Quadruple Layer Peanut Butter Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Finished cake

I truly enjoy baking, and while I’ve never had any desire to do it professionally, I’m totally down with people placing orders with me. This is where this beast of a creation came from: a request from a woman who has ordered from me before. This time she sent me the recipe and I, of course, obliged.

“This is ridiculous!” Was on repeat in my mind and on my tongue while I made it. It has a layer of chocolate cake, a layer of peanut butter cup cheesecake, a caramel layer, & repeat. Then it’s topped with ganache, chocolate frosting, and additional peanut butter frosting. Say it with me now, “This is ridiculous!” Oh, and it’s not quite finished as there will be chocolate curls added to the sides. This sucker weighs almost 12 pounds and is tall. It also takes 2 days to make. Mmm hmm, ridiculous. It sure is pretty, though.

For the chocolate cake:

  • Prepare 2 9 inch round pans, greased, lined with parchment paper and greased again. Using a cake mix or your favorite go-to homemade chocolate cake recipe (I did this and will post at a later date), bake the cake according to directions in prepared pans. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, remove from pans and transfer to a cooling rack. When completely cooled, level the tops if necessary and place in freezer.

For the crustless cheesecake:

  • 30 miniature PB cups, cut in fourths
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 8oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 3oz. box of cook and serve vanilla pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 2 9 inch round pans, greased, lined with parchment paper and greased again. Dust pans with flour, tapping out excess.

Cream butter and sugar. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the pudding, eggs, and baking powder, mixing well to combine. Fold in the peanut butter cups. Distribute evenly amongst the 2 pans. Bake for 55 minutes – 1 hours. Upon removing from the oven, immediately transfer pans to the freezer. This will create an indent for the caramel. Once frozen completely, remove the cheesecake from the pans & the parchment paper, reline with parchment paper so that it hangs over the edges.

For the caramel layer:

  • 2 14oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 10 tbsp. butter
  • 80 Kraft caramels (or 2 bags of the Kraft caramel bits)

Make the caramel in two batches, dividing above ingredients. In a microwave safe bowl, add a can of the sweetened condensed milk, 5 tbsp. of butter, and 40 caramels (or 1 bag of the caramel bits) and microwave 3 minutes, stirring until smooth. Pour the caramel mixture over one of the cheesecakes. Repeat with the other cheesecake. Return to the freezer. NOTE: There was plenty of caramel left over after each addition. It’d probably be enough to do just one, but because I was following the recipe, and it wasn’t for me, I made both.

Once caramel has frozen, assemble the layer of cakes: chocolate, cheesecake, chocolate & cheesecake.

For the ganache & frosting:

  • 1  2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tbsp. light corn syrup

Place chocolate chips in a bowl. Heat cream in microwave until it starts to boil. Remove from microwave and pour cream over chocolate chips, whisking until smooth.

Remove 2/3 cup of chocolate mixture, mix in corn syrup. Add ganache to the top of the cake. Return to the freezer.

With the remaining ganache, transfer to mixer and beat for 8 minutes until fluffy. Frost the sides of the cake with the frosting.

For the peanut butter frosting:

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Beat peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pipe swirls onto cake, topping with mini PB cups. NOTE: There was so much frosting left, I piped the frosting on the bottom and top of the cake.

NOTE: For a more manageable version of this, I think 1 layer of each would suffice. Or just a middle layer of cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of chocolate cake.

Source: http://hugsandcookiesxoxo.com/2012/08/quadruple-layer-peanut-butter-chocolate.html

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