Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Bar Cheesecake Cake

It's done!  And it was DELICIOUS and worth every last calorie :)

I recently stumbled upon SprinkleBakes.com, a blog all about the indulgent baking projects that make life worth living.  She posted a recipe for a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake cake that was based off of the Cheesecake Factory recipe which is where this cake came from.  I made a few changes but followed her basic instructions.

As the original recipe recommends this is NOT a one day project so if you decide to take on the task plan for a few days of work.

Day 1: Peanut Butter Bars and Caramel Sauce

I started the recipe by making peanut butter bars as an alternative to peanut butter cups.  Partly because this is one of my family's favorite Christmas Cookie recipies and partly because I didn't feel like going to the store to buy peanut butter cups and happened to have all of the ingredients to bake peanut butter bars.

Peanut Butter Cups:


  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
Once the peanut butter bars were set I chopped them up into little bite size squares and stuck them in the freezer.

Next I made caramel sauce, again something that I could have bought, or followed SprinkleBakes recipe but I didn't feel like going to the store. 

I chose to use Pioneer Women's Recipe:

Caramel Sauce:
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • Pinch Of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

To make the caramel sauce:
Mix butter, brown sugar, half & half, and salt in a saucepan over medium low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker. Add vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off heat and pour sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.

What an awesome (and easy) recipe, I will certainly keep this one around for future projects!

With those two tasks complete I called it a day

Day 2: Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake

I made the cheesecake and chocolate cakes just as described here with just a few exceptions:
- instead of peanut butter cups I used my homemade peanut butter bars
- I made 3/4 of the recipe for each item so that it wasn't quite so huge.  This was easy to do since her original ingredients were often in measures of 4.

I let the cakes cool and then leveled them so that they all had a flat top.

Sprinklebakes recommended peanut butter cups on top of the cake, I went a different route and made cakeballs. 

I took all of the scraps of cheesecake and chocolate cake from leveling, mixed them together with some peanut butter, rolled into balls and covered in chocolate, easy and more importantly useful to keep me from eating the cake scraps which is usually what happens!

Into the freezer went the cakes and cakeballs and Day 2 came to a close.

Day 3: Cake Assembly/Ganache and Frosting Making

I gathered my cakes, caramel sauce, some peanuts and whipped up some peanut butter butter cream.

I started with two layers of plastic wrap and a round circle of cardboard for support. 

I then started construction:

- 1 layer of chocolate cake
- caramel sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- peanut butter buttercream 
- 1 layer of peanut butter bar cheese cake
- caramel sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- peanut butter buttercream 
- 1 layer of chocolate cake
- caramel sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- peanut butter buttercream 
- 1 layer of peanut butter bar cheese cake
- caramel sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanuts

Crazy... I know!

I then made the recipe for chocolate ganache/chocolate frosting per Sprinkles recipe.

I put the ganache on the cake and saved the frosting for later.

Word to the wise, making chocolate ganache frosting is messy!

It splattered all over the kitchen, on the walls, on my stove, on my cookbooks... I would recommend covering your mixer with a dish towel to start with when making this, I literally had to wipe chocolate from my ceiling.

The whole thing went into the freezer (uncovered) to harden up, when I was sure that the precious ganache would not be lost to plastic wrap I wrapped the whole thing up and put back in the freezer.

I could have very well finished the cake at this point but since it had to make it to my parents house I decided to decorate it once I got there rather than travel with it and worry about it getting messed up.  At this point in the game it was a large solid mass of chocolate/peanutbutter/cheesecake that was easy to transport.

Day 4: Decorating and Serving Day!

Into my car went a giant box filled with the frozen wrapped cake, chocolate, ganache frosting, cake balls and my decorating tools.

When I got to my parents house I started by making the chocolate curls for decoration.  Sprinklebakes has a great tutorial as to how to do this.  My curls didn't quite turn out like hers but they were still pretty cool.

You start by spreading melted chocolate chips on a cookie sheet and letting it harden in the fridge.

Check out sprinkles video in her recipe, it is great.  You basically run a spatula down the chocolate and get these:

Next I frosted the whole cake with the ganache frosting and put the chocolate curls along the bottom edge of the cake (as well as pushed a few in around the sides) and put the cake balls on the top.  The last step was adding decorative frosting to the top, because clearly what this cake needed was more frosting...

I mixed some of the leftover ganache frosting with some peanut butter and added swirls to the top

The finished product looked so tasty that it was hard to put it back into the fridge to wait for dessert.  I guess I have been waiting 4 days for this cake, what is a few more hours...

Finally it came time to serve the cake.  Just to confirm that it truly was the most decadent cake ever I had to weigh it.  Since this cake was so huge it couldn't be measured on my normal kitchen scale since it only went up to 8 pounds, no, this cake had to be measured on a bathroom scale.

11.4 pounds!!  Granted that does include the plate but it is still a LOT of cake.  In fact, this cake weighed 2 pounds more than Izzy!

I told my mom that this cake deserved only her best china and she agreed.

This cake had everything that you could ever want in a chocolate dessert and more, it was SOOO good!  And it fed a lot, after 12 slices were cut and distributed we were still left with over half of the cake.

Hmmmm.... leftovers?

We will call this "Sunday Dinner"

And "Monday Breakfast"

Just kidding, sort of...
Final comments:

- a lot of work but totally worth it

- assume that this cake could easily feed 20-25 people

- wear comfy clothes while eating, I planned accordingly and wore a empire waist dress, perfect for expansion during consumption!

- invite extra guests for dessert, our family always loves when Melissa and Carl stop by

- layers are always fun, this same concept could be made in many different flavor combinations (strawberry cheese cake layered with white cake, covered with whipped cream and chocolate dipped strawberries on top, yum!)

- If you try the chocolate swirls and they don't look like Sprinkles' either don't worry about it, they all taste the same anyway.

- and lastly be prepared to enter into a dessert coma the day of consumption followed by dessert withdrawal the next day.  The day after the cake is gone is rough and you will find yourself constantly craving more and wondering if there are any remnants of frosting or cake balls left, but sadly there aren't.  You may look longingly at the plate on which the cake used to sit and wish for just one more piece or shake your head at the meager thought of eating a single cookie for dessert, this is normal.  I promise that it will all pass, normal size treats will seem adequate again and life will return to normal.  I am now two days without Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Bar Cheesecake Cake and I can tell you that I am doing just fine.


  1. No way ! you spend 3 days making a cake! I bit it's worth it, it looks like heaven ;) Thank you 4 sharing this awesome recipe :)

    1. Not necessarily three WHOLE days, but yes it was time consuming but worth it! Thanks for your comment :)