Hey, Somebody Put Peanut Butter in My Chocolate…A Lesson in Letting Go
Well a few days ago, I got to dance and twirl. My oldest, Danjo, had been gone for a little over a month. Things had been quite rocky with us for a while. I adore him and want him to stay my boy forever and he has been REALLY wanting his freedom (he’s almost 19.) So my beautiful mother-in-law sent him back to Maine, where he had been longing to go to re-connect with friends and feel a little of that longed for freedom. I was afraid for him to go. Really afraid. He is a brilliant boy (seriously, borderline genius) and could sometimes lack the foresight to see that he isn’t ALWAYS right, isn’t immune to natural consequences and other people’s rules. What would he do without me there to make sure he stayed safe, made the right choices, give him hugs and tell him what to do??! It was time for me to let go a little and allow him to be the adult he has become. UGH! You know what?? THAT is harder than ANY colic bout, any moment of panic you feel when you see your kiddo falling off of their bike, skateboard or roller blades. Letting go of your child to become the adult you raised them to be is terrifying. I spent more times crying and breathing my way out of panic attacks than laughing for a while. Don’t fret though. He is a GEM of a man and has begun to polish. The trip did a boat load of good I believe. He came to some realizations while he was gone. He seems more calm, more determined to have a future to strive for and take ownership of, almost like a real adult. (in my mind I was imagining Pinocchio saying “I’m a REAL boy!” You know you said it in his falsetto voice too). I am trying to stay away from lectures and “what you should do is” moments. He is moving to Washington soon which I am sure will be good for him too. It will be good for both of us. He is an adult now. I need to accept that. It’s easier to do when I’m not doing his laundry ;) Now that I veered down that trail, let’s get back to the celebration at hand.
My favorite things coming together. Danjo came home. We are a complete family again and in celebration I made a cake. I have been dreaming about making a deliciously moist chocolate cake for a few months now, but I wanted a REASON to make it…a justification of the massive amounts of calories I planned on putting into it. THIS was the perfect justification.
I am gonna have to do the recipes the old school way today (not in the easy print recipe format. I can’t figure out how to put more than 1 recipe into the formatting yet) Sorry for the inconvenience.
- 4 ounces good quality dark chocolate (I like 64-72%), chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
- 1 pkg. Via French Roast instant coffee
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I use a dark cocoa powder by Valhrona)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons smoked sea salt ( you can use regular sea salt if you want)
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp. teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly grease the BOTTOMS of 3- 8 inch pans. Cover the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place chocolate in a large, pourable heat proof bowl combine with hot coffee, add the Via and allow the mixture to sit a few minutes to soften up the chocolate then stir until the chocolate all mixed in. Add olive oil, buttermilk, vanilla and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. In another large bowl with a stand mixer bowl or a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer).
- Add the chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Beat on medium high-speed for 20 seconds. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until the cake is set and doesn’t jiggle when you gently shake it, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Cool the cake layers completely in pans on cooling racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and flip each cake onto racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool the cakes completely. (I make mine a day ahead, cover twice with plastic wrap and refrigerate them. It will be MUCH easier to assemble and frost your cake)
- 1 lb. chopped good quality dark chocolate (really you should always strive for good quality ingredients)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 Tbsp. sugar
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter (I love Jif)
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ -3 ounce package white chocolate instant pudding mix (you could use vanilla or cheesecake too)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- Place chopped chocolate in heat proof bowl and set aside.
- In heavy bottomed, medium-sized pot, heat cream and sugar until ALMOST boiling (little tiny bubbles will start to form and it will be steaming) Pour over the chocolate, cover with a plate and allow to sit for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to soften.
- Whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth and silky.
- Add peanut butter and the 3 Tbsp. of butter and whisk until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool until pourable but not warm.
- Combine everything in mixer bowl and beat on medium high-speed until light and fluffy and smooth.
To assemble the cake:
Place your first cake layer onto a cake plate or other flat serving surface. (I use cardboard circles about 1/4 inch larger than the cake circumference.)
Cover the cake with about 1/4 inch of frosting, then smoosh up some Reese’s Peanut Butter cups really well and sprinkle over the frosting. ( I used about 10 peanut butter cups)
Place the next layer of cake on top of that (slice off the domed part of the cake if it domes a bit, this will make for a more level, pretty cake) look from the sides to make sure the cake is level and even on the sides. Repeat the frosting and sprinkling process.
Carefully place the third and final level on top of the other layers. Again, eye the cake to ensure it is level and even. Lightly coat the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting. This is called a crumb coat and meant to “glue” down any crumbs to the cake and make for a prettier cake. Place in fridge to firm up the frosting.
Finish frosting the cake with as much frosting as you like on it…we like a lot of frosting in our house. Place the cake over a large piece of paper or baking sheet, add the Butterfinger crumbs (we used two regular sized Butterfingers) by scooping some candy into your hand and lightly pressing it into the sides of the cake.
Be good sweet readers. But not too good! That’s boring ;)