My husband and I have dinner parties a lot. And I mean a lot. We have a patio that’s made for it-grill, smoker, Tiki bar with draft beer on tap (built it myself!!), fire pit, antique soda machine, and an ice chest big enough for an adult to sit comfortably inside.
Adulting can be a lot of fun.
My husband turned 50 last year, and he’s lived in in the same ten mile radius since he was 2. Before he and his dad bought the butcher shop, he worked for a major corporation and had hundreds of people at a time working for him. Now, most of the people in the community where the shop is located are his customers. Between his work and high school, he knows everyone. Just try going grocery shopping with him-if we get in and out with less than five people stopping him, it’s a slow day.
So our dinner parties usually include a lot of people. The most we’ve had is 60, but thankfully, my husband doesn’t do that to me often. We would still be married if he did, but it wouldn’t be nearly as pleasant.
For either of us.
But for parties of a dozen or so, I get the chance to try out new recipes without feeling like I’m catering for an event. I suppose it’s a little risky to test stuff I’ve never tried before on a party, but everyone keeps coming back. They like my husband a lot, but everyone keeps eating, so the food must be okay. I guess I’ve been lucky.
My husband invited some of his high school friends over this weekend, and since these were some of his oldest friends, he wanted to pull out the filet mignon. That meant I had to come up with sides and a dessert that could stand up next to his steak—no small task.
Oh, yeah. And they had to be gluten free.
Enter this chocolate and peanut butter cake. Holy Cannoli, Batman. I almost drove to Panama City to slap my mama. But I value my life, so I settled for an extra bite of cake. It’s even better after sitting overnight. It’s sinfully rich, so pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Cake
For the cake layers:
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease three 8 inch cake pans (depending on how many layers you want) and line with parchment paper. Melt the butter and chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove top. Meanwhile beat together the eggs and sugar for about five minutes at high speed until pale and more than doubled in volume. Add the vanilla to the eggs and beat until combined. Sift in the cocoa and salt and mix again until combined. Pour in the melted chocolate and butter and beat until combined. Divide into prepared cake pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out with some crumbs attached but no longer wet.
For the Peanut Butter Cream:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
While the cake layer is baking, cream together the peanut butter and butter. Add the salt and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and cream. If too thin add more sugar, if too thick add more cream. Beat until fluffy. Set aside.
For the Chocolate Ganache:
2 cups of chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
Melt in the microwave at 50% power, stirring ever thirty seconds. Cool for a few minutes before assembling cake--you want it thin enough to spread but not so hot it will melt the peanut butter cream.
Once the cake is done baking, let cool slightly, remove one layer carefully from pan and parchment paper, and lay on plate. Top a layer of peanut butter cream (cake will be very crumbly, so use the cream to bind it, then a layer of ganache. Repeat with next layer of cake, peanut butter cream, and ganache then top with last layer of cake and a layer of peanut butter cream. Frost with remaining ganache (I made another half recipe of ganache so I would have plenty to work with), then garnish with crumbled peanut butter cups.