Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Cheers to taste testing!
There are few pairings more perfect than peanut butter and chocolate, especially in the world of desserts and baked goods. I feel like peanut butter and chocolate are always a good choice, always a crowd pleaser. So, what better way to commemorate my first post about baking than writing about this oh-so-delicious partnership. I found this particular recipe a couple of months ago while watching the Food Network. The delightful Barefoot Contessa made these cupcakes, but I decided to adapt the quantities for a two layer cake with LOTS of frosting.

Sidenote: I much prefer baking cakes to cupcakes. To me, cupcakes are unpredictable because there are so many of them. Some turn out small, some too big. Then you have to frost them each individually, which is somewhat annoying and time-consuming. But cake is consistent and reliable, and I'm a sucker for reliability. It is also far less tedious and quicker (except for my first cake…but that’s a story all it’s own). And most important: cake is so much easier to transport than a million little cupcakes. I just hate it when frosting sticks to the sides of a container! What a waste!

Back to this particular cake…I made this cake for a potluck hosted by my friend Chanel and her boyfriend Ian. They just got back from Peru last week and had friends over to hear about their trip, look at pictures, and eat delicious food. It turned out to be a much smaller group than we expected, but the cake was loved all the same. I also made two cupcakes for my roommate Pam and I to taste test (ironic since I just told all of you how I don’t like cupcakes so much).

Before you go off and bake this cake, please note that I increased the original recipe for the cake batter by 1/3. (Thank goodness for Pam, the math teacher roommate, helping me to determine the appropriate measurements). Therefore, some of my measurements are funky, like for the sugar (really, 9/10 of a cup?). I know baking is more scientific so the ratios are important, but I don't think estimating some of these created any problems.

Anyway, this cake is super moist and incredibly delicious. I loaded on the frosting so you instantly taste all the peanut butter, but get a nice chocolate aftertaste. The little bit of coffee in the batter really enhances the chocolate flavor nicely as well. I think I discovered my favorite chocolate cake. Mmm. ENJOY!

Chocolate Cake
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Slightly less than 1 cup (9/10 cup) granulated sugar
Slightly less than 1 cup (9/10 cup) light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
3 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of two 8” or 9” round cake pans with parchment paper. I love using parchment paper because it makes removing the cake a breeze!

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well.

Butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla creamed together.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. Make sure that the buttermilk and sour cream are at room temperature so that the hot coffee doesn't curdle the cold, creamy ingredients.

Buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee whisked together with my pretty purple whisk.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended. 

Sifting the dry ingredients together.

Delicious chocolate cake batter!
Divide the batter among the cake pans (about 3½-4 cups of batter per pan). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, remove parchment paper, and allow to cool completely before frosting. 

One completed layer. :)

Peanut Butter Frosting
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cups heavy cream
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. If your confectioners' sugar is super lumpy, make sure to remove the lumps before incorporating the other ingredients. A few tiny lumps aren't bad, but it does affect the overall texture of the frosting. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work.

Creaming the first five ingredients together.

Add the heavy cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

After slowly adding in the heavy cream.

Apply liberal amounts of frosting all over the cakes. :)

The most important part of frosting a layer cake: the filling!!

A very well frosted cake (with assistance/coaching from Pam).

Share with friends and make sure you’ve got a glass of milk nearby!

The cake after the potluck--I also left a chunk with Chanel and Ian.
 Thanks for stopping by!!!

<3 Buttercup


  1. That looks so good cuz. I guess that good bakers run in the family!! miss you

  2. Megan, I'm so proud to be a part of your first post with a recipe! This cake was amazing and wonderfully moist and peanut-buttery! Thank you so much for bringing it and congrats on the start of your new blog!


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