38 years of Chinese sweet crazy lady livin’ on this planet, guys. I turned 38 over the weekend and destiny called: the universe told me I had to make the most epic peanut butter chocolate cake recipe I could possibly muster. How could I say no!? Peanut butter and chocolate is my deadly kryptonite, sparkling green-bright, cartoon pain crystals on another planet waiting to take me down. I wanted creamy salty sweet peanut butter frosting, rich dark chocolate cake layers and I wanted to STUFF this muthah with peanut butter cups. Then, I looked to my fave cake sistah from another mistah, Katherine Sabbath, for design inspiration – drips, shards and sweet little brightly coloured meringue kisses!
For the chocolate cake, I wanted to try something different from my usual recipe. Years ago my mother-in-law gave me The Barefoot Contessa At Home. How LOVEABLE is Ina Garten! Like a warm hug on a cold day, I used to cozy up to her show, dreaming of having a big gorgeous house with a bright and fancy kitchen. I found it so soothing and relaxing to watch. Ina and Jeffrey = dream team! I like to imagine them cuddling the shit out of each other on a perfectly comfy taupe couch while dining on crisp roast capon. I’d forgotten about Ina’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake Recipe until I came across it again on The Vanilla Bean Blog while searching for recipes. It did not fail me. The texture was so tender and springy I wanted to punch the air in CAKE VICTORY. The layers were deeply chocolate with a hint of coffee flavour.
Another year older – another year cram jammed full of life. So here it is: the motherload of cakes, the cake my husband told me “I think this might be the best cake you’ve ever made” … a little something for you all. Let’s celebrate!!! With this peanut butter chocolate cake recipe and a lifetime hashtag of #muffintop4evah.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
For the chocolate cake
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup of 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
- 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
- 2 packages of Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
For the chocolate glaze
- ½ cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
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. Frost generously with peanut butter frosting. Read here for how to frost a cake.
- Add one half of the chopped peanut butter cups on top of the frosting, pressing down into the frosting.
- Add the second layer, frost, fill with peanut butter cups.
- Add the final layer of cake, frosting the top and sides to a crumb coat.
- Chill in freezer for ten minutes to set crumb coat.
- Frost a final coat of peanut butter frosting and set aside.
Make the glaze
- 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 peanut butter frosting covered cake, using an offset spatula to gently ice the glaze to the edges of the cake for maximum dripping.
- Top the cake with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups, meringue kisses, chocolate shards or sprinkles.