Buckeye Brownie Cheesecake

Did you know that March is Peanut Month? 

I swear there is a day/week/month for everything. EVERYTHING.

But I see absolutely no problem with that as you can have a lot of fun celebrating things this month like No Pants Day (May 4th), Meatball Day (March 9th), and International Fragrance Day (March 21st) . Today is Awkward Moments Day.

The only awkward moment you would have related to this awesome Buckeye Cheesecake is that you are going to be caught in the middle of the night, sneaking a bite. So awkward!

I am a sucker for peanut butter desserts so I knew that I needed to make this Buckeye Cheesecake when I saw it in my new copy of Secret Layer Cakes cookbook.

Dini Kodippili is the innovative force behind her blog, The Flavor Bender, and this awesome new cookbook. She is creative with flavor combinations and ways that recipes come together.

In her her second cookbook, Secret Layer Cakes, she created so many incredible recipes that feature mouth watering flavor combinations. The extra fun part is that her cakes have a hidden element to them. This cheesecake doesn’t reveal that it’s a cheesecake until you slice into it. Other cakes, like her Brownie Bottom Irish Cream Cheesecake, French Toast Maple Cheesecake, and Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie Pudding, are all on my to-do list!

 

I was a little intimidated with this Buckeye Cheesecake at first, since I was thinking that it was really complicated and time consuming.

In reality, the process is really simple!!

There are a lot of steps, but they are just broken down so it makes the entire process really clear. But it basically is just this: make brownie layer, make cheesecake layer, let it chill in the fridge over night, cover with ganache, then top with peanut butter glaze, dump some extra delicious peanut butter cups on top. Done!!

 

I’ve made a bunch of cheesecakes in the past so I have to say that, beside it being really delicious, this one is really easy to make.

And I only had one minor crack. Which always feels like a victory, even if you are then covering it up with chocolate ganahce.

So even if you crack your cheesecake, no worries! All that matters is that it is delicious!!

Let’s be real, I am not great at decorating cakes, so the fact that this only required me to cover with ganache and then a peanut butter glaze was another reason for me to love this cake.

And if you feel like making this extra fancy, I’m sure you can come up with some extra special decoration on top or to do something fun with the peanut butter cups, other than mounding them in the center. Whatever floats your boat.

This cheesecake is sinful and delightful all at the same time.

And that is exactly why I called up neighbors and gave them big portions for them to enjoy. Their gain means that I don’t have to gain… in my waist!! ha!!

Buckeye Brownie Cheesecake

Makes one 8-inch cake, 16 slices

Ingredients

Brownie Bottom

  • 4 ounces (115g) bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces (115g) unsalted butter
  • 5 ounces ( 142g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3.3 ounces (94g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces (142g) mini peanut butter cups, cut in half

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

  • 16 ounces (455g) cream cheese, softened
  • 3.5 ounces (100g) sugar
  • 6.3 ounces (180 g) creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) cornstarch
  • 3/4 Cup ( 177 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Chocolate Ganache

  • 6 ounces (340g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 1/2 Cup (236 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pinch of salt

Peanut Butter Glaze

  • 6.3 ounces (180g) creamy peanut butter
  • 2 ounces (57g) unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces (85g) confectioners’ sugar

To Decorate

  • Mini Peanut Butter Cups, cut in half (optional)

Process

To make the Brownie Bottom

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Butter an 8-inch wide, 3″ tall spring-form pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, dust the sides with flour.
  2. In a large heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, and salt in a microwave
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Fold the flour and halved peanut butter cups into the batter, until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.  (At this time begin to prepare the cheesecake layer, see below)
  6. Remove the brownie bottom from the oven, turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Let the brownie layer cook for at least 15 minutes.

To make the Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat the cheesecake and sugar until creamy and smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom well to make sure you don’t leave any lumps behind.
  2. Add the peanut butter, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium sped until well combined. Scraping down the sides and bottom again will help you avoid lumps.
  3. Fold or manually whisk in the eggs, one at the time. It is very important not to over mix at this point. The eggs should be just incorporated.
  4. Cut 2 pieces of foil that are at least 12″ long, lay out in a cross shape. Place the pan in the center of the cross and fold up the foil, creating a tight fit around the pan.
  5. Place the pan in a 9 x 13 pan.
  6. Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled brownie layer. Pour hot water (hot tap water works), around the cheesecake so that it is halfway up the sides of the spring form pan.
  7. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the cheesecake is set but still slightly jiggly in the middle when you gently shake it.
  8. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar, let the cheesecake cool for 15-30 minutes, while still in the oven.
  9. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and water bath, let cool to room temperature completely. This can take up to 4 hours, depending on ambient room temperature.
  10. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan by running your knife along the sides. Open the spring and carefully pulling the open form up, away from the cheesecake.
  11. Place the cheesecake on a plate and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, or over night.

To Make the Chocolate Ganache

  1. In a large heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate and heavy cream, and salt together in 30-second intervals, stirring between the intervals, until it is completely melted.
  2. Let cool to a spreadable consistency.

To Make the Peanut Butter Glaze

  1. In a large heatproof bowl, melt the peanut butter, butter, and salt together in 30-second intervals, stirring between the intervals.
  2. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the bowl, mix well.
  3. Let cool to a spreadable consistency.

To Decorate

  1. Using an offset spatula, lift the cheesecake off the bottom pan. Pick the cheesecake up and carefully remove the parchment paper on the bottom. Place back on the bottom, or directly on a serving plate.
  2. Pour half of the ganache on the center of the cheesecake, using the offset spatula, move the ganache to the edge of the cheesecake and let it side down the sides.  Using the offset spatula, spread the  ganache around the sides. Add the rest of the ganache and completely cover the cake.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  4. Spread the peanut butter glaze on the top and then decorate the top with the peanut butter cups.

Recipe is adapted from Secret Layer Cakes: Hidden Fillings and Flavors that Elevate Your Desserts

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