Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

I’m in a play! I’ve been cast as Agnes in Edward Allbee’s A Delicate Balance. I haven’t been on the stage since 2003, so I’m a little rusty, but I’m loving every second of it. This tiny community theater is just down the road from me. A few nights a week I pack up my script, my pencil and highlighter, and a bottle of water, gently remove my pleading children off of my legs, and then I’m off. I walk 10 minutes in the balmy October night to play make believe for 2 hours. I come home exhausted, a little wired, and feeling very satisfied. I cannot think about performances just yet, or panic will begin to set in. I can, however, be grateful for every little magic moment we have during rehearsals, and every time I remember another line, and for how exciting and fun it is to pretend to be someone else again. I’d forgotten all of that.  Hey, look… I made a peanut butter chocolate cake!

Just like a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, this peanut butter chocolate cake does not disappoint.  I got the recipe from a few different sources. The chocolate cake is from Tessa Huff’s beautiful, and helpful cake book Layered. The peanut butter buttercream, and chocolate ganache came from the awesome baking blog Brown Eyed Baker. Here’s how I put it together…

First I frosted one of the leveled cake layers with a cups worth of buttercream. I then sprinkled chopped Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups all around.

Next, I placed the second leveled layer on top, and crumb coated the entire cake. I then refrigerated the cake for 30 minutes, so as to set the buttercream.

After I frosted the cake in a second coat of peanut butter buttercream, and refrigerated it once again for an hour, I poured luscious chocolate ganache over top. Because I made this cake in two 8-inch round tins I had enough ganache to cover the entire cake. For more information on how to make ganache click here.

I refrigerated the cake once again so as to set the ganache. I decorated the cake with a star tip using the remaining buttercream. Finally, I sprinkled on some more chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
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For the chocolate cake
  1. 2 and ½ cups (315 g) All-Purpose Flour
  2. 1 cup (95 g) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  3. 2 and ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  4. 1 tsp. Salt
  5. ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  6. ½ cup plus 2 TBS (150 ml) Grapeseed Oil
  7. 2 cups (400 g) Sugar
  8. 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  9. 1 Large Egg Yolk, at room temperature
  10. 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  11. ½ tsp. Almond Extract
  12. 1 and ½ cups (360 ml) Whole Milk, at room temperature
  13. 1 cup (240 ml) Hot Brewed Coffee
For the peanut butter buttercream
  1. 2 cups (225 g) Powdered Sugar, sifted
  2. 2 cups (500 g) Creamy Peanut Butter
  3. 10 TBS (142 g) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  4. 1 and ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  5. ½ tsp. Salt
  6. 2/3 cup Heavy Cream, at room temperature
For the chocolate ganache
  1. 8 oz. Semisweet Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  2. ¾ cup Heavy Cream
For assembly
  1. 10 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
To make the chocolate cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, line with parchment, and then grease the parchment. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl connected to a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed beat in the eggs, and egg yolk, one at a time. Finally, mix in the almond and vanilla extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the flour mixture and milk in batches, and alternating between the two. Be sure to begin and end with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  5. Finally, while the mixer is on low, slowly add the hot coffee. Mix until combined, about 30 seconds.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the peanut butter buttercream
  1. In a bowl connected a standing mixer and fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter, butter, vanilla extract, salt, and heavy cream until smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Beat in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Mix until buttercream is light and smooth.
To assemble
  1. Level each cake layer if need be. Place one layer on a 10-inch cardboard cutout that has been placed on your serving platter. Smooth on 1 cup of the peanut butter buttercream. Sprinkle some Reese’s bits over top. Place the second cake layer on top making sure it’s even all around. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Finally, frost the entire cake with the buttercream (leave about a cups worth of buttercream for decoration later), and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up until the ganache will be poured on top.
To make the chocolate ganache
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized bowl preferably with a spout. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil (it should start to rise up the sides of the saucepan). Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate making sure that every piece is covered. Set aside for 3 minutes. Slowly stir the cream until it becomes glossy and smooth. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. When ready to use, the ganache should be a little warm, and still pourable.
To finish
  1. Pour the ganache around the top of the cake, allowing it to run off the sides. Use an offset spatula to smooth it over, and cover the sides completely with the ganache. Sprinkle some chopped Reese’s bits around the top of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Finally, with the remaining buttercream, and using a star tip, pipe out decoration around the top perimeter of the cake. Keep the cake refrigerated until 30 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!
Special equipment needed
  1. Two 8-inch round cake pans
  2. Standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment
  3. Parchment paper
  4. Wire rack
  5. Saucepan
  6. Decorating bag (optional)
  7. Star tip
  8. Offset spatula
  9. Turnable cake stand
  10. 10-inch round cardboard cutout
Project Pastry Love http://www.projectpastrylove.com/
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