Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

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I always get excited about the opportunity to make a cake. A whole cake is too much for just Mark and me – so when a cake-making occasion comes up, I like to jump at the chance. I made this one to celebrate a friend’s birthday over the weekend. It takes a little bit of work, but it’s absolutely awesome.

Layers of fudgy cake, covered with creamy peanut butter frosting and topped off with a chocolate-peanut butter ganache. So amazing – and obviously a crowd pleaser.

Happy Birthday, Drew! Hope you’re enjoying the leftovers!

Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
(from Smells Like Home)

For the cake:

2 c. flour
2 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. water
2 T. distilled white vinegar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the frosting:

2 c. creamy peanut butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. + 2 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3/4 t. salt
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

For the ganache:

8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
3 T. smooth peanut butter
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 c. half and half

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease three 8″ round pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Whisk to make sure they’re well combined. Whisk in the vegetable oil and sour cream. Slowly beat in the water. Stir in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter between the three prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, on the same oven rack if possible - without the pans touching. Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes before removing to cooling racks to cool completely.

Once the cakes are cool, make the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the peanut butter and butter. Sift the sugar into the bowl, then add the vanilla and salt.  Starting on low, beat together until light and fluffy, scraping the sides as needed. Beat in the heavy cream.

Place one layer, flat side up, on a serving plate. Spread 2/3 c. of the frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and crumb coat the top and sides. Refrigerate the cake for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remaining frosting to make a final coating. Let chill again until firm.

Once the frosting is firm, make the ganache: In a double boiler, combine the chocolate, peanut butter and corn syrup. Whisk continuously until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the half and half, beating until smooth.

Poor the ganache over the top of the cake, letting it spread evenly over the top and just beginning to drip down the sides. Refrigerated, uncovered, until the ganache has set – at least 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to let ganache soften for cutting.

Linked up with Ingredient Spotlight: Chocolate at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.


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