Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake for a very special birthday
Layers of chocolate buttermilk cake, covered with peanut butter frosting, topped with chocolate ganache & Reese’s peanut butter cups – need I say more?
Ok, I’ll say a little more than that.. This weekend was my Dad’s big 70th birthday, and if there was ever someone that epitomized the saying that age is just a number and not a state of mind, then he would be it – forever a kid at heart.
Figuring out what kind of cake to make him is always a bit of a struggle, he loves lollies and chocolate, but give him a rich elaborate dessert and he’ll complain it’s too sweet, go figure! Last years Spaghetti & Meatballs cake was a big success, but this year had to be extra special as well, it was after all a very special birthday. I finally settled on two of his favourite things, chocolate & peanut butter, keeping the flavours simple and pimping up the decoration. A perfect mix of salty sweet chocolately peanut butter goodness. Safe to say it was big hit with all the kids, young and old.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake
Donna Hay‘s Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
– 1 1/2 cups water
– 190g unsalted butter, chopped
– 1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
– 3 cups plain flour, sifted
– 1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda, sifted
– 3 cups caster sugar
– 3 eggs
– 3/4 cup buttermilk
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Buttercream
– 250g unsalted butter, softened
– 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (no added sugar or salt variety)
– 2 cups icing sugar
– pinch of salt
– 150g dark cooking chocolate, finely chopped
– 1/3 cup single cream
Plus Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups to decorate
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 160 degrees c. Line and grease 2 x 20cm round cake tins.
Place the water, butter and cocoa in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and cook stirring occasionally until melted. In a large bowl place the flour, bicarb soda, and caster sugar and mix to combine. Pour in the cocoa mixture and whisk until combined. Add the buttercream, eggs and vanilla and whisk again until smooth. Pour mixture into the two prepared tins, and bake for 65-70mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside in the tins to cool for 10mins, before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, place the softened butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for around 5-7mins or until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat for a further 3-5mins. Add a pinch of salt to taste and beat for another minute until well combined.
To assemble, cut the cooled cakes into two halves each (4 layers in total). Place a small dollop of buttercream on your serving plate, then place down the first layer of your cake. Spread the top with a layer of buttercream, add another layer of cake and repeat for all the layers. Next cover the whole cake (top & sides) in a layer of buttercream, you can be a little rough with this layer as you are just setting the foundations. Place the cake in the fridge for 30mins to chill.
After 30mins take the cake out of the fridge and apply your second and final layer of buttercream. Cover the whole cake thoroughly, smoothing it out as best you can whilst creating straight edges around the top and sides. Place the cake back in the fridge for another 15-30mins to chill slightly.
To make the chocolate ganache for the top of the cake, put your finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring it just to the bowl then take it off the heat immediately. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave it for 1min. Stir the ganache until it turns smooth and glossy.
To decorate the cake, pour the ganache over the top of the cake. Use a spatula to gently spread the ganache out to the edges of the cake, pushing it a little further over the edge in a few places around the cake so that it dribbles just down the sides a little. Unwrap the Reese’s mini peanut butter cups and cut some in half. Place a large mound on top of the cake, piling up as many as you can. Set the cake aside for around a 30mins or until the ganache has set. Serve at room temperature.