Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake

This. Cake. Is. Amazing.

There’s simply no other way to put it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that chocolate and peanut butter is the best food combination on earth. After having one slice of this decadent cake, I found myself dreaming about having another one! In fact, days after the cake was gone, I was still jonesing for it – which is a little sad really.

The triple-layer cake itself is super moist and rich, and the peanut butter frosting goes really well with it. And the chocolate ganache is just an extra treat that really, well, takes the cake! Big thanks to Smitten Kitchen for this recipe, as it has shot it’s way up to the top of my favorite foods list!

My only complaint for this cake is that it was incredible difficult to photograph, because the ganache kept reflecting all of the light. After spending about an hour trying to get one decent photo, I’ve added a pop-up photography studio kit to my Amazon list. So hopefully future cakes won’t be as temperamental.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
For the frosting:
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I happened to have some from my last trip to the US, but you can use a mix of milk and dark chocolate.)
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (I substituted with vegetable oil, since the UK is lacking in corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (again, substituted by using a 1:1 mix of milk and whipping cream)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (approx 175°C). Butter three 8 or 9-inch cake tins and line with baking paper.

2. Sift together all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Whisk in the vegetable oil and sour cream, then gradually add the water. Once everything is combined, whisk in the eggs, vinegar, and vanilla. Divide the batter evenly amongst the three prepared tins.

3. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Place the cakes in the fridge while you prepare the frosting so that they will be easier to work with.

4. To make the peanut butter frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Gradually sift in the icing sugar and mix until it’s light and fluffy. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, gradually add in the peanut butter.

5. Remove the cake layers from the fridge and assemble by using 2/3 cup of the frosting between each layer. Then put a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake – called a crumb coat. Place the assembled cake back in the fridge to let the crumb coat set up. This will prevent any of the dark-colored chocolate crumbs from the cake showing through your frosting layer. After about 15 minutes, remove the cake and use the rest of the frosting to completely cover the cake. (Because you are covering the top with the ganache, I would concentrate more on making sure the sides are covered well and do a thinner job on the top.) 

6. Place the cake back in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.

7. In a double boiler (essentially, use a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water), gradually melt the chocolate chips. Be sure to stir often to prevent them from burning and to help them melt evenly! Add the peanut butter and the corn syrup (or oil, whichever you’re using). Be sure not to let any steam or water get into your mix, or else the chocolate will seize and be ruined.

8. Once the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half.

9. Quickly remove the cake from the fridge and pour the ganache over the top, while the ganache is still warm. Don’t worry about it dripping down the sides – it adds a sense of whimsy!

 

When storing this cake, be sure to keep in the fridge until about 15 minutes before serving. This makes it easier to cut, because it gets quite gooey and messy if left out at room temperature for awhile.

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