Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Cake

05aPBcupsbfLORich came across a recipe for a peanut butter cup cake; a yellow cake mix with peanut butter added, then some of the batter mixed with chocolate syrup and swirled in. The baked cake was then topped with a peanut butter glaze, more chocolate syrup, and halved peanut butter cups.

The nice folk at Betty Crocker called for this cake to be made in a slow cooker; but I saw absolutely no advantage to that, so I did some research and found a regular oven conversion.

01aCocoaEspressobfLOI also had an issue with the chocolate syrup. I thought using regular syrup would make the cake too sweet, so I made my own, and added a bit of instant espresso.

02aCakeMixbfLOLastly, I did use regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the topping, but mixed in an equal number of dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s.

The finished cake? Deelish! And, even with making my own chocolate espresso syrup, not really all that fussy to make.

•1 box yellow cake mix
•1 cup water
•3 eggs
•1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
•5-1/3 tbsp butter, softened
•1/2 cup chocolate-flavored syrup

01bSimpSyrupbfLOPeanut Butter Glaze:
•3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
•3 tbsp milk
•1 cup powdered sugar

01eChocSaucebfLOChocolate Espresso Syrup:
•3/4 cup cocoa powder
•1 tbsp instant espresso powder
•1 cup water
•1/2 cup sugar
•1/4 tsp salt
•1 tsp vanilla

•Chocolate Espresso Syrup
•Mini peanut butter cups, cut in half

First things first; make the chocolate espresso syrup by whisking the sugar into the water and boiling until the sugar has dissolved.

Lower the heat, then whisk in the cocoa powder, espresso, and salt and simmer for three minutes, until the sauce has thickened just a bit.

03bChocLayerbfLORemove from the heat and allow to cool.

Heat your oven to 350º and butter your cake pan(s) of choice. I used a 13×9 pan, but can see how this would make a very nice looking layer cake.

Add the cake mix together with the water, eggs, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and the softened butter in a large bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds with an electric mixer.

03dSwirlbfLOIncrease the speed to medium and beat for another two minutes.

Remove 2/3 cup of the batter and stir together with 1/2 cup of the cooled chocolate syrup in a small bowl.

Spoon half of the peanut butter batter in the large mixing bowl into your prepared cake pan, then top that with the peanut butter chocolate sauce batter.

04aCakeBakedbfLOAdd the remaining peanut butter batter on top, then drag a knife through in a circular motion to swirl.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean – my cake took about 39 minutes in all.

Set the cake aside to cool for 15 minutes.

04dChocTopbfLOMake the peanut butter glaze by combining the peanut butter, milk, and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer.

Spread the peanut butter glaze over the slightly cooled cake, then spoon additional chocolate espresso syrup over the top.

I dragged a fork through to mix up the toppings a bit, but you could just as easily leave the chocolate topping smooth.

05cPBCakeSlicebfLOCut the peanut butter cups in half; the nice folk at Betty Crocker called for using 20, and mebbe that would’ve worked for a cake baked in a five or six quart slow cooker, but my 13×9 pan ended up taking 40 (20 each regular and dark chocolate) to cover the whole top.

The B.C. people didn’t call for it, but I covered and stashed my cake in the fridge to let the chocolate and peanut butter toppings firm up a bit, then brought the cake out to rest on the counter about an hour before I planned to serve it.

This was a huge hit with our Book Club, and the leftovers were greatly appreciated by the kids when take away packets were sent home. We all agreed that using regular chocolate syrup would’ve made the cake too sweet, but Rich discovered later on that a bit of good vanilla ice cream on top was a very good thing.

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