Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Oh how I need to write a love ballad to you!
To start, I am very down with Life Equations.
The term “life equations” was mentioned by Alex Guarnaschelli in one Food Network’s Guilty Pleasures episodes. Given she was talking about Frito Pie. I honestly feel like this Chocolate Peanut Butter cake falls into the category of ‘correct’ life equations as well.
This cake just makes sense. It’s levels of sweetness, creaminess, moistness, richness, and simply “feel-good”-ness are packaged neatly into this cake. You would never need to eat the candy-bar equivalents. This Chocolate Peanut Butter cake nestles besides you, reminding you that—despite the insurmountable entropy and insecurity in the world—something does make sense and will make things feel okay in the moment (I cannot guarantee a life time of contentedness, but at least you’ll be happy whilst making and eating the cake).
The recipe is pulled from Brown Eyed Baker and negligible adjustments were made to the recipe. Again, I am fanatical about frosting so I made two batches of the peanut butter butter cream. Doubling the recipe ensures ample cake-to-frosting ratios and gives you some extra frosting to decorate the cake.
- 2½ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 1½ cups strong black coffee, warm
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 4½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups creamy peanut butter
- 10 ounces (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 30 miniature peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray set aside (if you want to use parchment paper you can).
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and stir the dry ingredients on the stir setting for 30 seconds.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat on low until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat it for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix for a final 20 to 30 seconds. The batter will be very thin.
- Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven at 10 minutes. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs). Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely. (NOTE: For a moister cake, I let the cakes chill in the fridge overnight).
- In a large bowl whisk together the sifted powdered sugar and salt, set aside.
- Place peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the heavy cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. Do not overbeat. Take out 2 to 3 cups of the frosting and fold in half of the chopped miniature peanut butter cups. This will be the filling between the layers of the cake.
- While the cake chills, make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.
- In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the cream until it bubble around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
- Whisk from the center outward, gradually stir from the center outward until the ganache is completely smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, yet still a pourable consistency.
- Level off the cakes so each layer is flat.
- Frost each layer with the peanut butter frosting folded with peanut butter cups and stack the next layer on top.
- Do a light crumb coating on the outside of the cake and let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Frost the cake with a final coat of frosting. Let the cake chill for a final 15 minutes.
- Carefully pour ganache onto the top of the cake. Let it naturally fall to the sides or gently glide it evenly with an off set spatula.
- Decorate with extra frosting and the remaining chopped miniature peanut butter cups.