Gothic Circus Cake
 
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 3-layer 8-inch cake
Ingredients
For the Milk Chocolate Cake:
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
For the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Peanut Butter Cup Filling:
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
For the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Frosting:
  • 2 cups (4 sticks, 16 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 to 10 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • Purple and black food gel coloring
For assembling the Gothic Circus Cake:
  • Circus peanut candies
  • ½ to ¾ cup roasted salted peanut, roughly chopped
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Red sanding sugar
Instructions
To make the Milk Chocolate Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
  2. Dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water, set aside to cool. In the meantime, sift the cake flour baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients in three addition and the sour cream in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Add in the cocoa mixture. Use a rubber spatula and give the batter a few folds to ensure the batter is completely mixed.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, rotating halfway. A toothpick inserted should come out with a few moist crumbs. Do not over bake these cakes. Invert immediately onto a wire rack and cool completely.
To make the Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the vanilla into a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until it thickens and bubble rapidly. Pour into a heat safe bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Cool before using.
To make the Peanut Butter Cup Filling:
  1. Whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on a medium speed until smooth and lump free, about 1 minute. Add the sugars and beat for another 1 minute. Beat in the peanut butter, mixing until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients. If the mixture is looking too dry add milk a tablespoon at a time. The filling should have the consistency of a moderately thick cookie dough, but not too thick).
To make the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed until smooth and lump free, about 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and blend until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and then scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down.
  2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar and marshmallow fluff. Once added, raise the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy and slightly whipped, about 1 minutes.
  3. Divide the frosting and tint one batch purple and the other black. When adding the food gel coloring, do it gradually. As the frosting 'rests' the color will darken and deepen. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble the Gothic Circus Cake:
  1. If the cakes have domes, use a serrated knife to level each layer. Dollop a bit of frosting onto a cake boar and secure the first layer.
  2. Spread on the Caramel Sauce, sprinkle on the chopped roasted peanuts, and pipe on the Peanut Butter Cup Filling. Repeat this process with the second layer. Top with the final third layer.
  3. Give the cake a crumb coating of purple frosting. Chill. Decorate with buttercream stripes in accordance to the tutorial. Garnish with Circus peanuts, chopped peanuts, maldon salt, and red sanding sugar.
Notes
Cake recipe adapted from Taste of Home, Filling adapted from Averie Cooks, and Frosting adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen
Recipe by Layer Cake Parade at https://layercakeparade.com/gothic-circus-cake/