Happy President’s Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend (and Valentine’s Day, if you’re into that sort of thing.) Friday marked my 5-year anniversary with M, and as usual I baked a cake for the occasion. Each year I use a brand new recipe I’ve never tried, but luckily so far all of them have been delightful. Two years ago was a chocolate raspberry layer cake, and last year was a black forest chocolate cake I haven’t added to this blog yet. Maybe I’ll do a flashback post one of these days.
This year, I wanted to hark back to the first cake I ever made: a chocolate cake, cream cheese peanut butter frosting, and chocolate ganache decadence that was amazing, albeit incredibly rich. Chocolate and peanut butter are a mutual favorite and this year I decided to reverse it in anticipation of a slightly less decadent confection. Borrowing a peanut butter cake recipe from The Daring Gourmet and pairing it with the same chocolate buttercream frosting from two years ago resulted the cake version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
The cake is moist with a fabulous peanut butter flavor, and pairs beautifully with the chocolate buttercream. I opted for just frosting and no extra filling, but for an extra kick some chopped peanut butter cups would be fabulous between the layers.
Peanut butter chips make a fun polka dot decoration that keeps with the peanut butter theme while being a contrasting color to the frosting. Bonus: they are super easy to decorate with.
Below find The Daring Gourmet’s peanut butter cake recipe with my minimal changes, followed by a reprint of my chocolate buttercream. The original cake called for baking it all in one layer and cutting the cake in half, but since I don’t have a tall enough cake pan for that I opted to divide it before baking. I actually prefer this method because there’s no cutting involved, but both ways should work equally well.
As for the frosting, I used about a tablespoon of dark cocoa and the rest regular to keep with a more traditional Reese’s pairing, but if you’re a dark chocolate kinda person, go ahead and use all dark cocoa. It will be amazing. For assembly, use your favorite method or head on over to my chocolate layer cake for my own method. Just ignore anything that mentions a filling and use peanut butter chips or another topping for some flair.
So next time you have a peanut butter fanatic to please, this cake will definitely fit the bill. Just be sure to sneak a piece for yourself.
Peanut Butter Layer Cake
Borrowed from The Daring Gourmet
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup (rounded) creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
- Line the bottoms of two 8″ (or 9″) cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pans, especially the sides.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl (or with a stand mixer), beat the oil, peanut butter, and brown sugar on medium speed until combined and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on low until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
- Starting with the dry mixture, alternately add it with the buttermilk, beat gently with each addition just until combined. Batter will be fairly thick.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and bake for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out moist but not wet.
- Cool cakes in the pan for a few minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely (about one hour).
- Wrap each layer carefully in plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour or until ready to frost.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
From Savory Sweet Life
Makes about 3 cups
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup sifted cocoa powder3
½ tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup tablespoons milk, half and half, or heavy cream
- Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
- Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa, and mix on low (unless you want a blizzard) until combined.
- Add vanilla, salt, and milk or cream and beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.
- If necessary, thin with milk/cream (1 tablespoon at a time) or stiffen with powdered sugar to desired consistency.
1 This cake is pretty beginner friendly, just be careful not to over-bake it.
2 It keeps well on the counter for a few days, just be sure to cover it with plastic wrap. (Once the frosting has set it shouldn’t stick much.
3 I used part dark and part regular, but any combination of cocoa powders will do; just make sure it all adds up to a half cup.