There are times when the oven must be turned on. Birthdays are one of those times. Birthdays don’t care that it’s 98 degrees outside; the celebration must go on. And I hear you all, buy a cake! Well, no…I simply can’t. When you’re known to cook and bake, it’s almost expected that when I throw a party or bring a dish, it’s going to be homemade. And frankly, whether it’s my stubbornness or passion for perfection, buying store bought is out of the question. And in the end, cooking for family and friends is my gift of sharing my love.
This birthday cake is for my boss. Deciding on a cake for someone who is extremely fitness conscious and rarely eats desserts was not easy. In fact, I know this because I am very similar, however, I do eat a bite or two of desserts and when it’s MY birthday, I will eat cake! In fact, I have this yearly, only on my birthday, treat for myself of giant blueberry pancakes…but that’s another story.
Everyone has to celebrate their birthday with a little sweet; it makes for a sweeter year ahead. Other than knowing he likes apple pie, this boss of mine eats a lot of peanut butter….thus, peanut butter cheesecake! This cheesecake is rich, dense but not overly sweet. The combination of chocolate and peanut is like a chocolate peanut butter cup. Truly an occassional treat and a great way to also celebrate National Cheesecake Day on July 30!!
Prepare oven by placing a casserole pan on the bottom rack filled halfway with water. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir together until well combined. Press mixture onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
For the filling: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Beat in melted chocolate and peanut butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla extract. Stir in chopped peanuts. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to225 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center no longer looks wet or shiny. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the pan. Turn the oven off and return the cake to the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove and chill uncovered overnight in the refrigerator.
For the topping: Gently melt the white chocolate and peanut butter together and set aside. Melt the semisweet chocolate and set aside. Pour the white chocolate peanut butter over the cake and then drizzle on the melted semisweet chocolate. Using a knife, gently swirl the chocolate into the peanut butter layer. Sprinkle on chopped peanuts. Refrigerate until serving time.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.