Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Happy post-Easter Monday!  Whether or not you celebrate the holiday, today, post-Easter Monday, is a very special day.  Skeptical?  Head on over to your local pharmacy.  See all that Easter candy?  See it, in all its pastel-wrappered glory?  It's yours, on the cheap.  Peanut butter egg discount, people!  Let's take advantage.  Let's buy them up, and let's make a chocolate peanut butter cake. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

for the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
for the frosting:
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups, to decorate
To make the cake, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla.
In a third bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy (I use a stand mixer for this step).  Add the egg and mix vigorously until combined.  Add half of the dry team (flour, cocoa, etc.) to the butter/sugar/egg bowl, and mix gently until incorporated.  Then add the wet team (buttermilk/vanilla), mixing until just combined.  Finally, add the rest of the dry team and mix the batter gently, until all ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until the cake has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Cool the cake completely before cutting it in half, horizontally, and frosting.  (For a nice cake cutting/frosting tutorial, check out this video from Zoe Bakes).
To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add the peanut butter and mix to combine.  Add the confectioner’s sugar and salt and mix, starting slowly, until completely smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.
When you’re ready to frost the cake, cut it in half horizontally, so you’re left with two rounds of cake of even thickness.  Place one cake round on either a cake wheel or your serving platter (if you’re going to frost the cake right on your serving platter, place little pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake, so you can easily pull them out after frosting and be left with a clean platter) and top with an even layer of peanut butter frosting.  Place the second cake round atop the first, and, starting from the top and working your way down the sides, frost the double layer cake until you have a nice, even, smoothly frosted cake.  Decorate with Reese’s peanut butter cups and enjoy!  The cake is best eaten as soon as possible after frosting, but will keep for a few days, well wrapped or in the refrigerator.
Makes one double-layer 8-inch cake.

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