I have a never-ending pile of cake and frosting recipes that I want to try, so it took me a while to figure out what kind of cake to make for my father’s birthday last week. After narrowing it down to a few choices, I decided to go with the always popular combination of chocolate and peanut butter (I mean, really, who doesn’t love those two flavors together?).
I started with three layers of the most incredible chocolate cake ever (seriously, this is pretty much the perfect chocolate cake – moist and delicious), filled and frosted it with a fantastic peanut butter Swiss meringue buttercream, and dressed the whole thing with a dark chocolate ganache.
I’m just going to brag for a second here, and say that this cake was amazing!
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
Rich & Dark Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup premium cocoa powder (I used Cacao Barry Plein Arôme)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour evenly into prepared pans (use a kitchen scale if you have one to ensure even layers). Batter will be liquidy.
3. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, rotating pans after 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake. Cool on cooling rack for 20 minutes, then gently turn cakes out onto racks to cool completely.
*Adapted from Sweetapolita
Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream
6 large egg whites (180 g)
1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks, 340 g) unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup peanut butter
Pinch of salt
1. Combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water, whisking constantly, until the temperature reaches 160°F (or, if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot).
2. Attach bowl to stand mixer, and whip with the whisk attachment until the mixture is thick and glossy and completely cool (until the outside of the bottom of the bowl is completely cooled off).
3. Switch to the paddle attachment, and with the mixer on medium speed, add the butter in chunks, one at a time, until incorporated. Keep mixing until it reaches a silky smooth texture. If the mixture curdles, keep on mixing it and it will smooth out again.
4. Add vanilla, peanut butter and salt, and mix until completely combined.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1. Place the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the glaze to release excess heat.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your cake on a wire rack over the baking sheet. Slowly pour about 3/4 cup of the glaze over the cake. Use a small offset spatula to smooth it out to the edges. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set the glaze. Remove from the refrigerator and slowly pour the rest of the glaze over the cake. Chill the cake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the glaze is set.
*Adapted from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Serve cake at room temperature!