pamm (the kind with flour).

Crust: Combine the flour and powdered sugar; cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two knives or a food processor. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 14-18 minutes until the crust is light brown. Cool crust on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Ganache: Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat ¼ cup cream in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave for 45 seconds, or until simmering. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 1-2 minutes, then stir until smooth. If chips do not completely melt, microwave for 20 seconds and stir again. Pour the chocolate over the bottom of the crust and smooth to the edges. Place pan in the fridge to chill until crust is cooled completely and ganache has hardened.

Filling: Use a whisk to mix sugar, cornstarch  and salt in a large saucepan. Mix in coconut milk, half-and-half, cream, and beaten eggs. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly until it is very thick. If the mixtures has lumps, you can strain it through a fine mesh sieve. (If you whisk diligently while cooking, you will not need to strain the pudding). Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and vanilla extracts and toasted coconut. Pour the filling over the chilled ganache and refrigerate the bars until they are set, about 4 hours.

Topping: With a mixer, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spread the cream over the chilled bars; sprinkle with toasted coconut. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes 24 bars

*Notes:

** To toast the coconut, spread coconut onto a baking sheet and bake at 325°F, stirring every 5 minutes for about 15 minutes, or until light brown. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.

** If you are making these bars ahead of time, prepare the crust, chocolate and filling and refrigerate. Add the whipped cream topping just before serving. Whipped cream will begin to get watery if left in the refrigerator for more than a day.

** Halve recipe to make in a deep-dish pie pan or 8×8” pan.

(Recipe adapted from melskitchencafe)

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Chocolate and Penut Butter Mousse 033-1
Another fabulous cake from up-and-coming-baker Big A.

Chocolate and Penut Butter Mousse 005-1

Big A made this cake from the cookbook Chocolate Cakes that she received from a friend for Christmas last year. They did provide a recipe for the chocolate cake, but Big A started with a chocolate fudge cake mix, then made the rest of the cake from scratch. The cake batter has peanut butter cups mixed in (good thing for leftover Halloween candy), and is baked as a one-layer cake.

The top center of the cake is scooped out to create a crater, filled with peanut butter mousse and then the  removed cake pieces are replaced over top of the mousse. More peanut butter mousse is then spread over the entire cake. After a quick chill, the entire cake is covered in chocolate ganache and sprinkled with more peanut butter cups.

Chocolate and Penut Butter Mousse 029-1

The peanut butter mousse in this cake is fabulous! Especially if you use a good quality natural peanut butter. It is smooth and creamy and perfect for eating with chocolate cake.

RECIPE:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Chocolate and Penut Butter Mousse 033-1

1 box chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients for preparing)
8 oz peanut butter cups; coarsely chop half of the chocolates

Peanut Butter Mousse:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare cake mix batter as directed on box (or use your favorite recipe). Stir the coarsely chopped peanut butter cups into the cake batter (reserve the second half of the peanut butter cups to garnish the top). Pour entire batter into one 10” round cake pan. (This is larger than a standard cake pan. If you want to use a standard sized pan, make 3-4 cupcakes out of the batter then pour the remaining batter into the pan. It will overflow if you use all of the batter in a standard pan). Bake cake for 40-45 minutes, or until center is set. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare peanut butter mousse: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly beat in powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture.

Invert cake onto a serving platter. Leaving a 1-inch edge around the top of the cake, use a small, sharp knife to cut out the center of the center of the cake to create a cavity about 1-inch deep. (Don’t worry about removing it all in one piece) Use a spatula to spread about 1/3 of the mousse  into the hollowed-out center of the cake. Break the removed cake into pieces and return to the center of the cake, on top of the mousse. Mound cake pieces slightly at the center of the cake. Spread the remaining mousse over the top and sides of the entire cake. Refrigerate the cake until the mousse is firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare ganache. Allow ganache to cool until thickened but still pourable. Carefully spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake. Cut remaining peanut butter cups into 1/2” pieces. Scatter over the top of the cake while the ganache is still soft. Refrigerate cake for 1-2 hours before serving.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate  in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan, heat cream until it comes to a boil. Pour cream over chocolate in mixing bowl and stir until chocolate is melted and glossy.  Stir in vanilla.

For a glaze:
Cool ganache slightly (until thick enough that it won’t run off of the cake, but warm enough that it will still drizzle). Pour ganache over cake, starting in the center of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.

For a cake frosting, or for piping:
The longer you allow the ganache to cool, the thicker it will set.   For piping or for a regular cake frosting, allow the ganache to completely cool and set up at room temperature. Mix with a whisk slightly just before frosting the cake.

For a whipped filling or frosting:
For a thicker, fluffy frosting, or filling for a cake, chill the ganache in the refrigerator until slightly cold, then whip with a mixer until light and fluffy.

 

Recipe adapted from Chocolate Cakes

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

OR: How to Make a Chocolate Cake When All You Have Is a Vanilla Cake Mix

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This is a quick and easy dessert that looks much more complicated than it really is. With only 5 real ingredients (7 if you frost the cake) that I always have on hand, it makes a great last minute dessert.

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This cake actually starts with a vanilla cake mix. You could use a chocolate cake mix for a richer chocolate flavor, but then you would have to make your own peanut butter filling, or use part of a vanilla cake mix for that. I’m all for simplicity, so I transformed my vanilla cake mix into a chocolate one by mixing a chocolate pudding mix into most of the vanilla cake batter. The remaining vanilla batter is mixed with peanut butter for the peanut butter filling layer.

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When filling your bundt pan, start by adding about 1/3 of the chocolate batter to the pan. Spoon the peanut butter batter over the chocolate layer, keeping batter away from the edges of the pan (so it won’t show on the outside of the cake). Spoon remaining chocolate batter over the peanut butter layer.

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You can eat this cake plain, but it is so much better with a simple chocolate glaze (or ganache if you want to sound fancy!). Just a mixture of cream and bittersweet (you could use semi-sweet) chocolate. Lovingly drizzled over the edges of your cake.

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RECIPE:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

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1 box (about 18 oz) yellow or white cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 small package (4 servings) chocolate pudding mix
Chocolate Ganache Frosting, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, use a mixer to beat together the cake mix, water, oil and eggs. Remove one cup of batter to a small bowl. Beat peanut butter into reserved one cup of batter. Add the chocolate pudding mix to the large bowl of batter. Beat until well combined.

Grease and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan  (or use non-stick baking spray with flour). Spoon about 1/3 of the chocolate batter into the prepared bundt pan. Spoon peanut butter batter over the chocolate layer, keeping batter away from the edges of the pan. Spoon remaining chocolate batter over the peanut butter layer.

Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate and cool completely. Top with Chocolate Ganache frosting, if desired.

Yield: 12-16 servings

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Optional flavorings: vanilla, almond, orange, or peppermint extract (amount varies depending on strength of extract)

Place chopped chocolate  in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan, heat cream until it comes to a boil. Pour cream over chocolate in mixing bowl and stir until chocolate is melted and glossy.  Stir in flavoring, if using.

For a glaze (this is what I use for the bundt cake):
Cool ganache slightly (until thick enough that it won’t run off of the cake, but warm enough that it will still drizzle). Pour ganache over cake, starting in the center of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.

For a cake frosting, or for piping:
The longer you allow the ganache to cool, the thicker it will set.   For piping or for a regular cake frosting, allow the ganache to completely cool and set up at room temperature. Mix with a whisk slightly just before frosting the cake.

For a whipped filling or frosting:
For a thicker, fluffy frosting, or filling for a cake, chill the ganache in the refrigerator until slightly cold, then whip with a mixer until light and fluffy.

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