i’ve always been a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter. it’s pretty much anti-american if you aren’t a fan of that combination. though in a country lacking the wonder of peanut butter enlightenment, there’s always a struggle to get my fix. i feel more than lucky to say i’ve eaten peanut butter during my 18 months of service in ukraine. 164 ounces of it to be exact, all thanks to family and friends that have shipped it. but i promise i haven’t eaten every tablespoon of that. some has been used to actually share (it was tough to part with) in the forms of homemade peanut butter cups and peanut butter cookies for friends.
i shared my peanut butter cookies with ukrainians, and they thought they were oookay, but really they just didn’t get it. the peanut butter cups on the other hand…oh those i made just for americans that knew their value. there has been a rumor amongst pcvs of a special store in the u.s. embassy in kyiv that sells reese’s peanut butter cups and other american-only delectables to its workers. we drooled over the idea of having such a treat in ukraine so much so that we spent an entire day discussing what we would do for a peanut butter cup…lots of creativity and not much dignity.
in my latest care package my mom sent me a small bag of reese’s pieces, my favorite candy EVER. i sat there looking at the happy little orange bag wanting to dive-in. but instead i decided, with will power beyond my own imagination, that i would save it for thanksgiving day. and so it sits, in my cupboard way way way away from sight waiting for the day i can finally eat them. a day i will be truly thankful for.
in the mean time i’ve been savoring every spoonful of what little peanut butter i have left. usually reserving it to only top bananas (i could eat that everyday for the rest of my life, i swear!). but all good things must come to an end, and i know my peanut butter supply will too. and while that’s inevitable, i still decided in a peanut butter chocolate fever to throw some into the vegan chocolate cake i was making.
the recipe didn’t call for it, but i couldn’t just have chocolate by itself, not with peanut butter in my possession! so a spoonful of peanuty cream was swirled in, baked, and then completely devoured. oh, with nutella my brother in singapore sent glazed on top to boot. totally healthy. but whatever, at least my ride on the sugar train to diabetes town was deeeeeeelicious.
easy peasy vegan chocolate cake*
*optional peanut butter addition: but really…you should do this
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
1 packet vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 cup of water or cold coffee
3/4 cup of peanut butter (or as much as you’re willing to spare)
1.) grease and flour cake pan. preheat oven to 375*F. whisk all dry ingredients together. add wet ingredients and mix until smooth. try not to overmix. pour batter into prepared pan.
2.) in a double broiler, soften peanut butter until it is just slightly runny.
3.) drizzle over batter and use knife to create swirls.
4.) bake for 40-50 minutes until middle is firm and a knife comes out clean.