Cook time: 50 Min Prep time: 30 Min Serves: 10-12
2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c cocoa, unsweetened
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 c coffee, room temperature (water can be substituted for the coffee but its purpose is to enhance the chocolate flavor of the cocoa)
1 c buttermilk
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c peanut butter, creamy
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
1/2 c chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
2 c chopped peanut butter cups
1/4 c prepared fudge frosting (any brand) or
chocolate syrup (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13x2-inch pan, 2 9-inch round pans, 3 8-inch round pans or 1 10-inch round pan and set aside. Using an electric mixer, combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla; beat 1 minute.
2. Gradually add remaining ingredients (alternating wet and dry) and beat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
4. Bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes or so until cake is done. Cool for 5 minutes and carefully remove from pan(s). Note: 8-inch and 9-inch cakes will bake in less time than 10-inch and 9x13x2-inch cakes so check for doneness.
5. Using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt, and peanut butter until smooth.
6. Using a spatula, gently fold in whipped topping until smooth. Chill frosting for about an hour (even overnight is okay). This frosting tastes like a creamy peanut butter mousse.
7. Spread cake with frosting.
8. Sprinkle all over with chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups and warmed fudge frosting or as desired.
9. For the cooking contest, I carefully cut each peanut butter cup in half and placed it on the cake (as shown in the photo) but what I really like to do is buy 2-3 packages of individually wrapped peanut butter cups (I think there are 8 in a package) and chop them up into chunks. This is easier to do if they’re slightly chilled. Pile them onto the top of the cake (broken pieces, crumbs and all) and drizzle that with the softened fudge frosting (first soften it in the microwave for about 10 seconds – just long enough to thin it). Chill until serving time. For a gourmet touch, I like to split the layers or sheet cake in half and spread frosting between the layers as well. If you do it this way (and it’s worth it to do it), the cake is much easier to work with if it’s very well chilled. Who doesn’t like extra layers of frosting? You could also sprinkle finely chopped peanut butter cups on top of the frosting between the layers.