Friday, August 19, 2022

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Do you ever hear yourself say something, and while you’re saying it you wonder what the heck is happening? I had an experience like this last week when I heard myself tell my son that I would make him a cake that I saw online for him for his birthday. What was I thinking? I’ve told you all that I don’t bake. The fact that I offered to bake doesn’t alter the fact that I really don’t do it. As luck would have it, I did bake the cake, it was delicious, and it looked beautiful! Frankly, I surprised myself.

This is one of those cakes that, unless you are willing to devote an entire day to, don’t even consider making it. I tend to involve myself in such things when there’s a day baseball game. I find that the nerve-racking game can counteract the nerve-racking cake baking process, everything levels out, and I’m relatively calm. It’s either that, or the double martini that I poured before I started baking, but I digress.

This cake is special. It’s time consuming, but there is nothing here that isn’t completely doable for even the most inexperienced baker, of which I am one. It’s a showstopper to be sure. If there is someone special in your life, or someone about to celebrate a milestone event, give this some consideration.

 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

As seen on Sally’s Baking Addiction

1¾ c. flour

¾ c. unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

1¾ c. sugar

2 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

2 t. espresso powder

½ c. vegetable oil

2 large eggs, room temperature

¾ c. sour cream, room temperature

½ c. buttermilk, room temperature

2 t. vanilla extract

½ c. black coffee

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (tossed in 1 T. flour)

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the heck out of three 8” cake pans with Baker’s Joy; set aside.

Make the cake: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the oil, eggs, and sour cream together on medium-high speed until combined. Add the buttermilk and vanilla, and beat until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot coffee, and whisk or beat on low speed until the batter is completely combined. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips. Batter is thin and you may see some air bubbles on the surface—that’s normal.

 Divide batter evenly between 3 pans. Bake for approximately 24–26 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow cooling completely in the pan. The cakes may slightly sink in the middle as they cool—that’s expected.

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING

 ¾ c. (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1¾ c. creamy peanut butter (Jif recommended)

1¾ c. confectioners’ sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

3 T. heavy cream, room temperature

 As the cakes cool, make the peanut butter frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

 Add the peanut butter and beat until completely combined, about 1–2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to help combine. Mixture will be thin. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and then pour in the heavy cream with the mixer running on low speed.

 After all of the cream has been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 1–2 minutes, or until fully combined and creamy. Add up to 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar if frosting seems quite thin. You should end up with about 3.5–4 cups of peanut butter frosting. This amount makes enough for the filling, crumb coat, and for a little piping on top.

 Assemble cake + apply crumb coat: Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Using a large icing spatula, evenly cover the top with about 1 cup peanut butter frosting. Repeat with 2nd and 3rd cake layers, spreading about 1 cup of peanut butter frosting in between each layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top and around the sides as a crumb coat. Run a bench scraper around the cake to smooth out crumb coat. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours to set the crumb coat.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

 2 4-oz. quality semi-sweet chocolate bars (8 oz), finely chopped

1 c. heavy cream

Optional garnish: chopped or mini peanut butter cups

 As your crumb coat sets, make the chocolate ganache: Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil—that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate, and then let it sit for 2–3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate.

 With a metal spoon or small rubber spatula, very slowly stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Ganache is thin. The finer you chopped the chocolate, the quicker it will melt with the cream. If it’s not melting, DO NOT MICROWAVE it. Once ganache mixture is smooth, let it chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator to thicken before spreading on chilled crumb-coated cake.

 Pour/spoon thickened ganache on chilled cake. Smooth the top with a large icing spatula and the sides with a bench scraper.  If desired, pipe remaining peanut butter frosting around the edge of the cake.

 I used Wilton 1M piping tip on the pictured cake. Garnish with peanut butter cups, if desired. Serve cake immediately or chill, uncovered, for up to 4–6 hours before serving. Cake can be served at room temperature or chilled.

 Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days. I like using a cake carrier for storing and transporting.

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6 comments:

Marie Smith said...

Yummy! The grandkids would love this!

Gina said...

Wow - that is impressive indeed for a non-baker and now I think you pretty much have to consider yourself one!

Linda said...

Goodness it's beautiful and yummy looking too - how was the texture? Did you son love it? I would make myself sick on it. ;)

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Everyone loved it. It was too sweet for me. Although, that peanut butter buttercream was absolute heaven! I’m thinking of other ways to use that. The texture was pretty much like any other chocolate cake. Unfortunately, my son didn’t take it out of the refrigerator soon enough, so we didn’t get neat, clean slices, so I had to go with the photographs of the exterior.

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

Pattie,
Considering you "don't bake", I have to say that your cake looks professional. I can imagine that everyone was impressed with the beautiful presentation and it sounds delicious too.

Barbara at Mantel and Table said...

Oh my! That looks beautiful! So glad the game (or whatever,) balances out the baking! šŸ¤£ Definitely going to try this one. Thanks!