For two whole days I have 2 kids that are the exact same age. My son, who is 2, just celebrated his birthday on Sunday. My daughter, who is now 3, has a birthday today. They are Irish Twins.
With birthdays so close together there is a lot of cake and celebrating going on here.
Last Saturday we had family over to celebrate both kiddos birthdays. We ate the kids favorite foods (hot dogs, chips, watermelon, and I threw in a green salad for good measure), opened a few presents from the cousins and gparents, and enjoyed some Texas Sheet Cake (yes I think I have the best recipe of that, and I'll share it with you). It was fun, but that was just the beginning of our cake eating days.
Even though we had a combined party with the extended family, we want our kids to feel special on their special day. Therefore, they get to pick what to have for dinner and what kind of cake they want. Plus, I love to bake so it's not a big deal for me to bake 3 cakes in 4 days.
Two birthdays two days apart make for a lot of cake. Our waistlines don't need it, so I decided to make a small cake. I headed over to JoAnns (b/c they have coupons galore and they take competitor coupons like Hobby Lobby or Michaels coupons) with coupons in hand and bought two round 6 x 2 inch pans. I went with Wilton aluminum pans and loved the way they baked. I ended up paying $5 a pan, and let me just say it is totally worth it!
I had decided on a small cake to save us all from cake overdose, but personally I think I am going to be using the small cake pans all the time (unless I plan on more than 12 people eating the cake). It's perfect for a small family of 4, and I would even say a family of 6 would be great with this size cake.
These small pans allow you to make a cute double layer cake, but you don't have to be eating cake for days.
My son, who has my love for chocolate, requested a chocolate cake. I was happy to oblige, and I went with a Small yet Amazing Chocolate Cake (that is oh so chocolaty and moist) with a light Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting and Topped with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache. All of that is topped/decorated with chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and there is chocolate whipped cream and peanut butter cups between the layers.
I'm telling you, this cake is amazing! Especially if you love chocolate, and the peanut butter is just extra goodness.
With the small pans for the cake our family of 4 each enjoyed plenty of chocolate cake goodness, and we still had just over half of it leftover.
However, if you are wanting to make a large version of this cake using the standard 9 inch round cake pans just double the recipe and extend the baking time about 10 minutes.
Small Chocolate Cake w/ Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting Topped with a Peanut Butter Ganache and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
Recipe: Cake: Alohamora adapted it from Elma (my sister's friend), Frosting: Joy of Baking, and Ganache: Alohamora
Active Time: 45 minutes- 1 hour
Inactive Time: 2 1/2 hours
Servings: 6- 8 slices
For the Cake:
3/4 c. sugar
6 Tbsp oil
1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
1 c. cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
For the Ganache:
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp chocolate chips, semi-sweet or bittersweet
3 Tbsp peanut butter, creamy
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 c. Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (about 2 regular peanut butter cups)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour (I use a combine spray like Bakers) two 6 x 2 inch round cake pans well. You could also use a 9x9 inch pan for a smaller square 1 layer cake.
- In a large bowl or a stand mixer add your first three cake ingredients and mix it on low until well combined.
- Add your flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in that order on top of your sugar mixture. On low, mix it all together until it is well combined. It will seem somewhat dry to you.
- With your mixer on low slowly pour in the boiling water. You may need to use a spatula halfway through the mixing to make sure the water is combining with all of the cake mixture. It will appear quite soupy at this point.
- Finally, add the vanilla and mix until well combined.
- Evenly distribute the cake batter between the two prepared 6 x 2 inch pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 25 minutes was my magic number.
- When the cake is done take it out to cool for 10 minutes.
- You may need to use a knife (I prefer plastic knife so my pans stay nice) to scrap the inside edge of your pans before flipping. Flip your cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely. I like to to flip the cake out on the cooling rack and then flip it over so the rounded side is up.
- Now you get to hang out while your cake cools completely (about 1 1/2 hours or so).
- However, I do spend a few minutes to chop my Reeses Peanut Butter Cups so I am ready to go later.
- When your cake is completely cool, use a knife to evenly cut off the top rounded parts of the cake layers. I then let the birthday boy and myself enjoy these scraps. They are delicious and shouldn't go to waste.
- To prepare the frosting, mix just a couple tablespoons of the 1 cup of heavy whipping cream into the bottom of you mixing bowl. Then add the vanilla, sugar, and cocoa and stir it all with a spoon to form a paste.
- Pour the rest of the whipping cream into the bowl and mix on high with a whisk attachment for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks form. You may need to use a spatula halfway through to be sure you are evenly mixing the chocolate cream goodness.
- With your bottom cake layer on a plate place no more than 1/4 of the chocolate whipped cream on top of your bottom layer. Evenly distribute the whipped cream and then add 1/3 of your chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Cups on top of the whipped cream.
- Place your second cake layer on top of the first layer and use no more than 1/2 of the total (starting total) whipped cream for your crumb layer. Your crumb layer is just a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the entire cake. With your crumb layer complete place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The purpose of the crumb layer is to keep the top part of your frosting free of cake crumbs b/c your crumb layer collects all of them. I didn't have a lot of crumbs, but it's best to safe. .
- You will want to put your remaining chocolate whipped cream in the fridge as well during this time.
- After your cake has been in the fridge at least 30 minutes use the remaining chocolate whipped cream to frost the cake. The crumb layer was so thin (sometimes showing parts of the cake) that this top layer of frosting really makes everything look pretty.
- Place your cake in the fridge until your ganache is ready.
- For the ganache you will need to place your whipping cream in a microwaveable dish. I used a mug.
- You also need to put your chocolate chips and creamy peanut butter in a small bowl. I used 2 cup Pyrex dish.
- Scald your whipping cream in the microwave for 30 seconds. You want the whipping cream to be almost boiling.
- Pour the scaled whipping cream over the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Stir everything together until smooth using a fork or a spoon.
- Add the vanilla and stir to combine everything again.
- Finally add the powdered sugar and stir the ganache until smooth.
- Pour your ganache over the top of the the cake. I did it in small sections and used a knife/spatula to evenly smooth the ganache over the top letting parts drip over the sides.
- Add your remaining chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Cups to the top of the ganache in whatever decorative manner you desire.
- Keep your cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve. A big class of milk, or milk shots as we like to call it, goes great with this tasty cake.
- Store leftovers in the fridge.
Happy chocolate delicious cake eating!