Ean’s Award Winning Cake…Chocolate-Peanut Butter Explosion

pb cakeAs previously mentioned today, boys should be taught to cook.  Boys should, not only be able to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but they should also be able to prepare dessert.

When Ean first decided that he wanted to bake a cake for 4-H, I asked him to decide the flavor and style.  Then, I would create a recipe for him.  His request was simple…chocolate and peanut butter and more peanut butter and maybe some peanut butter cups and maybe a few more peanut butter chips.  Basically, he wanted a death by peanut butter cake, which he named a “Chocolate-Peanut Butter Explosion.”

It must have worked for him, because what he created was nothing less than peanut butter amazing.  He was named a top 10 that year and auctioned his cake for nearly $400.  Not too shabby for a 10 year old 🙂



1 ¾ c. sugar

1 ¾ c. all purpose flour

3/4 c. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

1 ½  tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp salt

2 eggs

1 c. half & half

1 c. vegetable oil

1 c. boiling water

2 tsp vanilla

Peanut Butter Buttercream

3 sticks butter-softened

1 ½  c. shortening

1 ½ c. creamy peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

3 lbs. powdered sugar (1 ½ bags)

1 ½ TBSP meringue powder

4-6 TBSP half & half


8 oz dark chocolate

¼ c. heavy cream


1 bag miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—roughly chopped

1/2 c. peanut butter chips



Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk.  As mixer is running on low, slowly add liquid mixture to dry.  Once added, turn mixer to high and allow to beat for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil water.  When mixer is done, slowly stir in boiling water. **Batter will be very loose.

Pour batter into 2-greased & floured 8 or 9” pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick tests done.

Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.


In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, shortening, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.  Add meringue powder and half of powdered sugar.  Mix on low with a whisk attachment until completely combined.  Add remaining powdered sugar in ½ to ¾ c. increments, beating well after each addition.  Add liquid as needed.  When all powdered sugar has been incorporated, turn mixer to high and allow to whip for 5-8 minutes


Using a serrated knife, level tops of cake and split each layer to produce 4 flat layers of cake.  Decorate cake by filling with buttercream and chopped peanut butter cups between layers.  Decorate outside and top of cake with buttercream.


When cake is completely frosted, melt dark chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals.  Pour ganache into a Ziploc bag.  Snip the end of the bag and drizzle ganache over the top of the cake, allowing some to drip down the sides.  Refrigerate cake to allow ganache to set.

Pipe rosettes on top of chocolate ganache and decorate with left over chopped peanut butter cups and peanut butter chips.





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