Smooth, melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate and creamy, salty Peanut Butter have one of the strongest long-term relationships of any food couple, despite the fact they’re so often in the spotlight. Their impeccable way of complimenting one another with their salty and sweet qualities defined them a match made in heaven from the get-go. They bring out the best in one another. True, there have been cases of exploitation: cramming PB & Chocolate into every possible food item in existence from cookies to casseroles (some obviously better than others). But despite the odds being against them, PB & Chocolate have stayed strong, inseparable even. We just can’t get enough of their perfect pairing. So long as Chocolate and Peanut Butter have the support of us adoring fans, they shall continue to dominate the foodie world as a culinary power couple.
Perhaps the most well-known work done by Peanut Butter and Chocolate is the coveted Peanut Butter Cup. A simple but classic candy, the peanut butter cup consists of a sweet chocolate shell filled with salty peanut butter. It’s easily one of the most beloved candies in America. The most famous company for producing said peanut butter cup is Reese’s, without question. However, many other companies and corporations have latched on to this too-good-to-be-true treat and began producing their own peanut butter-chocolate candies. Nowadays, people even make homemade versions. I myself have a recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Cups, in both milk & white chocolate, that’s out of this world. It blows the store-bought versions out of the water.
Even when a creation as perfect as a peanut butter cup comes along, there is always temptation to make it even better. I wasn’t sure there was a way until the thought struck me to add a little something special to the filling: cake.
This inspiration stemmed from my love for Tastykake’s Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes as a child. These were little yellow snack cakes with a thin layer of peanut butter filling and a chocolatey coating. They were my favorite snack cake growing up, a perfect combo of flavors. However, it was always lacking in the peanut butter department, and the cake was rather dry.
Naturally, my homemade Peanut Butter Candy Cakes are worlds better than anything a brand-name corporation could dish out. A thick layer of moist vanilla cake and gobs of creamy peanut butter filling are stuffed into a thick milk chocolate shell, creating something similar to those good ol’ Kandy Kakes, if said Kandy Kakes were on steroids. These cup-shaped candies are bursting at the seams with cake and peanut butter, to the point that the chocolate can barely contain it. Luckily, this is a thick and sturdy chocolate exterior we’re talking about, not some wimpy chocolate film. As a finishing touch, pretty rainbow sprinkles allude to the fact that these are not just regular peanut butter cups; there’s something special inside.
My little cookies, the only thing better than chocolate and peanut butter is chocolate, peanut butter, and cake. These cakes are cute, handheld, and convenient, but it’s quite easy to eat three in one sitting. The trio is so sinfully delicious, the kind of treat where one bite causes you to close your eyes and drift away into euphoria. The only thing that can bring you back to reality is the inevitable empty wrapper at the end, which will just as inevitably move you to grab another candy cake.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- You can make a white or dark chocolate shell instead. For instructions on how to do white, see my original Peanut Butter Cup recipe. For the dark chocolate, do the same as the recipe below states, replacing the milk chocolate with dark.
- Sprinkles are optional, but always welcome!
- These are a great alternative to plain cupcakes at a birthday party or celebration. They’re cute and delicious, and they’re still technically cupcakes!
- You can use scratch-made cake for these candy cakes if you wish, but since they’re rather time-consuming to assemble, I suggest saving yourself the effort and using a boxed mix instead.
- As you’ll see below, I used a shot glass as my cake cutter since I didn’t have a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter that was the right size. Use whatever you have on hand that best matches the radius listed below, or you can just use your hands to rip of little pieces.
- You can make these a day before you plan to serve them.
- You have to keep the candy cakes refrigerated unless it’s really cold because the chocolate’s not tempered. They won’t melt into puddles or anything; they’ll just be messy to eat.
- Change the sprinkle colors to match whatever occasion or holiday you’re celebrating!
- You don’t have to use a double boiler to melt the chocolate. You can do it in the microwave, cooking on high for 30-second intervals, and stirring in between. Or, you can do it in a small pot on the stove over a very low-heat, stirring CONSTANTLY so you don’t burn the chocolate.
Peanut Butter Candy Cakes
By The Smart Cookie Cook
Makes 24 candy cakes
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 4 4.4-oz. milk chocolate bars (like Hershey’s), roughly chopped
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- optional: sprinkles, for topping
Special Equipment: wax paper, a biscuit or cookie cutter about 1.5-inches in radius (I used a shot glass instead), double boiler, cupcake tins (full-sized, NOT mini), cupcake liners
- Bake the cake according to package directions in a well-greased 9×13-inch pan. Let the cake cool completely. Meanwhile, line two muffin/cupcake tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
- When cake is completely cool, flip out onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Cut the cake in half length-wise, dividing it into two even layers. Carefully remove the top layer and set aside.
- Use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut out 24 small cake circles, about 1.5 inches or smaller.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup peanut butter, butter, and sugar until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
- In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate, chocolate chips, and remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter until completely smooth. Remove from heat.
- Use a spoon or ladle to pour about a tablespoon of chocolate into the bottom of one of the cupcake liners. It should be just enough to cover the bottom of the liner. Take one of the cake circles and press in between your hands to make it thinner. You may have to rip off bits to make it small enough. It should be slightly smaller than the cupcake liner. Gently place it on top of the chocolate layer.Take about 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture and roll into a ball. Press down into a circle then set on top of the layer of cake. The PB should be slightly smaller than the radius of the cupcake holder itself.Pour another tablespoon or so of chocolate over the peanut butter and gently smooth it out so that it completely covers the peanut butter and cake. There should be no gaps.
- Repeat with the remaining candy cakes and top with sprinkles, if desired. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is set. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.