Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake from Cleo Coyle

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The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is one of the most popular candies in America. This delicious marriage of chocolate and peanut butter is also the theme of this amazing cake. (To see the results of my Top Ten Candies Poll, click here.)

All you need is a few ingredients, including a handful of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. So go ahead and pinch a few from your kids' stash. They won't mind, especially after they take one bit of this incredible cake. To get the recipe right now in a PDF document click here. To read my entire recipe post, scroll down, or hit the "read more" button.

~ Cleo






Cleo Coyle, who thinks
chocolate and peanut butter
make a good marriage, writes
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
with her husband.
Cleo Coyle's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

This classic cake is out of this world. Truly. My husband, Marc, absolutely flipped for it. It's impressive to serve because it's full of flavor and (despite the candy on top) not overly sweet.

While this Devil's Food may appear sinful, the peanut butter actually brings protein and nutrition to the dessert. Sure, the candy scattered on top looks decadent, but in truth it's no more than 4 snack size peanut butter cups chopped finely (after freezing--one of my tips for keeping the candy intact during the chopping process). 

For those of you who don't bake much, you'll be happy to know that I used a cake mix starter for this recipe, which means you can bake this crowd-pleasing cake without one worry that it will fall or come out uneven; and, I promise you, my added ingredients will do wonders for the flavor. 

And speaking of flavor: I think it's the vanilla in the peanut butter icing that takes it over the top, evoking that delicious Reese's peanut butter filling. And away we go...




To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.



Makes one 9x13-inch sheet cake 

Cake Ingredients:

1 standard box of Devil’s Food cake mix 

2 tablespoons natural, unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup low fat milk (1% or 2% is best) 

1/3 cup brewed and cooled coffee (*see my note)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter 

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil 

3 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork

Ingredients to finish:

Peanut butter Icing (recipe included)

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped into small pieces (In my photos, I used 4 "snack size" peanut butter cups; not regular size and not minis or miniatures) 

*Cleo’s Coffee Note: You will not taste the coffee in your cake. Coffee is a way to boost the chocolate flavor in any recipe. If you’d rather not use coffee, no worries; simply increase the milk to 1-1/3 cups.

Directions: First preheat your oven to 350° F. and put your peanut butter cups in the freezer (this will allow you to slice them without smushing them). 


Get out a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and lightly coat the bottom and sides with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. 

Place the “Cake Ingredients” into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer blend on low until ingredients are combined and then beat on high for 2 full minutes. (You are beating air into the batter, so don’t cut it short.) 

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes in an oven well-preheated to 350° F. Do not over-bake. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (with no batter clinging to it). Allow to cool, and then frost with my Peanut Butter Icing (recipe included). Garnish with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (see my tips below). 


Cleo’s garnishing tips: Be sure to freeze the peanut butter cups before chopping them. Slice carefully, making sure to keep the pieces small but intact (do not smush them). Finally, when you place them on the cake, do it one piece at a time, turning the peanut butter side up and putting the ridge side down into the icing (as you see in my finished photos). This will give your cake a more pleasing appearance.




Cleo’s
Peanut Butter Icing 

Frosts the top of one 9x13-inch sheet cake 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 

4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened (room temperature) 

4-1/2 teaspoons milk 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 


1 cup powdered sugar

Directions: Using an electric mixer, cream the peanut butter and softened butter until fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla. Blend on low speed until smooth. Finally, add the powdered sugar and beat on high until you have a light and fluffy frosting. (If your climate is dry, and the frosting is still too stiff, add 1 to 2 more teaspoons of milk and beat again.)




Did you know the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was invented by a former dairy farmer named H.P. Reese who worked for Milton Hershey as a shipping foreman?

Inspired by Mr. Hershey, Reese started his own candy company in the basement of his home, using Hershey’s chocolate to make the peanut butter cup. After the death or Mr. Reese, his six sons merged their company with Hershey’s—not unlike their culinary product. 

And speaking of culinary products:

I certainly hope this cake is one you will... 






Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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