A Bundt for Charlie Brown: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Marble Cake

We bought a double-pack of JIF peanut butter while at Costco the other day.  We aren’t big peanut butter eaters, but I thought the kids were due for a peanutty change from Nutella.  But what to do with all of this peanut butter?!  Of course, I thought, let’s put it in a cake!  But since we aren’t really big peanut butter fans, what can I make with peanut butter that doesn’t have an overwhelmingly peanut butter taste?  In comes this humble Bundt cake.

Yeah, there I go again, a Bundt cake.  I can’t get enough of them.  Bundt cakes look great without much fancy adornment and without the need to pile frosting on them.  They are great coffee cakes for adults and snack cakes for kids.  And Bundts are big, so last a while longer than loaf cakes.  What’s not to like about them?  This cake is a glazed marble cake–with a chocolate/peanut butter glaze.  The glaze is key to the flavor of the cake, so resist settling on just dusting with confectioner’s sugar.  But what is key of all keys to this plain old peanut butter cake is that it is my happy Charlie Brown cake.  When my day fizzles, this unassuming cake can turn my frown into a smile!

The symbol of the average, struggling kid (and adult, if truth be told) is wrapped up in Charles Schultz’s Charlie Brown character from his iconic comic strip, Peanuts.  And the Peanuts have some TV specials to their credit, like A Charlie Brown Christmas or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  Charles Schultz’s own success story is amazing.  Check out “The Untold Story of Charles M. Schultz” on YouTube to get some inspiration!  Meanwhile, try some of this peanutty cake, and your blues might just shoo out the door too.

Now, to the method.  I first melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips over a bain-marie (bowl over a pot of simmering water).

I then mixed together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl to get them ready for later.  I creamed the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and peanut butter together using my very old, but (to this point) reliable Kitchen Aid standing electric mixer.

Five eggs are needed, so I added them in, one at a time, making sure they are fully incorporated after each addition.  If you lose patience and put them all in at once, you might have a curdled mess.

The batter didn’t curdle!

I added in the flour mixture alternating with milk.

Then I took out about 3 cups of the batter and put it in a separate bowl and stirred in some chocolate chips.

I sifted some cocoa over the remaining batter in the bowl and mixed it in (on low speed) along with the chocolate that I melted earlier.

Next, working quickly, I dropped blobs of peanut butter batter into the pan, alternating with chocolate batter.  It took about three layers to use up all of the batter.  I then pulled a butter knife through the batter to help create a swirl.

I popped it in the oven.  After about 50 minutes, I checked to see if it was done by poking the cake.  When it sprung back without a problem, I took it out of the oven.  The toothpick method may show the cake as being a little underdone because the peanut butter in the batter can skew the results.   So, when you think the batter is still raw, it’s actually not.  If you are not careful, you may end up with an overdone cake.

This time, I probably could have taken out the cake a couple of minutes earlier.  No sense crying over spilled milk!  After the cake cooled, I turned to the glaze to finish the cake.  In a saucepan, I melted butter, a little bit of corn syrup, and 2 blobs of peanut butter with some water.

When it came just to a boil, I mixed in semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirring over the heat for just a few seconds.

I then took it off the heat, added some vanilla extract, and finished stirring until all the chips melted.  I let the mixture sit a couple of minutes off heat to cool.  Then it was time to spoon it over the cake.

Try not to use a spatula to help the glaze drip down over the cake, because then you get this forced dripped look like below.  Probably no one will care except you, though, so don’t fret about it.

I left the cake at room temperature for a few minutes for the glaze to set, but then put the cake in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.  Looking at the slice below, it’s the spitting image of Charlie Brown’s shirt.  All the more fitting that it’s a peanut butter cake.  In tribute to the late cartoonist, Charles Schultz, here’s to you, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts!

Print Recipe
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Marble Cake
[2018 © HollyTrail.com] A tribute to cartoonist Charles M. Schultz's characters, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts!
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (8 ounces/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (8 ounces/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a large, 10 inch Bundt pan.
  2. Melt 2/3 cup chocolate chips in a double boiler or a bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water (water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Stir constantly. Take off heat before all chocolate has melted. Continue stirring off heat until all chocolate has melted. Cool.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, mix in flour mixture alternating with milk just until smooth.
  4. Transfer half of the batter into a separate bowl (about 3 cups) and stir in remaining chocolate chips (1/3 cup). On medium-low speed, mix sifted cocoa and melted chocolate into the batter remaining in the mixing bowl.
  5. Alternating between chocolate and peanut-chip batters, drop spoonfuls of batter in 2 or 3 layers into Bundt pan. Using a butter knife, insert into batter without touching the bottom of the pan and swirl batter once around. Place in preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch. A cake tester will show moist crumbs due to peanut butter. Use both methods to check doneness.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn cake over onto wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Glaze
  1. When cake is completely cool, prepare glaze by first slowly bringing water, butter, corn syrup, and peanut butter just to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to low and stir in chocolate chips. Keep on heat until just a few unmelted chips remain. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then spoon over top of cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides.
  2. Refrigerate cake 1 hour and up to overnight before serving.
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