I'm a huge fan of the beloved Smitten Kitchen, and while I await for Deb's book I've been testing out handfuls of her recipes and have yet to be disappointed- I mean, she's amazing, how could she disappoint!
Anyways, from the first time I wandered to her blog, and thank heaven I did, I fell in love with this particular cake recipe and knew that I just had to make it for my dad for his birthday (you have to know that I found this recipe back in October...it's now July...yeah, that's how long my kitchen aid and I have anxiously awaited this cake). In addition to our love of running, my dad and I both have a soft spot, an enormous soft spot for sweets, especially those of the chocolate peanut butter kind :)
And boy, was this cake a hit. Although I must warn you, my family and I were a little over ambitious with our slices the first night and were in food comas for the next three hours but it was so worth it- we just slimmed down the slices the next night. This masterpiece really is everything you look for in a cake: rich and chocolately but still light, extremely moist, and the frosting/ganache on top are to die for. In fact that's the reason this post is kind of late, the cake was my visit to food heaven for a few days...
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups room temperature water
2 tbs. white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350F (if your oven has a cakes setting use it! it makes them cook very evenly which is important when making a layer cake). Butter three 8 in. circular cake pans and then place circular cut outs of parchment paper on top, butter these as well as it will make for easy, damage-free, removal of the cakes later on.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into the base mixing bowl of your kitchen aid (or any large bowl). Whisk in the oil and soil cream. Turn the mixer on low to incorporate after whisking (this step eliminates a flour storm exploding out of the mixer...) then gradually add in the water followed by the vinegar and vanilla and then finally the eggs. Before pouring into the pans, make sure the sides of the bowl have been scraped down and the batter is all the same consistency. *it will be a bit runny, no worries!
Pour equal amounts of batter among the three pans (about 2 2/3 cups each) and bake for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. *Before frosting, I put them in the freezer like Deb from Smitten Kitchen did, the trick worked great as it's a very moist cake
To assemble cake, layer each tier with about 2/3 cup of peanut butter frosting, below. Also, instead of doing just one coat of thick frosting around the entire assembled cake, do a very thin crumb layer (this way there will be no specks of cake in your final product). This is a very thin layer, not even 1/4 and inch thick, and allow it to set in the fridge before topping it off with the rest of the frosting.
After frosting, place cake in the fridge to set while you make the chocolate peanut butter ganache, also below. After completing the ganache, spoon on top of the cake and allow to drizzle down the sides in hearty globs. Enjoy!
Peanut Butter Frosting:
10 oz. cream cheese (about 1 1/4 blocks) at room temp
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temp
5 cups confectioners sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural! the oil will separate out)
In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until extremely light and fluffy. Adding the sugar in 1 cup at a time, beat for about one minute after each addition to ensure a smooth and light frosting. Finally, add in the peanut butter and beat until all blended.
Chocolate & peanut butter glaze:
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tbs. smooth peanut butter (not natural! the oil separates too much)
In a heat proof bowl over simmering water (or under an extremely watchful eye in the microwave) slowly melt the butter and peanut butter until smooth, stirring constantly.