Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

chocolate chip peanut butter mousse cake

Birthday cakes are a big deal in my house. My children and grandchildren know that I like to start the cake planning process long before the birthday gets  here.  Whether it’s making a sculpted lizard or Elmo, or a fancy cake topper that’s been molded “just so” by watching hours of you tube videos,  the cake flavor is the real star of the show.  A cake not only has to look good, but it needs to taste good too!

I am a lover of ALL things chocolate and this chocolate cake recipe has been my go to chocolate recipe for a really long time. Sometimes I like to add a cup of chocolate chips to the recipe to give it that extra punch of chocolate…oh my!!  So when my son-in-love (not a typo! I don’t like the term “in-law”) asked for a chocolate chip cake for his birthday, this is the cake I made for him.

You have to trust me. This is THE best chocolate cake you will ever eat!  When my daughter’s friend asked me to make her wedding cake years ago, and then proceeded to tell me she wanted vanilla and chocolate layered cake, this is the recipe I used.  Boy, am I glad I did.  I was approached at the reception by the bride’s grandmother who was going on and on about the cake.  She said it was the best cake she ever ate and asked me if I would share my recipe with her.  What an honor!!  I did share my recipe with her and I am going to share it with you too!

This recipe will make two 9″ cakes.

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 ounces (55 grams) unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Cups (226 grams) cake flour
  • 2/3 Cup (65 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ Sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter-room temperature
  • 1 ½ Cups (297 grams) packed brown sugar
  • ½ Cup (104 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs –room temperature
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ Cups (300 ml) buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice to measuring cup and fill with whole milk until you have 1 ¼ cups-let it set for 5 minutes)

Mousse ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (227 grams) cream cheese-room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 grams) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup (125 grams) confectioners sugar-sifted
  • 1 cup (240 ml)chilled heavy cream
  • 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ganache Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Cups
  • (510 grams) semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract

*Five peanut butter cups for topping (optional)

Instructions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2- 9” cake pans with non stick spray and line with parchment paper.  This keeps the cakes from sticking to the pans.               

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or by using the double boiler method. Put aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together (*stir in cup of chocolate chips) and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugars on a medium speed until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Mix in the eggs one at a time (mixing until each egg is blended into the batter).  Add the vanilla and beat for about a minute.  Mix in the melted (and cooled) chocolate.   Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients)  until the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.  DO NOT OVERMIX!!

Evenly divide the batter into your cake pans and bake for 35 minutes (or until inserted toothpick comes out clean). Allow cakes to cool in pans then release them onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

While the cake is baking make the peanut butter mousse. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and vanilla on a medium speed until blended and smooth.  On a low speed,  incorporate the confectioners sugar and set aside.  In a large clean bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture (adding 1/3 at a time) until the mixture is smooth.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

While the cakes are cooling let’s get started on the yummy ganache frosting!

Heat the heavy cream and butter in a saucepan until the butter melts and the cream is hot (tiny bubbles will begin to form). Just before mixture begins to boil, remove it from heat and pour over the chocolate chips.  Allow mixture to sit for about five minutes. This gives the chocolate a chance to melt.  After five minutes have passed, whisk the ganache until  all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.  At this point the smell of deliciousness may be overwhelming and you may want to dive right into the bowl but don’t…I know you can wait until this luscious bit of ganache is crowning the top of your masterpiece!!  You will thank me for waiting!

To assemble the cake I begin by torting (fancy word for cutting my two layers in half and making four layers). I just like throwing it around to impress my non baking friends.  Like street cred for bakers😆.

I only used three of the layers in my cake because I wanted more mousse between my layers.  You can freeze the extra layer for making cake pops in the future or you can nibble on it while you’re working in the kitchen (that’s what I like to do).  That was always one of my children’s favorite part of me baking…eating the cake scraps!

Start with your bottom layer of cake on a cake board that’s the same size as the cake. Put ½ of the mousse on the cake and spread, leaving about ½ around the edge of cake.  This is so the mousse doesn’t ooze out of cake.  Repeat with the next layer of cake and put third layer on top.  Frost the top of your cake first and then the sides with your ganache.  It should be at a nice spreadable consistency.   I chopped up five peanut butter cups and sprinkled them around the top.  *This is just an option, but trust me, it’s a very good option!!

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family does!

*Coating the chocolate chips with the dry ingredients keeps them from sinking to the bottom when baked.

Whipped Mock Bavarian Cream

I come from a large family. I am seventh in the line of eight children.  I have loved being in the kitchen for as long as I can remember.  My mom had a delicious home cooked meal on the table every night.  As I got older (around 12-13 years old) I remember hanging out more and more with my mom in the kitchen.  She never followed a recipe and it always turned out amazing!  There was always a LOT of food on the table.  If anyone stopped by before dinner they were always invited to pull up a chair and join us.  I think this is where my passion for entertaining began!

Fast forward to the early 1980’s. I began making birthday cakes for my family.  I would buy Wilton cake books and I would practice recreating different cakes for all occasions.  I also subscribed to a magazine called Mailbox News.  This was a magazine with recipes, tips, pictures of cakes and food.  Other than magazines (and recipes in the local Sunday newspaper), this was all a home baker or cook had.  I think we are now living in a wonderful time where all we have to do is type anything into our search engine on our electronic device and a plethora of things pop up!  It’s pretty amazing how far we have come.

This recipe was in the October 1986 edition of Mailbox News. I have tweaked the recipe slightly, but I can tell you the overall result is amazing!!  It is so versatile.  It can also be used as a filling for doughnuts, éclairs, cakes, cupcakes…the possibilities are endless!!  I like to use this as frosting for chocolate cakes and cupcakes.  It’s such an easy recipe!  This is one of my all-time favorite recipes and when you make this I am sure it will be one of yours too.  It uses basic ingredients that we always have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (238 ml)
  • 4 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour (32 grams)
  • 1 cup Softened Butter (226 grams)
  • 1 cup *Granulated Sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 tsp. *Vanilla

Instruction

 Cook the milk and flour together in a small saucepan over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil (approx. 2-3 minutes). Stir constantly.  Mixture will be the consistency of pudding.  Remove pan from heat and cover with lid. Allow to cool at room temperature.  

Using a wire whisk attachment, cream the remaining ingredients until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Add the flour mixture and continue and continue mixing on high for another 6-7 minutes.

This icing/filling needs to be refrigerated. Bring it back to room temperature before enjoying.

Notes

*You can also use caster sugar which is an extra fine sugar. It can be found in some grocery stores, but if you can’t find it or don’t have any on hand just pulse granulated sugar in a food processor until fine (about 7 or 8 times).

*Use Pure Vanilla. It really does make a difference in the taste of your product!

Chocolate cupcakes topped with swirls of whipped mock Bavarian cream!

S’more Brownies

When my son was little he loved the 1993 movie “The Sandlot”. Who doesn’t remember the iconic s’more scene between Ham Porter and Scotty Smalls?  Ha-ha!!  Classic stuff!!  Is it just me?  I’m so easily humored!

Ham: “Hey, you want a s’more?

Scotty: “Some more what?”

Ham: “No, no!  You want a s’more?”

Scotty: “I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have more of nothing?”

Ham: “You’re killing me Smalls!”

Well, needless to say, I love all things “s’more”…. s’more cake, s’more brownies (trust me, you are going to love these!), s’more cookies, s’more cupcakes, s’more doughnuts. I think you get the picture.

I am very excited that s’mores have their very own day!! Yep, that’s right! August 10th is (drum roll please) National S’mores Day!!

I thought I would take this time to share my delicious recipe with you. These brownies, along with their delicious graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallow topping, will take you back to the very first time you had a s’more.  You remember it, right?!  Sitting around the campfire at your campsite?  Talking about your day and telling funny stories?  Laughing so hard you have tears rolling down your face?  Going to bed with the smell of the campfire in your hair?  Ahhh… those were the days! Okay, okay, these are my memories, but when you take your first bite of these yummy confections, think about when you tasted your first s’more.  I hope it makes you smile too!  

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (9 full sheets)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (16 grams)
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon golden syrup (honey can be used if you can’t get your hands on golden syrup)

Brownie

  • 1 cup butter – melted (226 grams)
  • ½ cup chopped semisweet chocolate (60 grams)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (50 grams)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (240 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (237 ml)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (104 grams)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (198 grams)

Topping

  • 6 large marshmallows (cut into quarters)
  • Chopped semisweet chocolate (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Line 8”x8” pan with parchment and spray lightly with baking spray.

Put the graham crackers in zipper bag and smash with a rolling pin. Go ahead, let them have it. Crush them to smithereens.  Doesn’t that feel better?  Add the sugar, butter and golden syrup (or honey).  Stir until mixture comes together.  Press into bottom of the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl stir together cocoa powder, flour and salt. Set aside

In a medium saucepan (over a medium heat) melt the butter and semisweet chocolate together. Remove from heat. Wisk in sugars, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Stir into dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Pour mixture over the graham cracker crust and bake for 35 minutes. Cake tester should come out clean.  Scatter marshmallows (and chocolate-optional) over the brownie.  Roast under broiler for 2-3 minutes until toasted, or use my favorite tool, a kitchen torch! Cool brownies completely and cut with “hot knife” (Dip knife in very hot water and wiped in between cuts.  This helps make a cleaner cut.)  Store the brownies in an airtight container….if there’s any left!

Delicious Everything Pretzels

Mix water, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should begin to bubble and foam.

Add the flour and melted butter in the mixing bowl with the yeast mixture. Mix on low using the dough attachment just until the mixture comes together.

Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth (about 4-5 minutes).

Remove the dough from the bowl. I place mine on a counter dusted lightly with flour. No extra kneading is required. It’s going to just hang out on that counter (or table, whatever works best for you), and wait for you to oil that bowl. Pour a little vegetable oil on a paper towel and rub around the inside of the bowl. Return the dough to the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Now place the bowl in a warm place. I like to warm my oven to 200 degrees F and then shut it off. Move the oven rack to its lowest setting and place your bowl in the oven until the dough doubles in size. Let the magic begin!

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with the remaining melted butter. That butter is going to give you a delicious pretzel bottom) Trust me, you want to use butter. Not vegetable oil, olive oil, vegetable sprays, shortening (you get my drift, right?). Set the pans aside while you shape your dough and put your pretzels in a baking soda Jacuzzi. Bring 10 cups of water and 2/3 cups of baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface (put vegetable oil on a paper towel and wipe it on the surface). Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece 24 inches long.

Make a U shape with the rope.

Holding the ends of the rope, cross the ends and then cross them again and press onto the bottom of the U making a pretzel shape.

Place the pretzels in the boiling water (one at a time) for 30 seconds. Using a large, flat spatula, remove them from the water. Place the pretzels on the sheets pans. Brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning.

Bake 12-14 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and let them cool for about 5 minutes (trust me, five minutes is going to feel like a long time!).

Enjoy!!

Pretzel Recipe

• 1 ½ cups warm water (115 degrees F) • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar • 2 teaspoons kosher salt • 1 packet (2 ¼ tsp.) active dry yeast • 4 ½ cups (510 grams) all-purpose flour • 8 Tbsp. (226 grams) melted butter /divided • 10 cups water • 2/3 cup (192 grams) baking soda • 1 egg • 1 Tbsp. water • Coarse salt or Everything bagel seasoning (optional)

Copycat Everything Bagel Seasoning

• 2 Tbsp. poppyseeds • 1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds • 1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds • 1 Tbsp. dried minced garlic • 1 Tbsp. dried minced onion • 1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt Mix everything together in a small bowl. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Blueberry Pop Tarts

Best Pop Tarts Ever!

Alright!  I’m going to warn you right now that if you make these pop tarts, you will never eat a pop tart out of a box ever again!! 

I made a blueberry filling, but please feel free to use your filling of choice. I think a good jam or jelly would work just fine. I started by cooking 2 cups of blueberries, ¼ cup of granulated sugar, and one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Mix 3 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch with 3 ½ Tablespoons very warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Cook the berries on medium heat (stirring constantly) for about 6 minutes, until thick and bubbly. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. of *pure vanilla and ½ tsp. of pure almond extract. Allow this berry mixture to come to room temperature.

I made mine ahead of time and put it in a jar in the refrigerator. This isn’t necessary.

While the filling is cooling, let’s start making the flaky pie dough. I make my dough in a food processor, but you can mix it with a pastry cutter or fork. Add 2 cups (*250 grams) all-purpose flour, five Tbs. very cold butter (cubed), 1 Tbs. granulated sugar, and ½ tsp. salt. Pulse this until it is a crumb texture (about 10-12 times). Drizzle in ¼ cup of really cold milk. Pulse, just until the dough comes together. Put the dough on plastic wrap and knead it until it comes together. Make a large, flat disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour so the dough can rest. You can skip this process all together and purchase store bought, but I STRONGLY suggest making this dough. You will be so happy you did! When your dough has chilled, roll out the dough to less than ¼ inch thickness. The dough will seem really crumbly when you start to roll it. Trust me, that is exactly how it is supposed to be. Knead it gently with your hands, and then roll it out. Cut 12- 3”x4” rectangles (this recipe makes 6 pop tarts). You can reroll this dough. It’s very forgiving☺️! Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place six rectangles (aka the bottom of your pop tart) on a lined cookie sheet. I like to use silicone pads, but parchment paper will work just fine. Put 2 Tablespoons of filling on top of the rectangle. Try to stay away from the sides. Top with the remaining 6 rectangles and press the seams together. It is important that you seal your pop tart sides firmly, otherwise your filling is going to ooze out all over the place (some spillage is just fine though…let’s not sweat the small stuff 😁). You can also crimp the edge with a fork to help with the seal. Brush the top of the pop tarts with an egg wash (one egg and a Tbs. of water whisked together), and make a few vent holes with a fork. This helps the steam to escape. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Make a frosting using 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, a pinch of salt (trust me, this enhances the flavor so much), and 3-4 Tbs. milk or heavy cream. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl (use more milk if desired). Frost your pop tarts and add some sprinkles (because sprinkles=FUN!!)…just saying🎉! This is where I get really excited…Now you get to enjoy the BEST POP TART EVER!!! Trust me; these things are not going to hang around your house very long! If you do need to store them for any amount of time, just put them in an airtight container and they will stay fresh for a few days. *I like using my kitchen scale and will often use gram measurements. I feel like this makes for consistency in my baking product. *ALWAYS use pure extract flavoring. Using imitation is going to affect the outcome of your product!

The Journey Begins

Hi!  My name is Mary.  I am a wife, mother, Mimi, and child of God.  I have loved being in the kitchen for as long as I can remember.   My greatest pleasure has always been cooking and baking for friends and family.  It’s an expression of love!  It’s always a treat to have my grandchildren in the kitchen with me too!

My passion for cooking and baking has inspired this food blog. I want to share how I create my yummy creations and how you can make them as well!   I’ll be sharing tips, videos and step by step tutorials (and some grandchildren cuteness will be in the mix also!).

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

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