The Wrath of the Shadow: Chocolate Peanut Butter Groundhog Cake

February 2010

Having already attended the festivities at Gobbler’s Knob last year, I was content to sleep past the historical moment when Punxsutawney Phil predicts the fate of the season.  Instead of the real groundhog event, I created my own occasion by bringing a peanut buttery facsimile to work for the day.

What happened after that varmint saw his shadow?


Snowpocalypse, the winter that nearly caused me to have a personal breakdown.  This was the winter in which I would walk for one hour to work because biking was too cold and bussing was too much of a hassle.  The snow would fall at what I call “the special Pittsburgh angle,” which hits directly in your eyes regardless of the direction you are walking.

On one particular walk to work, my feet were wet and cold, and the poster I needed to bring with me was collecting snow despite my efforts to protect it.  All I wanted to do was sit in a snow mound and cry.  I was so thoroughly, mentally and physically exhausted from hiking uphill, over snow mounds to and from work everyday.  Oh how I longed for a snow day!  At least the dogface had some fun in the snow, and the dashing carpenter was in driver’s heaven on the abandoned, snowy roads.

Cake Ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup old-fashioned (natural) chunky peanut butter
1 pound golden brown sugar
4 large, local, free-range eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup local buttermilk

Frosting Ingredients

1 package of cream cheese (8oz), at room temperature
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup old-fashioned (natural) peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 package of dark chocolate chips, melted using a maria bath.

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x13 glass pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until blended.

Beat in brown sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and stopping with the flour.

Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Set aside to cool.

For the Icing

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whip until well combined and creamy.

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