Pipe Dream #53: To Take Real Pictures of the Best Thing EVER, Revisited – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Ok so I told you about this cake before. And I warned you that the description was horribly inadequate. And so it was. I hope this post clears that all up. Yes, it is a repost; no, I don’t mind in the slightest, and neither will you once you make this, eat it and die a blissfully chocolated death.

I made this cake for the students. All the British people make fun of the North Americans for loving peanut butter so much. And it is true. Ever since coming here, all anyone ever talks about is peanut butter and when they can buy another jar at Tesco’s, the small town chain grocery. We spread it on our toast; we spread it on our fruit; we spread it on our fingers so we can lick it off during lecture. We love it more than Nutella, which is the staple sweet spread. That last statement is a considerable one. Think about how good Nutella is!

Point of the story, the kitchen does not make enough with peanut butter. Actually, I don’t know that they have made anything with peanut butter. They just sit back and watch us wallow in peanut butterless misery. Obviously, given my own peanut butterless misery Messiah complex, I decided to remedy the situation with a cake that has proven to be a winner with all nations, classes, and denominations.

Enter, chocolate peanut butter cake with chocolate peanut butter glaze.

I had this sweet idea to make long rectangular layer cakes for 150 people. Despite a bit of difficulty manuevering the unintentionally super thin layers out of the cake pans without parchment paper (read: the dumbest idea of my life), the cakes came together in the end. And the frosting was even better than I remembered.



Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s version from Sky-High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes, her notes follow below, and her pictures are better than mine, as per usual :]

For the 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. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

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. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. 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. (Deb 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. Deb note 2: 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.)

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. 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.

For the peanut butter frosting:
Makes about 5 cups

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.

For the chocolate peanut butter glaze:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

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

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.


5 Responses to “Pipe Dream #53: To Take Real Pictures of the Best Thing EVER, Revisited – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake”

  1. 1 Just A Smidgen February 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I think yours turned out just lovely as well! I hear you on the parchment paper problem.. I’ve done that myself. I seem in a rush and skip that step only to regret it later:) But… all’s well that ends well and yours certainly did! xo Smidge

  2. 2 cravesadventure February 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

    YUM:) Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3 frugalfeeding February 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Your photos are truly exquisite – they always are. This recipe is also to die for, absolutely fantastic.

  1. 1 Pipe Dream #162: To Get Fibrous – Coconut Oatmeal Chewy Cookies « piping dreams Trackback on January 7, 2013 at 9:03 am
  2. 2 Pipe Dream #279: To Chop ‘Em Off – Sparkler Vehicles | piping dreams Trackback on July 1, 2014 at 9:00 am

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