Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

In honor of my darling husband's birthday, I'm finally posting this long awaited recipe. Tyler, now you don't have to wait for my next visit!

I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. This cake is insanely good, and just as rich, so start with a small piece, a tall glass of milk, and invite over a lot of friends. The chocolate cake itself is the best chocolate cake I've ever had and would work in any chocolate cake recipe, or even plain without any frosting, so don't limit yourself to just this recipe! (And Ben thinks the frosting would make dog food taste good.) And now......

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 1/2 cups sugar
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
-1 cup sour cream
-1 1/2 cups water
-2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 eggs

-1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (optional - I haven't tried this yet, but I'd love to)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. (Note: I only have 9 inch cake pans, which seem to be more common, and they work just fine.)

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Note: These cakes are very, very soft. Once cool, put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes and they'll be oh-so-much easier to work with. Don't worry, they'll defrost before you want to eat them. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating.)

Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze. I like make the cake a day ahead up to this point and put it in the refrigerator over night. The next day you can put the glaze on it.

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. (Do this slowly!) Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting

-10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
-2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

-8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
-3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
-2 tablespoons light corn syrup
-1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy whipping cream

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

(Note: If you don't want to use the corn syrup, just increase the cream to 2/3 cup.)


  1. Wow Allyson that was very good and I can image its much better when you make it thanks!

  2. Allyson, I never even knew this was here. I'm mad that I could have been making this all along! Thank you very much for posting. One of the best treats I have every eaten.