Oscar Wilde captures my personality perfectly with his cheeky line, “I can resist anything except temptation.”  Like Mr. Wilde, the more you tell me I can’t have something, the more I want it.  And of all my vices, anything containing both chocolate and peanut butter is particularly irresistible. 

My favorite childhood treat involved a visit to Baskin Robbins for their salty-sweet Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.  Luckily, as an adult, I don’t have to avoid this particular temptation many thanks to whomever invented its non-fat frozen yogurt counterpart.  As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, however, attention to caloric intake is a bit lost on me when planning a dinner party.  So when one of my oldest friends planned a visit to San Francisco and requested that I make him a chocolate dessert, I instantly knew to pair it with homemade peanut butter ice cream.  

I’ve often heard praises for Barefoot Contessa’s “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake,” so I used the recipe as a starting point for the dessert.  Steering away from its mocha disposition, I omitted half of the coffee and replaced it with dark rum to intensify the chocolate flavor.  To lend a bit more complexity to the traditional cake, I filled it with Nutella.  The trifecta of coffee, rum, and hazelnut took the already infamous recipe to an entirely new level, sure to satisfy even the most discerning chocoholics.

The peanut butter ice cream was surprisingly effortless to make.  I created a simplified version of a custard base, which uses egg yolks for velvety texture, and added brown sugar instead of white to add extra depth to the otherwise straightforward recipe. 

The combination of decadent multi-faceted chocolate and creamy peanut butter made this the best dessert I’ve ever created.  So good in fact, I may have to surrender to the temptation to make it again right now…  xx tt

Chocolate Cake Recipe – adapted from Barefoot Contessa


·  Butter for greasing pans

·  1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

·  2 cups sugar

·  ¾ cups cocoa powder

·  2 teaspoons baking soda

·  1 teaspoon baking powder

·  1 teaspoon kosher salt

·  1 cup buttermilk (make sure you shake it before use)

·  ½ cup vegetable oil

·  2 extra-large eggs (room temperature)

·  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

·  ½ cup freshly brewed hot coffee

·  ½ cup dark rum

·  Chocolate buttercream (see recipe below)

·  2 cups Nutella


·  Preheat oven to 325 degrees 

·  Butter two  eight-inch round cakepans 

·  Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt using a KitchenAid Mixer or electric beaters on low-speed

·  In another bowl, combine buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla 

·  With mixer on low-speed, slowly add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients

·  Add coffee and run, and blend on low until combined

·  Pour batter into pans and bake for 35 minutes

·  Cool for 30 minutes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


·  8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

·  2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)

·  1 extra-large egg yolk (room temperature)

·  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·  1 ¼ cups powdered sugar


·  Microwave chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl for 3 minutes, stir to complete melting if necessary and set aside to cool

·  Using a KitchenAid Mixer or electric beaters beat butter on medium-high speed for three minutes

·  Add egg yolk and vanilla, beat three more minutes

·  On low-speed, gradually add powdered sugar

·  Beat on medium speed, scraping down sides of the bowl intermittently, until smooth and creamy

·  On low speed, add chocolate and mix until blended

Cake Assembly

·  Once cake has cooled, remove from pans by swiftly turning the pan upside down on a large plate or cutting board

·  Spread Nutella on the surface of the first cake layer

·  Place second cake layer on top

·  Spoon all of the buttercream onto the top/center of the second layer

·  Carefully spread the buttercream over the top and onto the sides of the cake using  an icing spatula (or the back of a spoon if you do not have one)

Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Ice Cream Recipe


·  1 quart half & half

·  1 cup light brown sugar

·  1 teaspoon vanilla

·  6 egg yolks

·  1 cup smooth peanut butter


·  Place half & half, brown sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter in a medium saucepan

·  Heat over medium-low until sugar and peanut butter dissolve 

·  Lightly beat egg yolks

·  Place a few spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture into the yolk bowl and combine

·  Slowly pour egg mixture into peanut butter saucepan

·  Stir over medium heat for five minutes

·  Pour into bowl and cover with saran wrap, place in fridge to chill overnight

·  Follow your ice cream maker instructions to complete (I use the KitchenAid mixer and ice cream attachment)


t+tLITERATURE: add Wilde's uproarious play The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People to your summer reading list - the tale of double identities assumed to avoid social obligations and clever dialogue will surely keep you entertained on sandy beaches and long flights.      

t+tTIP: if you live in San Francisco, stop by my favorite place to indulge in chocolate and peanut butter fro-yo, Michaelis on the corner of Union and Fillmore!   

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