Chocolate Peanut-Butter Cake

January 23, 2021 || By: Hope F

Tender, creamy, and delectably sweet are just a few adjectives that would perfectly describe this cake. This is one of my absolute favorites! Every year for my birthday (or half birthday!), my mom would ask me what type of cake I want, and every year I would drive her crazy by giving her the same answer: the chocolate peanut-butter cake. She would try to talk me out of it, but there was no persuading me. Then, in 7th grade, I met this girl named Giovanna, and we found out that we share birthday/half birthdays, AND we both love peanut-butter chocolate cakes! So suddenly, it became a tradition that on each birthday/half birthday, we would share a peanut-butter chocolate cake, and not even COVID can stop us from continuing this tradition (we are taking the necessary precautions and being safe of course). This recipe is from the book Sky High:  Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes. This makes an 8-inch, three-layer cake, but I did two 8-inch layers, and two 6-inch layers for fun.

Recipe: Prep Time – 30 minutes, Cook Time – 30/35 min

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (500 grams) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (about 65 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (235 ml) neutral vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream
  • 1 1/2 (355 ml) cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

How to make the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and butter/line three 8-inch round pans. I would recommend to butter the pans and then put parchment paper (round) on them, that way you make sure the cake comes out easily.
  2. Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl (you want to sift them so that there are no chunks/lumps in your cake) and mix them around. Then add in the oil and sour cream and mix everything thoroughly together. Note: You may be thinking – “Sour Cream, in a chocolate cake?!? Yuck!!” But believe me, I absolutely hate sour cream, and you do not taste it in the cake. It just gives the cake a nice tenderness, and you’ll adore that. After adding in the oil and sour cream, gradually add the water. Then, add the vinegar and vanilla. Lastly, mix in the eggs until everything is well combined. You may be looking at your cake batter and be thinking that it looks more like chocolate soup than chocolate cake batter, but actually, that means that you are doing everything right so far. This cake is really tender which is why it’s more watery than most.
  3. Now that you have the cake batter ready, pour it into the prepared pans. If you want to make sure that you are pouring an equal amount into the pans, get out a scale and put the pans on it. Zero it out so that it doesn’t take the weight of the pans into consideration. Then pour in the batter, set a pan aside, pour in the same amount of batter, and so on, until all your pans are evenly filled up.
  4. Once the batter is in the pans, it is ready to go in the oven. Bake it for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once the cakes are done baking, set them aside to cool for 20 minutes. Once they’re cool, flip them upside down (very gently since they’ll fall apart easily) and take off the parchment paper that’s on the bottom.

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • 8 ounces (240 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (115 grams, 4 ounces or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups (600 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup (170 grams) smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out), usually we add more peanut-butter, but it depends on your taste
  • If the frosting is too thick, you can add in some heavy cream or milk.

How to make Frosting/Assembling/frosting the cake:

  1. To make the frosting, mix the cream cheese and butter until you have a light and fluffy mixture. (Don’t worry about tasting the cream cheese, once you have the peanut-butter in there, you won’t taste it.)
  2. Then, add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time.
  3. Once the sugar is all mixed in, add the peanut-butter and mix it until its all well mixed!
  4. Your cake is now ready to frost! Note: With frosting, it is much easier to do a crumb coat, which is – frosting your cake with a thin layer of frosting, then putting it in the freezer for like 15 minutes. I didn’t do that this time because I was in a rush this morning to get it to Giovanna in the early afternoon, but most times I do a crumb coat. If you do the crumb coat, let it sit in the freezer for 15 minutes, then pull it out and put a good amount of frosting on the cake. You should frost it by putting frosting on the top of the bottom layer, then putting the next cake layer on and frosting on that layer, and so on. Then you can frost the sides and smooth everything out.
  5. Your cake is now done (if you want it to be)! Sky High does a chocolate-peanut-butter frosting drip/glaze on their cake, but I usually just top my cake with some mini Reese’s-peanut-butter cups, or doing designs with the extra peanut-butter frosting.
  6. Before serving the cake, you should let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so to have it nice and chilled.

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