Recipe from Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson (Wiley, 2011)
- Peanut butter candy and chocolate chip batter
- 1 cup unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm
- 3 tablespoons smooth (creamy) peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk chocolate-covered peanut butter cup chunks
- 2/3 cup lightly salted roasted and skinned peanuts
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Serving: one 81/2 to 9-inch cake, creating 8 to 10 slices
Ahead: 2 days
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Film the inside of a fluted 8 1/2 to 9-inch false-bottomed tart pan (2 inches deep) with softened unsalted butter.
For the batter, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
Whisk the eggs in a medium-size mixing bowl to blend. Add the light brown sugar and whisk for 45 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and whisk just to combine, about 30 seconds. Blend in the melted butter, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Resift the flour mixture over the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk slowly to form a batter, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even-textured. Stir in the chunks of peanut butter cups, the peanuts, and chocolate chips. The batter will be fairly thick and heavy.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a flexible palette knife.
Bake the sweet in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until just set. The top will puff slightly, then retreat a little on cooling. The top will be golden in between the nubbins of chocolate chips, candy chunks, and peanuts. Avoid overbaking or the cake will be dry instead of moist. Cool the sweet in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Carefully lift the cake by the bottom, pushing it up and out to unmold, and remove the fluted ring. Cool completely. Cut the cake into pie-shape wedges and remove from the pan, using a small offset metal spatula. Store in an airtight tin.
-in addition to guarding against overbaking, the key to the moistest cake is to use very fresh brown sugar and the melted butter while it is still warm
-firmly packed light muscovado sugar would provide a focused caramel-like flavor to the sweet and can be substituted for the light brown sugar
-a handful of each addition--the milk chocolate-covered peanut butter cup chunks, peanuts, and semisweet chocolate chips--can be reserved and sprinkled over the top of the cake after 25 minutes of baking
-this cake, conceived in honor of my photographer, Ben Fink, is affectionately known as "Ben's blondie" (he ate the whole thing himself)
-use a finely serrated knife to cut the cake