Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

My husband is a chocolate peanut butter addict. So I knew that I really had to come correct for his birthday. After much researching, I decided on a sour cream chocolate cake, with peanut butter frosting, topped with a dramatic chocolate peanut butter glaze.

This cake is very rich, but really, really amazing. I was afraid that the flavors would be overwhelming, but everyone seemed to agree that this was not the case. I regret that I do not have pictures of this cake, however smitten kitchen does have pictures of it. Mine looked virtually the same, except that my glaze was a bit thinner, and my cake was MUCH taller. I'm not sure why on either count, but seriously my cake was towering, and carrying it to his birthday dinner, the thing had to weigh 20 lbs. Or at least it felt like it.

The recipe calls for 8" pans, but I used 9" pans and clearly did not have any issues with it. I would definitely make this cake again, and I'm pretty sure my husband would be on board with that as well.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake


For the cake:
2 c all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c vegetable oil
1 c sour cream
1 1/2 c water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the frosting:
10 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 c confectioners’ sugar
2/3 c smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

For the glaze:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottoms and sides of three 9" cake pans. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking to blend. Add in the oil and sour cream. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Divide among the 3 cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Place the cakes in the freezer to let them firm up and make them easier to work with -- about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your frosting. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually, 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. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

To frost the cake, place your bottom layer on your cake stand. Spread a thick layer of icing, and repeat with the next layer. Now I do a crumb coat pretty much every time I frost a cake, but in particular, it is a good idea with this recipe because the cake is darker than your frosting, and this is a pretty soft cake. Coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting (don't worry about crumbs or the cake peeking through), then stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so until it firms up. Take the cake out and frost with a thicker layer of frosting, and stick it back in the fridge.

Time to make your glaze. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water (I did this in a small saucepan over LOW heat, although this frowned upon), combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly as it melts, until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth.

While the glaze is still warm, take your cake out of the fridge. Slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake. I used a rubber spatula to gently guide it toward the edges for that cool drip effect down the sides. Don't use too much pressure, or you will start to pick up pieces of your melting frosting. And be careful not to pour too much too quickly, because it can make a serious mess out of your cake stand. I speak from experience. Then get this bad boy back into the fridge and let everything firm up. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving, and make sure you have lots of cold milk on hand. :)

Source: adapted from smitten kitchen, original recipe from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

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