Audrey first made this Moose Tracks Cake for me after I graduated from college. Which was…four whole years ago. What. The. Heck. It’s hard to believe that I’ve now been out of college just as long as I was in college. But I better believe it—our brother is graduating college next month! (Again: what. the. heck.) I remember celebrating his high school graduation a week after my college graduation. (Remember that time Audrey made seven cakes for his graduation party like a total cake boss?!) So…yeah, the timing checks out

A certain someone in my life had a birthday this past weekend and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to revisit this Moose Tracks Cake. Because what says birthday better than peanut butter, chocolate, and moist white vanilla cake?

Also, I remembered the original photos of this cake being atrocious and far from doing justice to how delicious Moose Tracks Cake is, actually did this cake an injustice. And one I wanted to rectify, asap.

This cake was my first big baking project since going sugar-free back in January. Not that I haven’t eaten dessert in the meantime—I most certainly have—but it’s been on only a couple occasions and it hasn’t been anything that I’ve personally made.

It felt good to be baking again! Baking is such a therapeutic activity. One might even call it mindful. You know, if one were into that kind of thing. In college one of the reasons I baked so much was that it was a great way to de-stress. It was basically a de-stressing two-for-one, because you get the stress relief from the actual baking process plus the happy, relaxed feeling of eating your treats and sharing them with friends.

My intention in cutting sugar out of my daily life was never to cut it out completely. Over-the-top, decadent desserts are pretty much encoded into my DNA at this point. But instead of eating them on a weekly basis, I am going to save them for special occasions (like birthdays!). I think this actually places them on even more of a pedestal, because it makes enjoying a dessert like Moose Tracks Cake a true occasion, not just another evening dessert. And that’s exactly what this cake was!

For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature (I used greek yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the ganache:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the peanut butter frosting:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

For decorating: Reese’s mini cups

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl: cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. With a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter on high speed for about one minute until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another two minutes on high until creamed together.
  4. Add egg whites and beat on high speed until combined (about two minutes), then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and along the bottom of the bowl as needed.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, carefully add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Don’t over mix!
  6. Leaving the mixer on low, slowly pour the milk into the mixture and mix until just combined.
  7. Add chocolate chips and whisk mixture by hand to combine, ensuring that no lumps of batter remain at the bottom of the bowl. Batter will be slightly thick but pourable.
  8. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until cakes are lightly brown. To test, press a fingertip into the surface of the cake. It should bounce back. If the mark stays indented, bake for 3-5 more minutes until done.
  9. Place cake pans on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Time permitting, wrap cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This will make assembly easier.

Make the ganache:

  1. Heat all the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until melted and homogenous. Do not stop stirring, or mixture may burn!
  2. Remove from heat immediately. Set aside to cool while you prepare the frosting.

Make the frosting:

  1. Beat peanut butter and butter together on medium speed until creamy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and one tablespoon of milk, plus half the powdered sugar. Beat until well combined, gradually adding more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.
  3. If the frosting gets too stiff, add more milk one tablespoon at a time.

Assemble the cake:

  1. Place one cake layer on a platter or cake stand. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter frosting on it, followed by a generous layer of ganache. Sprinkle with chopped up Reese’s mini cups if desired.
  2. Place second cake layer on top of the ganache.
  3. Frost cake with peanut butter frosting.
  4. Drizzle with any remaining ganache.
  5. Decorate with Reese’s mini cups.
  6. Serve to people you love.

Vanilla cake recipe based on Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Read The Original Full Recipe in Source (Thank You):

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