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Chocolate peanut-butter cake

Makes one 2-layer cake

Krista Burgoyne came up with this cake for her senior project in the culinary arts division of Minuteman Regional High School. She spreads any extra filling on bagels or toast in the morning. The new graduate is headed to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in the fall.

CAKE

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch-round cake pans. Set aside.

2. In an electric mixer, combine the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. With the mixer set on low speed, blend in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Blend in the boiling water in a slow, steady stream. The batter will be very thin.

4. Divide the batter between the pans. Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed lightly with a fingertip. Let cake layers cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn the rounds out onto wire racks to cool completely.

BUTTERCREAM

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 pounds confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup water
2 cups smooth peanut butter

1. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, mixing well until it is all incorporated. The mixture will be stiff.

2. With mixer running, slowly add the vanilla and water, beating until fluffy. Add peanut butter and beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

FILLING AND GARNISH

1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups
1. In a bowl, beat together the peanut butter and cream cheese until smooth.

2. To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread with a thin coating of filling. Make the layer thin to keep the cake delicate. Place the second cake layer on the first. Spread the top and sides with buttercream. You will have extra buttercream; freeze the leftovers for another cake. Or, use the buttercream to pipe a border around the top of the cake. Sprinkle the top with chopped peanut butter cups. Serve at once, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Adapted from Krista Burgoyne

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