Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Cake
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...
I'm a bit late as I actually turned 27 six days ago, but this cake was simply too phenomenal not to blog. It was by far the richest, most decadent cake I've made since I shunned the boxed mixes for cakes from scratch. And seeing as how I've made cakes for several (7) friends and family members this year, I figured I may as well go all out for myself.
There are certain flavors and combinations I am always drawn to: marshmallow and chocolate, caramel and graham crackers, and of course, peanut butter and chocolate. I considered a drizzle of caramel over this cake, but ultimately decided to leave well enough alone. It certainly didn't disappoint!
So far, 27 is sweet.
For the cake, you will need:
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
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
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 2 prepared cake pans.
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.
For the frosting, you will need:
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, (commercial, not "natural" PB is best - I used Jif)
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered 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. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
For the glaze, you will need:
8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
In the top of a 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 well combined.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.
I cut one of my layers in half - you can skip that, or cut them both in half (though you may want to double the frosting if you cut them both into two layers).
Place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread the PB 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. This should be a thin "crumb coat" to seal in the dark crumbs against the light frosting. Refrigerate the cake for thirty minutes to an hour, then frost completely with a thick layer of frosting.
To achieve the drip-glaze, start by pouring the mixture over the top center of the cake (freezing the frosted cake for at least an hour before topping with the warm glaze will help). Using an offset spatula, spread the glaze over the top of the cake and let it drip slowly over the sides.
Adapted ever so slightly from Smitten Kitchen.