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. I use one of Marcel’s recipes all the time but you’re right, it is complicated. this recipe reminds me of it. It’s a peanut butter brownie with ganache topping. Add, mix for 2 or 4 minutes, scrape bowl, add mix, scrape. I don’t know many other chefs who include the minutes in mixing as he does but his brownie is light and fluffy. Something just happens when you incorporate all that air! I can’t wait to try this one. Thanks for posting.

  2. I made this recipe in two 9″ round cake pans. My oven is perfectly calibrated, and the cakes were done in exactly 10 minutes. It was sinfully delicious!

  3. thanks for the food porn, I cannot eat it either!

  4. This looks divine! I want to make it for a dinner party we are having on Friday night. Does any one know how I could best prep the assembly so it is easy to serve for a party? Thanks.

  5. StumbleUpon, not when i’m hungry…

  6. This cake was very good, but didn’t turn out as moist as the picture showed the cake.

  7. I somehow forgot the sour cream, but it still came out great! I used crunchy peanut butter and muscovado sugar for the brown sugar. I baked it in a 9×13 pan and there was barely enough batter to cover the bottom, but it puffed up during baking. I took it out after about 20 mins as soon as a toothpick came out clean. I’m not sure why the directions say to only frost the perimeter of each layer. I ended up having plenty of frosting to fill each layer. DELICIOUS! …and deceptively light. We just ate way too much (heated with ice cream).

  8. I just made thisecipe and it was good. It is light but not decadent. The picture is a bit deceiving to me. I made this as one of my dishes for thanksgiving and it just doesn’t make very much really. The longer it’s refridgerated the thicker the icing. I just thought it was ok. Not rich looking like the pic shows. I would make it again but double or triple the recipe for sure.

  9. When I made this, the ganache/icing didn’t thicken enough (maybe I didn’t measure accurately enough? I’m bad for that). I used rest of the heavy cream to make whipped cream, then added whipped cream (don’t know how much . . . didn’t measure that either) to make a chocolate peanut butter mousse. This turned out to be fantastic. I might make the chocolate peanut butter mousse again just by itself!

  10. Made your recipe tonight. Easy to make with my five-year-old daughter. The cake is very light. I did not make the chocolate icing, but wish I had because it needed a bit more sweetness. Might add a dusting of powdered sugar on a piece tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Sarah Jones says:

    I made this cake tonight, but it did not rise any in the pan. I made it in a 9×13 pan. I can tell in the pictures in is a slim cake, but this just didn’t have any rise at all.mi am wondering about self rising flour instead??? Any suggestions?

  12. This cake remains pretty flat, that is why you stack it.

  13. Will this recipe work if I use cupcake liners? What would the cook time be?

  14. Peabody says:

    @Rachel- actually I don’t think this would turn out very well as a cupcake

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