Is it weird that I started making my own birthday cake every year? Is it anal and control-freaky? Should I release the cake reigns? Nahhhhh. From my rainbow cat birthday cake to last year’s epically delicious cake, I actually really enjoy making them – spending time on my own dinking around in the kitchen on the little details, from piping blobs of swiss meringue kisses to spreading the drippy chocolate with an offset spatula, I then get super excited to serve an extra special cake, infused with love and a little bit of blood, sweat and tears, to my beloved family members! Of course my husband always gets me a “surprise” additional cake – a Dairy Queen Garfield cake, hehe.
This year’s cake was even more special to me. See, my brain hasn’t been functioning super awesomely lately. And I tend to burn out quickly in the kitchen, my stamina usurped by fatigue and a foggy mind. But bookended by rainy days, the sun popped out for one cold November day and the light was just right for photographing. And I felt inspired to bake. Maybe to prove to myself that I still could. So I went loose cannon wild on a chocolate peanut butter and jam cake, complete with peanut butter frosting, raspberry jam filling, PLUS a layer of swiss meringue raspberry buttercream and my favourite cake look of the moment: drip drip drippy chocolate gliding pleasurably down like happy chocolate tears down the sides. Oh, and crispy sweet sugar cloud bursts of meringue kisses on top! The look of the cake is inspired by a combo of Katherine Sabbath and Linda Lomelino – two galactically talented baking beauties I am happy to call my friends.
Anchoring those darkly gorgeous chocolate cake layers? Rodelle dutch-processed cocoa powder, rich in chocolate taste from the higher cocoa butter content. I just want to Scrooge McDuck dive into a soft shimmery pool of that fine powdery cocoa goodness!
I tend to make a mess in the kitchen – but I try to do that “clean as you go thing” these days, I find it minimizes stress levels. I used a piping bag to make a frosting dam, then I dolloped in my raspberry jam filling.
I frosted the entire exterior with two layers of peanut butter frosting – one crumb coat, then into the freezer for 15 minutes to set, then another coat.
After the peanut butter frosting, I frosted with a pink raspberry pureed swiss meringue buttercream, made my chocolate drip glaze and topped the cake with pretty piped meringues I made the day before. Plus, fresh raspberries and chocolate peanut butter cups nestled into the chocolate, and a few crushed meringues for sprinkles … DREAMY!
Too pretty to eat, amiright? NO WAY. Dig in to the recipe below …
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jam Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
For the cake
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup of Rodelle Dutch process cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee, I used two shots of espresso topped up with hot water equal to 1 cup
For the peanut butter frosting and jam filling
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
- 1 cup of supermarket peanut butter, I used Kraft smooth peanut butter
- 2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- dash of milk
- 1 cup of raspberry jam preserves, divided in half
For the raspberry swiss meringue buttercream
- 4 large egg whites
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3½ ounces raspberries
- small amount of pink gel food colouring
For the chocolate drip
- ½ cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 7-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper circles.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Make the frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
- Scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the icing sugar, vanilla and dash of milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan and place on a cake plate or pedestal.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with an open circle tip with some of the frosting. Starting from the outside of the cake layer, pipe frosting onto the cake in a circle, forming a dam in the middle.
- Add raspberry jam filling into the middle.
- Add the second layer, repeating the frosting “dam” and jam filling.
- Add the final layer of cake, frosting the top and sides to a crumb coat.
- Chill in freezer for 15 minutes to set crumb coat.
- Frost a final coat of peanut butter frosting and chill for 15 minutes to set “peanut butter frosting” layer before you frost the swiss meringue raspberry buttercream layer!
Make the swiss meringue buttercream
- Pour the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place it on top of a double boiler over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continually until the mixture reaches 150 degrees Farenheit or the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove the bowl from heat.
- Continue to beat the mixture with an electric beater or hand mixer until it is as white and fluffy as a meringue. Beat until the mixture is cool, up to 10 minutes.
- Add the butter a little at a time. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat for another 3-5 minutes.
- Purée the raspberries in a blender. Press the purée through a fine mesh to remove the seeds.
- Mix the purée with the buttercream, beating until smooth. Add a tiny amount of gel colour to make it more pink.
- Frost the chilled peanut butter frosting-covered cake with a first layer of swiss meringue raspberry buttercream; chill again for a final time, then finish with the last layer of raspberry buttercream for an epically frosted cake!
- Note: If your swiss meringue buttercream becomes soupy or worse, cottage cheese-y, refer to this very effective “how to fix swiss meringue buttercream” post!
Make the drip
- Using a bain-marie or heatproof bowl set on top of boiling water, melt together the butter and chocolate.
- Mix together slowly with a wooden spoon.
- Set aside to cool for 20 minutes; it will thicken slightly. Pour on top of the pink swiss meringue raspberry buttercream final layer, using an offset spatula to gently ice the glaze to the edges of the cake for maximum dripping.