Multilayered Peanut Butter/Chocolate Cheesecake

PBchoc-cheesecakeAs you may have noticed, every year for my husband’s birthday I try out another recipe featuring peanut butter and chocolate– his favorite flavor combination! This year is no exception! Not content with a simple cake with frosting, I decided to go in a slightly different direction and make a chocolate-peanut-butter cheesecake– but not just any cheesecake! A layered cheesecake, with a chocolate wafer crust and a shiny ganache glaze, adapted from my favorite food blogger, Deb at Smitten Kitchen.

Granted, her recipe was a chocolate/coffee cheesecake, but it was simple to adapt by replacing the espresso with a few tablespoons of peanut butter, making for rich and decadent dessert. Annoyingly, my layers tended to separate at one or two spots when sliced– I’m betting my filling was just slightly overbaked, making it too dry to adhere easily– but the finished cake was still very impressive, and very delicious! Warning: the cake looks small on a serving platter, but even very thin slices can be tough to finish due to their richness!

Multilayered Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cheesecake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder (I used black cocoa powder)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • *********************************************
  • Prepare two 9×13″ pans (or quarter-sheet pans) by spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment. I had to use parchment rounds because I was out of sheets! Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  • Add butter and run processor until the mixture looks crumbly.
  • Add egg and vanilla and run until the mixture starts to clump together.
  • Dump half of the crust into each pan and press out thinly to cover the whole bottom of the pan. I found that using a measuring cup dipped in flour/cocoa helped immensely with this process, since it gets sticky. Use plenty of flour!
  • Bake for about 10 minutes.

PBchoc-crust

While the crust is baking, make your filling.

Filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds (3 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chips (2/3 cup), (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • *****************************************
  • Wipe out the food processor so there are no crumbs left.
  • Process cream cheese with sugar until smooth, then add eggs one at a time, processing each time to incorporate.
  • Add sour cream and vanilla and process to finish.
  • Scoop out half of the batter (should be about 560 grams) into a separate bowl to set aside.
  • Add peanut butter to the remaining batter in the processor, along with molasses for color. Process until smooth, then pour over one of the baked crusts.
  • Return the set-aside batter to the processor and add melted chocolate. Process until smooth, then pour over the other crust. (you do it in this order so the chocolate leftovers don’t contaminate the peanut butter layer)

PBchoc-filling

  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until just set with a still-jiggly center. Do not overbake or the texture gets gummy.
  • Cool layers on a rack for at least 30 minutes, then transfer to freezer for an hour.
  • Once layers are firm, carefully peel away parchment and stack one layer on top of the other. Trim edges and cut into thirds, then stack them to make a delicious multi-layered block. Chill.PBchoc-stack
Ganache
  • 3 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chips (1/2 cup)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (15 to 20 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) corn syrup (optional, but makes it glossier)
  • *****************************************
  • Heat cream in a microwave-safe cup until just bubbling, then pour over chocolate and add corn syrup.
  • Let sit for a minute or two, then stir until glossy. Let cool until the consistency is pourable/spreadable, depending on how you want the finished cake to look. I prefer just about body temperature.
  • Pour ganache over the cake. Chill until serving, and slice with a wet knife to ensure pretty slices.

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