Life can be cruel…..

So it is cruel irony that I made this cake and don’t get to eat it(dreaded diet). Fortunately this is something my husband will gladly eat. But enough about my sorrows.

One of my favorite chefs of all time is Marcel Desaulniers. He is most known for his one cookbook, Death By Chocolate. But I fell in love with his cooking watching his PBS cooking show, which many people never saw. He is very creative and in my opinion greatly overlooked. I had the chance to eat at his wonderful restaurant, the Trellis, in Williamsburg, VA. If you are ever in the neighborhood I suggest you stop by.

And as much as I love him he does have a downfall…he makes really complicated desserts. And though I personally have the time and patience, not many other people do. What stops me from making his stuff all the time? Cost. All of his stuff takes a lot of ingredients and since I am snob about chocolate and what not, the price can add up. The recipe I did today is only part of a whole cake. The original cake is a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake. I chose not to make the whole thing since many of my friends say my food is lovely but they wouldn’t have the time to make it. So this is hopefully a recipe they can make. The cake itself is actually great by itself but for the food porn factor I had to make the icing.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

2 ounces unsalted butter

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar

3 ounces creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup hot water

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F.

Grease three 9 x 1 1/2 inch pans.(I personally used just one 9 x 13 pan). Line your bottoms with parchement. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Mix together brown sugar, peanut butter and butter for two minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and mix for another 2 minutes. Scarpe down the sides and mix for another minute.

Add half of the flour mixture and mix until incorportated about 20 seconds. Then add the sour cream, mixing again for 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining flour mixture.  Add the hot water in a slow, steady stream and mix on low to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and mix for another 10 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Divide the cake batter into the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 22 minutes.


Chocolate Peanut Icing

5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/8 cup granulated sugar

2 TBSP peanut butter

1 TBSP unsalted butter

Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Heat the cream, butter, peanut butter and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When hot, stir to disolve sugar and peanut butter. Bring to a boil. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate. Wait 5 minutes and stir the mixture until smooth. Place in fridge for about 5-10 minutes and place into a pipe bag.


Cut cake into square pieces. Place one piece on your plate. Pipe your icing just around the perimeter of the cake. Place another piece of cake on top. Again, pipe around the perimeter and follow up with one last piece of cake.

Source: Death by Chocolate Cake by Marcel Desaulniers


All text and images on this site have ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Copyright (c) 2006 by Peabody Rudd.
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  1. What is beyond cruel is showing me this when I’m hungy I like I am now!! hehe

  2. That cake is so, so wrong. What’s even more wrong is the fact that I can only look at these pictures, and not reach through the screen to cut myself a slice…drool!

  3. I second Ellie’s emotion! So very, very wrong.

  4. Surely a little bite won’t hurt! Diet is such an awful word…

  5. Oh my!

  6. Any cake that combines peanut butter and chocolate sounds like heaven to me. I might go make one for lunch; who needs peanut butter and jelly when I could have this instead…?

  7. This looks amazing! I stumbled upon your site through Slashfood–and I’m absolutely obsessed with the pictures and recipies. I’ve spent a good half hour (of work time) drooling over the site. I want to try almost every recipe here!

  8. Brilynn-yes diet is an aweful word, but I have only been at it a week…so yes one bite would hurt because one would lead to one hundred little bites :P
    Carrie-welcome to my site, thanks for stopping by

  9. I live about 2 hours north of Williamsburg. Last time we were in town was Memorial Day Weekend. For dinner one evening, it was a toss up between Trellis and The Williamsburg Inn. We ended up at the Williamsburg Inn, but I’ve been wanting to go back to try Marcel’s place. I think you may have given me inspiration as to what I want to do for the 1 year anniversary!

    On another note, the cake looks so moist and delicious! And the icing, soo gooey. You’re pictures are always fantastic, you can always “feel” the food. Great lighting and texture! I will definately try this.

  10. Yum, yum, yum. Sinful, if not out-and-out evil. (And word on the cost of ingredients. I bought seven dollars — !!! — worth of pears for one measly pie.)

  11. I’m so glad you decided not to make the entire recipe because those gooey layers of chocolate look perfect just the way they are. Why can’t I have a piece right now is all I’m thinking!

  12. This cake looks amazing and brings back some death by chocolate memories of my own. Desserts to die for, another of his books was my first cookbook! I first took on the “gooey chocolate peanut butter brownie cake” which seemed like a marathon of a cake for a young baker.

  13. Peabody,
    I like Marcel Desaulniers! I always want to try one of his recipes from his Death by Chocolate, but as you said, make a GOOD cake cause quite a bit of money. And the problem for me now is not sure where to buy good quality of chocolate. Do you have any idea?
    Tell you, my tongue almost goes lick the pc screen, gosh, that decadant icing!

  14. o my god –
    what have you done?
    now I’ll have the rest of the day that image of that absolutely divine cake with icing popping out in my head…..*sigh*
    truly amazing…
    and what thought your husband about this (entire!) cake? does he as well need a diet now? ;)

  15. Oh yeah, you have got to add that oozing chocolate. It looks delicious! I hope you at least got to sample a tiny bit while you made it. Sometimes you get a little frosting on your fingers, you know?

  16. Oh, oh, this surely will chase my sorrow away! Perfect title, by the way :)

  17. Do you have a sweet tooth or what……….I have gained 5 pounds just looking at this……beautiful…

  18. I have to say that your blog has become a favorite “food porn” site for me and, now, for my coworkers. We love checking in on your beautiful pictures and seeing new, always great recipes! I have a question about this one in particular… Can you pipe on the icing BEFORE you serve it, i.e. does it work to present this one as a layer cake, including the icing, and THEN cut it into pieces to serve? Confusing question, maybe, but I hope you can advise…

  19. wow… I have to try this cake ! Those pictures are AMAZING.. what kind of camera do you have?

  20. OH MY GOD OH MY GOD , Im drooling :(

    ill spend most of my time cheking ur blog for sure

  21. I’ve been looking through images of chocolate cakes to serve as a model for a comic I’m drawing. Image after image of chocolate cakes slowly builds a craving that is difficult to resist. And now this; the straw that broke the camel’s back!
    Very nice work–artistry, in fact.

  22. Peabody, I made this cake yesterday for my birthday… OMG!!!!! It was quite remarkable! I seriously believe it’s the best cake I’ve ever had. So moist and fudgy… I’m so glad there are leftovers!

  23. Just baked this today and all I can say is YUM YUM YUM. Thanks!! I linked back to your post and I’ll follow your lead next time to make thicker cake layers. It’s a great recipe.

  24. Sweet Lover says:

    WOW this is very mouth watering. LOVE this i just now finished making it.I had this bookmarked for a long time and i finally made it.It is totally drool werthy :p

  25. I used to be full and know I’m the hungriest girl in the world

  26. This looks sinfully delicious! A+ on the food porn factor :)

  27. This I’ve gotta make!!!!

  28. I saw his PBS show! Loved it!

  29. Just made this cake! Tastes good but a bit on the dry side. Is more a “bars” recipe. The batter would not bit into 3 pans and barely fits into a 9×13. Icing is to die for.

  30. Do you need both a whole egg and than another just egg yolk or just one egg both yolk and white

  31. Yes one egg, and one egg yolk.

  32. I utterly love the idea of this cake and found this blog via pinterest. Have been gently crying to myself ever since (I’m on a diet myself). Lovely stuff!

  33. yum, making it now

  34. Delish... says:

    Is there anyway to make this minus the peanut butter? We’re allergic to all kinds of nuts over here:(

  35. @Delish- not really sure. Are you allergic to sunflower seeds? I know they make a butter using those.

  36. U grease the pan and put parchment paper on the bottom of the greased pan, on the grease?

  37. @dtychef- yes, you put parchment over the greased pan

  38. Hi there. I am about to make this cake for one of our Christmas Eve desserts. I am SO excited!! I do have one question for you though. You mentioned that you made it in one 9×13 pan, rather than the 3, 9×1 1/2 pans. I am doing it this way too, but wondered if it needed to bake longer than the 22 minutes. I also planned on just icing the whole cake, rather than making layers. You probably won’t see this message, but just in case, could you let me know about the time please?
    Thanks so much & Merry Christmas!

  39. @Becky- I would just check it at 22 minutes. It’s been a long time since I made that cake, years in fact so I don’t really remember.

  40. Dude, i’d tell that diet to go fuck off and nom down a piece of that. Cake isn’t good for the figure…but it’s good for the soul<3

  41. This was great. Although, I made it in a 9X13 and 22 minutes was just a tad too long, it was a bit dry. Next time I’ll try 18-20 minutes.

  42. hi what do you mean here: “Pour the cream mixture over. Wait 5 minutes and stir the mixture until smooth.”
    what do you pour the mixture over exactly?

  43. @Kerri- over chocolate

  44. Made this tonight…oh so good!!! So very rich, not sure I can even eat the whole thing! :)

  45. *drools*…. i need this

  46. Does this have to be refrigerated after baking? I’m a novice and haven’t baked anything with sour cream before…

  47. No it does not have to be refrigerated.

  48. Thanks for the recipe – it was delicious!! I felt like such a pro using my kitchen scale for the first time to measure out peanut butter. :) In case anyone is curious, 3 oz peanut butter is about 5 Tbsp. And 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate is about 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Did I do that right, Peabody? ;)

  49. This awesome cake I made for our local Spring festival baking contest…and it won 2nd place! Probably would have gotten first if I would have made it look prettier. It tastes awesome!

  50. @Megan- so glad I could help! Yay for taking second place!

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