developed my passion for baking at an early age by hanging around the kitchen and watching my mom do her magic with a few cups of flour, butter and sugar. She loved to bake, but with a full-time job keeping her busy, her love got pushed to special occasions and holidays. However when she got into a baking mood, there was no stopping her. I remember daylong cookie baking sessions and making jelly roll cakes with extreme precision. Our desserts were never fancy — there were never multi-layer cakes floating around. We stuck with humble but delicious treats, like cookies, pies, coffee cakes and the best cheesecake you'll ever taste. There was always one constant though: Everything was made from scratch and with love, and it's something that's stuck with me every time I get ready to turn on the oven and break out the chocolate.
I may have more time to bake these days than my mom, but one thing is for sure: Like her, I'll take the simple desserts over the fancy ones. I think I'm not the only one out there that agrees with me on that point! Layer cakes look (and taste) great, but they are a little intimating to make. Besides making sure all the layers are even, you've got crumb coats to worry about and decorating. Who has time for that? All I want is a delicious cake that can be made in an hour, imperfections and all!
This is where the single-layer, or snack cake, comes in handy. Baked in a square pan, you don't have to worry about what it looks like when it comes out of the oven because once it's cool enough, it gets a generous amount of buttercream frosting, a crunchy topping and it's ready to be served. Since I can't resist the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, I baked up a rich chocolate cake with natural cocoa powder and studded it with some semi-sweet chocolate chips for an extra chocolate punch. The frosting is a simple peanut butter buttercream — but the real star is the topping of semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and toffee bits. You get a flavor explosion with a little crunch in every bite!
I like to think of this cake as the cake for people who hate making cakes. It's so easy to make and it's really perfect for any time of the year. Bring it to a potluck, a dinner, a holiday, birthday or just because! No one can refuse the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and crunch.
For the buttercream:
For the topping:
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