I call this a Celebration cake because this is so rich and delicious that I'm pretty sure no human could handle eating this more than a couple times a year for a special occasion.
If you or someone you love enjoys pairing chocolate with peanut butter, then you must make this cake. Three layers of super moist sour cream chocolate cake, creamy peanut butter frosting, and a thick layer of gooey chocolate peanut butter ganache. Oh god my knees are weak after that description...
This cake is really pretty easy to make. Sure it has a few more steps than a boxed cake, but nothing tricky at all. The ganache topping is a very simple way to decorate, but makes a big impact. Make it for the next celebration with the peanut butter & chocolate lover in your life. Just make sure to keep a gallon or so of milk handy!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Celebration Cake
Makes one 8-inch, triple layer cake, Serves 14-18
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottoms and sides of 3 8-inch cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper, then butter the parchment.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and whisk together to combine thoroughly. Add the sour cream and oil and whisk to blend. Slowly blend in the water until smooth, then beat in the vinegar and extract. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape the sides and bottoms of the bowl to be sure everything is well incorporated and blended, then divide evenly among the prepared cake pans.
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out mostly clean. Let cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then invert onto wire racks, peel off the parchment paper and let cool completely. Freeze the cooled cakes for approximately 30-40 minutes to make them a firmer for frosting.
4. To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up on your cake stand or serving plate. Spread about 2/3 of a cup of peanut butter frosting evenly over the top, all the way to the edges. Repeat with the next layer. Place the final layer on top and using an offset spatula, frost the tops and sides with a small portion of the remaining frosting to make a thin, even layer of frosting. Chill for about 15 minutes. (This is the crumb coat. It's optional but it will make for a prettier product.) Evenly spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as much as you can. Allow to chill again for another 15-30 minutes.
5. Pour the warm chocolate glaze on the top of the chilled cake and spread just to the edges. To get the prettiest drips, gently guide portions of the glaze over the edge to create the drips. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the ganache sets.
Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 4 oz stick butter, room temperature
5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, (like Skippy or Jif)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition and frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat at medium speed until very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until well blended.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes 1 1/2 cups
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup half and half
1. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter and corn syrup. Cook, whisking frequently, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. (I found it looked a touch dull and a bit grainy at this point, but don't freak, the half and half will smooth it out.)
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half and half, mixing until smooth. Use while still warm.