From Bon Appétit Desserts (Andrews McMeel, Nov.)
Halloween Candy Cake
Peanut lovers will fall hard for this creation: roasted peanuts in the cake and topping, creamy peanut butter and peanut butter cups in the filling, and peanut butter candies on top. And with the fall colors of the candy topping, this would be a fun Halloween treat. The cake layers can be assembled a day ahead, but the whipped cream frosting will begin to weep if made too far in advance, so frost and decorate the cake a couple of hours before serving it. 12 servings
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
3⁄4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
6 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
5 tablespoons powdered sugar
1⁄2 cup heavy whipping cream
5 1.8-ounce packages Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, finely chopped
11⁄2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
3 2.1-ounce Butterfinger candy bars, cut into 3⁄4-inch wedges
1⁄3 cup Reese’s Pieces
Cake: Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Grind nuts and flour in processor until fine. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until mixture whitens and triples in volume, about 4 minutes. Fold in nut mixture. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack.
Filling: Blend peanut butter, butter, and sugar in processor until smooth. With machine running, add cream through feed tube and blend until mixture is light and fluffy.
Run small sharp knife around cake pan sides to loosen. Invert cakes onto work surface. Using serrated knife, cut each cake into 2 layers. Place 1 cake layeron platter, cut side up. Spread with 1⁄3 of filling and sprinkle with 1⁄3 of chopped peanut butter cups. Top with second cake layer, cut side down. Continue layering with remaining filling, peanut butter cups, and cake, ending with cake, cut side down.
Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Topping: Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until almost stiff. Transfer 1⁄2 cup to small bowl and reserve for garnish.
Spread remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Press nuts around base of cake, forming 11⁄2-inch-high border. Cover top of cake with Butterfinger candy bars, leaving 1⁄2-inch border. Spoon reserved whipped cream into pastry bag fitted with medium star tip; pipe stars around top edge. Garnish with Reese’s Pieces.
Do Ahead: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Chill. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before serving.
Technique Tip: Chopping Nuts
A food processor can chop nuts into uniform pieces in seconds. But just as quickly, it can turn the nuts to peanut butter. Use the pulse button to control how much the nuts are chopped, and stop the machine long enough to give the bowl a scrape and ensure all the nuts get equal chop time. Nuts start to release oil as they break down, so adding a little flour absorbs some of the oil and prevents the finely ground nuts from clumping and becoming paste.
Image courtesy of wikipedia.org