Baking / Dessert

Extreme Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Dark Chocolate Ganache

I have a crazy, and I mean CRAZY good cake to share. And it is definitely extreme. A mean, a sliver of this cake goes a long way. But that doesn’t stop me.

I made this in honor of my brother’s 13th birthday, and he pretty much flipped out and has been eating a slice a day. Healthy, no, but super delicious, yes. This cake combines my two personal favorite flavors: peanut butter, and chocolate. The cake itself has a fine crumb, and is light and fluffy, but rich in deep chocolate flavor with a hint of espresso. The sweet peanut butter frosting complements it beautifully, with the addition of cream cheese. The chocolate ganache, which you can make perfectly in the microwave (hello, easy), creates a beautiful glossy finish to the exterior of the cake and makes it taste even more like a peanut butter cup (not like Reese’s though, like the delicious dark chocolate ones from Trader Joe’s).

I urge you to find an occasion to make this cake for. Chocolate and peanut butter lovers, this is screaming, and I mean screaming, your name. I hope you guys enjoy drooling at the pictures on your screen, because I know I might have drooled a bit when I was snapping away pictures of this cake. 🙂
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Extreme Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 two layer (or in my case 3) cake

Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake
Makes two layers
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola oil, or melted coconut oil)
2 large eggs, at room temperature (CRUCIAL)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed strong hot coffee

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter & flour two 9 inch round cake pans, or use non-stick spray.
  2.  Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer, combine the buttermilk, oil, room temperature eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee. The batter will be VERY thin. This is ok.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting with Peanut Butter Frosting.

*Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own buttermilk at home by measuring 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in a measuring glass. Add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) in the same measuring glass to reach 1 cup. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. Then it will be ready to use!

Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used 8 ounces of whipped cream cheese and it worked perfectly!)
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I reduced sugar to 4 cups and it was still very sweet!)
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

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. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended. When cakes are cooled, frost each layer with frosting as well as the top and outside.

Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from Averie Cooks 

9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)
3/4 cup cream or half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside. In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream (I used half-and-half) on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 60 to 75 seconds. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it stand about 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety. Add vanilla or optional flavorings and stir to combine. Set bowl aside for about 10 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit. Whisk mixture briefly before pouring all of it over the cake. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache with a spatula or offset knife.

Now, this is optional, but I did it: sprinkle about 1/2 a cup of chopped dark chocolate peanut butter cups on top of your cake. Serve with milk, or maybe some vanilla ice cream. That would be the bomb.





4 thoughts on “Extreme Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Dark Chocolate Ganache

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