January 18, 2011

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake

Short Version of Why You Must Eat This Cake: (Reverse) Reese's Cup in Cake Form: Chocolate Cake. Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache.

Not-As-Succinct Version: The cake is the most moist, fluffy chocolate cake I've tasted. Scratch cakes tend to be dry and heavy, but this is so the succulent polar opposite that it going to be my go-to chocolate cake now that I am a baking elitist who cake taste slight chemical-y taste in box mix. 

Rich and peanut-buttery, the icing makes the cake, and the ganache provides a chocolate seal with a pretty flair.  I accidentally bought fat-free half-and-half for the ganache, so mine was a lighter and less photogenic, tasty nonetheless layer. It also conveniently left drippings at the bottom of the cake to taste test.

Now, this cake is super rich, but there's no need to worry that it will go to waste, assuming you have friends who appreciate splurging on a dessert of this caliber. If in doubt, send four college girlfriends to a cabin in the woods for a long weekend, and it will promptly be consumed, first cut in nice, neat pieces and then directly attacked with forks to salivate each crumb. (Clarification: said girlfriends did give away a few pieces before retreating and managed to hike and lift logs between cake attacks.)

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

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.

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.

5. Pour Chocolate–Peanut Butter 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.

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.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

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

1. In the top of d 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.


  1. OMGoodness!!!!!!! This looks amazing! I have a feeling I just make plans for tonight!


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