Damaris Phillips Chocolate Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 3-layer 6-inch cake
For the Espresso Chocolate Cake:
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
For the Perfectly Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting:
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For assembling the Cake:
  • 1 ¼ cup honey roasted peanut nuts
  • Chocolate cage (follow link in post for tutorial)
To make the Espresso Chocolate Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 6-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
  2. Stir the espresso powder into the hot water and let the espresso bloom. Let the espresso cool down so it's warm but not hot to the touch.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the warm (not hot) espresso, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and eggs.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the center. Whisk until mostly lump free and smooth. Divide between the cake pans and bake, rotating halfway, for 23 to 27 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs.
  6. Let the cakes cool in the pans before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hour, or even overnight, to let the cake moisten further. This rest bit also ensures that the cake won't crumble.
To make the Perfect Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting:
  1. Cream the cream cheese and butter for 2 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. After two minutes, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the peanut butter, mixing until combined.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time. Add the vanilla, beating until combine. Scrape the bowl as needed. Transfer into airtight containers and let the frosting firm up in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
To assemble the Cake:
  1. If the cake layers have domes, use a serrate knife to level off the domes. Dollop a bit of frosting onto a cake board and then add the first layer. Spread some of the frosting onto the layer, sprinkle some of the peanut on top and press the peanuts into the frosting. Repeat this step with the next layer. Top with the final third layer. Use an off set spatula to press the dirty crumb coating of frosting and crumbs into the cake. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes. Apply a thicker coating of frosting and freeze for a final 15 minutes.
  2. Follow the tutorial for the chocolate cage. When the chocolate cage is matte and malleable press the cage around the perimeter of the cake and refrigerate. Remove the parchment paper. Top the cake with the remaining peanuts.
Cake recipe adapted from Damaris Phillips
Recipe by Layer Cake Parade at https://layercakeparade.com/damaris-phillips-chocolate-cake/