This is one of my favorite cakes; it’s simple and easy and delicious. It’s the best all-around chocolate cake recipe I’ve found. I made it for a friend and was going to take new pictures instead of using the ones I had on file, but I forgot that you have to use parchment with this cake or it’s difficult to get it out of the pan. Plus, I took it out a little too soon, so it stuck to the pan. Needless to say, the cake was delicious, but ugly, so I’m using the pretty picture I already had.
I’ve combined the cake with a couple of frosting recipes that I like. The whipped ganache is about the best thing ever, with a subtle peanut butter flavor in the chocolate. The peanut butter buttercream is really rich and really sweet, so I recommend only using it in between the layers. Using it on the whole cake makes it too sweet.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons espresso powder
63g or ¾ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted
160g or 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
400g or 2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
226g or 1 cup buttermilk
112g or ½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine water and espresso powder in a measuring cup. Combine with cocoa in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet to combine. Slowly add the chocolate just until combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then unmold and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache
Adapted from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes
114g or 4 oz dark chocolate chopped
64g or ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup heavy cream, cold
¼ teaspoon vanilla
Heat chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water until almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted. Whisk in peanut butter. Stirring with whisk add cream and vanilla until smooth. It should be about 60 degrees. If it’s warmer, refrigerate until it cools enough. Whisk for a few seconds until soft peaks.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
From Martha Stewart
171g or 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
90g or ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
Fine salt (optional)
Cream peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed. On low speed, mix in sugar until combined, then beat mixture on high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste, if desired. Use immediately.
To assemble the cake:
Spread the peanut butter buttercream on the top of one layer. Place the other layer on top. Frost with the ganache.