A lesson in decadence – homemade ice cream and chocolate peanut butter cake

This week has been a lesson in decadence indeed…. So far I’ve made two of the creamiest creations in my short baking experience in the last couple days!  Ah, and what fun it is to see people innocently enjoy the fruits of my labor 🙂  Surprisingly, these desserts were quite simple to make… I just wouldn’t recommend eating them every week unless you have the metabolism of Michael Phelps.

The first dessert I will spotlight is just plain homemade ice cream.  Well, not entirely plain, as I added some macerated strawberries to the mix to give it a bit more flavor.  Thanks mom for the great ice cream machine for my birthday 🙂  I just had to put it to good use immediately, much to the delight of my coworkers.  Normal ice cream is actually quite easy to make, though I eventually plan to expand my repertoire to more complex frozen desserts such as sorbet and gelato.  But we all need to get started somewhere, right?

I remember making ice cream from scratch in middle school using a big oatmeal can and rock salt.  Wow, sure that was fun, but what a lot of work!  And I’ve even seen modern ice cream machines require the use of a crank or something… maybe good exercise, but come on, we live in an era of convenience now 🙂  Thanks to my new trusty Cuisinart, ice cream can be made in 20 minutes with little more than a flip of a switch!  Ah… technology.  Sometimes it makes me actually appreciate engineering.  Well, almost.

Homemade strawberry ice cream

Homemade strawberry ice cream

Next up, I was asked to bake a birthday cake for my most gracious and knowledgeable bible study leader, Chris Jee.  Hm, seeing as there probably would be more than 20 people attending this surprise potluck, I decided on a very rich birthday cake that I’ve been meaning to make for a while but never mustered the courage.  With the birthday cake slices most likely cut thin, the richness of this cake should be able to appease even the greediest sweet tooth.  To put in a nutshell, the three layers of cake are made of super moist chocolate sour cream batter.  These layers are then connected with a filling and initial frosting of peanut butter cream cheese.  This is chilled then covered with another layer of peanut butter semisweet ganache.  And finally, I sprinkled generous amounts of toffee bits on top.  If you’re getting worried about the health of these servings… well, satisfy that part of your mind with the knowledge that there isn’t really too much sugar involved in this cake.   Then serve yourself a slice of this most decadent dessert guilt free 🙂

Three layers of moist chocolate cake, coated with the PB Cream Cheese, covered with ganache :)

Three layers of moist chocolate cake, coated with the PB Cream Cheese, covered with ganache 🙂

Strawberry Ice Cream


  • 3 cups fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 4 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


1.  In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours.  Strain the berries, reserving the juices.  Mash or puree half the berries (I just used my food processor for this).

Macerated strawberries

Macerated strawberries

2.  In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, strawberry puree  and vanilla.

Mix the ice cream ingredients

Mix the ice cream ingredients

3.  Turn the machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl.  Let mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes.  Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the reserved sliced strawberries and let mix in completely.  The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture.  If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in the freezer for about 2 hours.

Let the machine do all the work :)

Let the machine do all the work 🙂

Sour Cream – Chocolate Cake with Peanut B utter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

recipe adapted from Sky High Cakes, as viewed on Smitten Kitchen


For cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I used heath toffee bits)

For the frosting:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

For the glaze:

  • 8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. To make the cake: Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

4. To make the frosting: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Making the peanut butter cream cheese frosting

Making the peanut butter cream cheese frosting

5. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Who knew that peanut butter and cream cheese could taste so great together?

Who knew that peanut butter and cream cheese could taste so great together?

6. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Assembling the cake

Assembling the cake

7. To make the glaze: In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Peanut Butter Ganache Glaze

Peanut Butter Ganache Glaze

8. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

9. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Cake with PB Cream Cheese frosting

Cake with PB Cream Cheese frosting

Finished cake with PB Ganache Glaze and Toffee bits

Finished cake with PB Ganache Glaze and Toffee bits

So rich, so good :)

So rich, so good 🙂


7 Responses to “A lesson in decadence – homemade ice cream and chocolate peanut butter cake”

  1. 1 Roger
    August 28, 2009 at 12:19 am

    For ice cream, i find it works better if you chill the ingredients before putting it into the ice cream maker, and its not always the sugar that is bad for you but looks good(:

  2. 2 denver
    August 28, 2009 at 8:37 am

    hahaha you should rename yourself to the happy baker, thats a whole lot of 🙂 emoticons. hows the cake transporter working?

  3. 3 Patrick
    September 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    good god, this stuff looks like a heart attack in a bowl

    delicious, delicious heart disease 😦

  4. 4 Jennifer
    September 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I’m buying the same icecream maker for my friend! We’re going to try it this weekend. Exciting 😀

  5. October 8, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    This cake looks divine!! Good stuff!

  6. 6 tina
    November 26, 2009 at 1:11 am

    mmm, the cake was so much better the second time around 🙂 and this is coming from someone who does not have a sweet tooth… 😉 keep up the good work, sweets!

  7. 7 Sophie
    December 20, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    why have you not been baking/posting

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