Have you been thinking to yourself recently “I just don’t have enough peanut butter in my life?” I mean sure, you can put it on toast, and I’m sure you’ve consumed the odd peanut butter ball, but have you found yourself in the position of thinking “Yeah, that’s enough peanut butter”? Because it never is right? Or is that just me? I mean, can you really overdose on peanut butter? Probably you can with a mere speck of it if you’re allergic of course, but for anybody else (or maybe just me), there just isn’t enough peanut butter in the world to fully satisfy a craving for this nut of the Gods. Maybe, just maybe I could come close if I went to a spa, had a peanut butter facial and peanut butter body scrub wrap (those aren’t things, but they really should be! Who’s with me? Rant for another day perhaps? 😉 ), ate peanut butter cookies topped with peanut butter balls, and washed it all down with a (vegan) peanut butter milkshake. My birthday’s not for many months, but uh…if anyone’s looking for a birthday idea for me, try opening a peanut butter-based spa and I will gladly be your first test customer.
Since my peanut butter spa dreams are currently on hold, I thought I’d do the next best thing and make this peanut butter fudge overdose cake. Rich, decadent, pure bliss (cake that you eat with a spoon AND a swoon 😉 ).
This nonsensical concoction (or is it perhaps a concoction that’s SO sensible that it just blew your mind?!!! I thought so) was born because Kevin one night came back from meeting his dad for coffee and said something along the lines of “My dad’s been talking about peanut butter balls a lot lately.” Now some people might find that weird, but for me, I was like “Yeah? Doesn’t everybody do that?” 😉 . Anywho, at the time, Kevin’s dad’s birthday was quasi-coming up, so I figured I would use it as an inspiration to make something insanely peanut-butter-ball-y (a lot of dashes in that “word”- but not to worry, there will be more than a few dashes of peanut butter in this puppy).
Of course the classic combination is chocolate and peanut butter, so we really needed to amp up both here, so chocolate buttercream anyone? Now I could have made this with a chocolate cake instead, but I really wanted the peanut butter flavour to shine through here, and as much as I love love love chocolate, it’s a strong flavour and I didn’t want it to overpower the not-at-all-delicate flavour of peanut butter, so I did a vanilla cake. Feel free to replace with your favourite chocolate cake instead if you disagree, or if intense chocolate flavour with just a soupçon of peanut butter is more your bag.
Now I know what you’re thinking, so you can just take that smirk off your face right now. “Umm…Amber, you made a vanilla cake as the base for this? I thought it was supposed to be peanut butter-tastic?” Technically, you are correct, but I also didn’t want those little peanut butter ball bites to get lost in the shuffle of peanut butter cake. This way, in every bite you get deliciously intense little bursts of peanut butter flavour, but the richness is a least somewhat toned down, so you can actually eat a slice of this cake and not just take one bite and go “That’s delicious, but now that I’m full of enough richness to give Elon Musk a run for his money, I think I’m done here.” (Now I of course would never say this, but sometimes in dessert-making, especially when it’s for someone else’s birthday, you have to think of more than just yourself. I know, I know, it’s upsetting, but that’s just the reality of the world we live in 😉 ). If you don’t care about other people at all, or you’ll be the only one eating this cake, feel free to either replace some of your flour with peanut butter powder and/or replace half of your butter with peanut butter. I haven’t tried this at all, but it just sounds like something that would work. If you try this and it’s a total disaster, I’m sorry in advance 🙂 ).
Now get out there and have a ball!….of peanuts…mmmmmmmmmmmm…………..
Yield: 2 “mini” layer cakes, or one large
Mini Maple Peanut Butter Balls:
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons vegan butter
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional – if using, may need to add another tablespoon of icing sugar)
- 3/4-1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups cake/ pastry flour
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 2 egg replacer
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cups vegan butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup melted vegan chocolate
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons almond milk
Peanut Butter Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2-1 cup icing sugar
- Make the mini maple peanut butter balls by combing all ingredients except the chocolate until fully combined.
- Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
- Form large pea sized peanut butter balls and place on baking sheet. Place sheet in freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Place chocolate into a small bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is fully melted.
- Remove peanut butter balls from the freezer and dip in chocolate, placing peanut butter balls back on the baking sheet. Return sheet to freezer while preparing cake batter.
- Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 2 9 inch round cake pan or four mini cake pans (you can either do this in two batches, or only do 1 cake pan and two mini cake pans and slice cake in half after it’s baked and cooled). Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour (I highly recommend not skipping this step, it will make removing the cake from the pan afterwards a breeze).
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- On low speed of a hand mixer, slowly add in the vegan butter a few cubes (or blobs if you’re me) at a time, mixing until there are no huge chunks left.
- Add egg replacer one at a time, blending between each addition.
- Add in the vanilla and almond extract, mixing to combine.
- Add in the non-dairy milk in a few additions, mixing between each addition.
- Remove peanut butter balls from the freezer and fold as many as you want into the cake batter (I did about 60, 15 in each of my four layers). Reserve some peanut butter balls for decorating afterwards.
- Pour batter into pans and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes (or longer if you’re not too impatient) before carefully inverting cake onto a plate or cooling rack.
- Make chocolate buttercream – in a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter, vanilla and chocolate. Slowly add the cocoa powder and mix to combine. Beat in the icing sugar. Add the almond milk slow, only adding as much as you need to get the right spreadable consistency.
- If making two mini cakes, divide chocolate buttercream evenly onto two mini cakes and top with other two cakes (if making just one, place all the buttercream on top of one layer and top with second layer.
- Make peanut butter glaze by combining peanut butter, non-dairy milk and vanilla in a small bowl and warming slightly in the microwave (30 seconds or so – just enough that everything mixes well together). Using a hand mixer, slowly add icing sugar to peanut butter mixture until thinnish glaze consistency is achieved (here’s a handy-dandy resource for “proper” glaze consistency – really you just want it thin enough that it will run off the sides of the cake a bit, but not so thin that is literally runs right off the cake. Think “molasses in January” 😉 ).
- Pour glaze slowly from a bit of a height over the center of the cake and allow to run down the sides.
- Decorate with remaining peanut butter balls.
- Store in the refrigerator.