Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Have you ever struck gold? While I don't go out chipping away in mines, I do enjoy gem hunting in the kitchen. I am quite close with my best friend's family. This means they are part of my baking circle--the folks I bake new delights for just to get a smile out of 'em. Well, my friend's mother had a birthday, which meant a chance to get baking. I had some hints to work with. She is obsessed with 2 things: cake and chocolate. And when I say chocolate, what I really mean is the mix of peanut butter and chocolate. Last year, I made her Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, which turned out very well. Peanut butter and chocolate just go together. They're like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. They fit, and when you bake with the two of 'em, you know it's going to turn out well.


It all started with the Blueberry Chocolate Torte, which is hands down my favorite dessert recipe on the blog. It just had some much complexity throughout; a dense, cake bottom, a fluffy mousse, and all topped with some light whipped cream. So having this as my inspiration, I knew peanut butter could join in on the party.

To convert this cake from the original chocolate version to a peanut butter chocolate style, I made a couple of adjustments. First off, I cut back on the butter used in the cake batter and replaced that with peanut butter. Second, I scaled back slightly on the chocolate in the mousse and added peanut butter in there. Slight changes can go a long way.

I started the cake batter off on the stove by melting the chocolate over very low heat into some butter, stirring it often so it wouldn't burn. Once the chocolate melted, I removed it from the heat and set it aside to cool for a few minutes.


Once the batter was cool to the touch, then used a whisk to mix in the sugar. I added in the eggs 1 at a time, stirring well after each. Finally, I stirred in the vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, and flour. I poured the batter into a lightly greased and floured cake pan, then baked it for right about 35 minutes, until the center was fully cooked.


While that dense piece of chocolate goodness was in the oven, I started on the beauty that is a peanut butter mousse. The mousse is the star of this show, with it's rich flavor and creamy texture. I melted some butter in a double boiler over simmering water, making sure the bottom of the boiler did not touch the water. We want the steam to cook this and not the water itself. In a separate bowl, I whisked together the egg yolks, heavy cream, vanilla and almond extracts until combined. (This is done step by step in the chocolate version I posted). Below is the finished custard - after this I mixed in the chocolate and peanut butter.



Next, I placed the egg whites with the sugar in my stand mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes. Once they formed soft peaks, they were airy enough to fold into the custard.


I very gently mixed the egg whites and chocolate/peanut butter mixture together to create a lovely mousse.


The result was a fluffy, flavorful mixture to top the cake.


I didn't let the mousse sit for long, as it needed to set so it would hold its form. I left the cake in the springform pan, then spread the mousse on top. I followed that up with some whipped cream (which is super easy to make, but due to time constraints I used some store bought this time around). I plopped some Fererro Rocher candies on top of that to make it lovely, and let it rest in the fridge overnight. The minimum amount of patience required is 4 hours. If you don't wait, the mousse will not hold it's form.


As this was a birthday present, I delivered it with care. I actually left it with my best friend, the daughter of my cake recipient. This meant not being there to witness that special moment when she tried the cake I made. You see, I bake for the smiles I get from people, for the fact I can make someone feel special by spending some time doing something I enjoy. But I can deal with that. This also meant I did not actually taste this cake, so let me share a piece of the text I received from her. "You have surpassed the best of the best cakes of my years. I'm dying here, the cake is just that rich!!!" Now, this comes from a person who will eat a massive piece of any cake. But this one, with it's entire jar of peanut butter, is so rich, so flavorful, it can conquer even the most experienced cake connoisseur. My reply? Just wait til I beat this one.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Torte Recipe

Ingredients:

For the cake:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the mousse:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

5 Ferrero Rocher candies for topping, if desired

Instructions:

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter or spray a springform cake pan with nonstick baking spray, then sprinkle some sugar in the bottom. Melt the butter, peanut butter and chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm, then whisk in the sugar. Add the eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts, salt, then flour.  Pour cake batter into springform pan and bake about 30-35 minutes, until the center is fully cooked.

For the mousse:
Melt butter in double boiler over simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the pan with the butter. Whisk the yolks, heavy cream, vanilla and almond extracts in a small bowl. Gradually add the yolk mixture into the melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water for a few minutes, until the thermometer shows the temperature at 150 degrees F. Remove the double boiler from the over water, then add chocolate and peanut butter and stir to melt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to slightly stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into the warm chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour mousse over cake in pan and smooth out any large bumps. Chill for at least 6 hours, until the mousse is set.

For the whipped cream
Beat heavy cream for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread the whipped topping over the mousse and top with candies.

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