chocolate peanut butter birthday cake

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One of my best friends, Jordan, goes to school in Virginia and is working there for the summer, so I don’t see him nearly as much as I’d like. His birthday was this weekend, and for the past few weeks, I had been brainstorming ideas for resilient baked goods that would withstand the postal journey down the east coast.

But last week, I received the happy news that he was coming home for his birthday! Naturally, I had to go all out and bake for such a rare and momentous occasion.

One of the items on my bucket list fit the occasion perfectly: to bake a big, beautiful, towering, culinary masterpiece of a layer cake. It was daunting, but I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the dawn of Jordan’s roaring twenties.

The last time I asked him for requests, his response was “something peanut butter.” This time, I received full artistic liberty: “You’re the baker queen. Anything you make will be scrumptious.”

This chocolate peanut butter ganache cake turned out to be perfect–so incredibly rich, moist, and decadent.

If you know a chocolate-and-peanut-butter lover, you must make this cake.

Here’s how to do it:

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Cast of characters

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Add the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, and vegetable oil to a large mixing bowl.

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Crack some eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients.

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Mix until combined into a rich chocolatey batter…

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…at which point you’ll make it even chocolatey-er by adding mini chocolate chips.

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Whip up some peanut butter buttercream frosting…

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Assemble a layer of cake, peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache, and repeat.

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Add a beautiful crumb coat.

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Drip on some silky ganache.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and The Diva Dish

I must confess that this is a doctored-up cake mix. I was a little bit overwhelmed with the prospect of tackling the mighty layer cake, but I promise that it still tastes unbelievable.

Chocolate Cake
1 box Devils Food cake mix
1 3.9 ounce box chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 bag mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper and grease the paper.

2. Add ingredients into mixing bowl and beat until combined, about less than a minute. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. 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. (Note: These cakes may become a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread peanut butter frosting evenly over the top,  then add about 1/4 cup or so of ganache to coat top of frosting. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

*Note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating.

*Note 2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate Ganache.

5. To decorate with the Chocolate Ganache, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. You might need to reheat the ganache to make it more viscous. Simply pour the rest of the ganache over the top of the cake, and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3-5 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat butter and peanut butter until creamy. Add about 3 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons whipping cream and beat until combined and creamy. Add more whipping cream to reach desired consistency. If you think it could use more powdered sugar, go ahead and add it, but you might have to increase the whipping cream.

You might need to double the recipe depending on your frosting to cake ratio preference! I one and a halved it.

Chocolate Ganache
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Over a double broiler or in a microwave, melt chocolate and cream until combined and creamy. Set aside for about an hour.

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Herein ends my FIRST EVER RECIPE POST!!! AHHH

I wanted to express my excitement so very much at the beginning, but I thought I should play it cool on my first post. First impressions are important. I’ve been holding back, but I just have to say…

THAT.

WAS.

AWESOME!!!

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did baking and writing it :) Many more to come.

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About Bianca

I'm a 20-something optometry student, juggling my aspirations to become a doctor with my passions for food, traveling, and life. You'll find a little bit of each on this blog!
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8 Responses to chocolate peanut butter birthday cake

  1. Abby says:

    As you said, THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!

    It looks soooooo delicious. Good work :)
    I’m glad you decided on that cake nom nom nom nom.

    And I really love Jordan’s Burberry polo. haha :)

    And your yellow dress.

  2. This looks great! I am dreaming of a piece right now :)

  3. Pingback: happy birthday, jordan! | Sweet Dreaming

  4. Pingback: peanut butter truffles | Sweet Dreaming

  5. Pingback: another birthday! {a year gone by} | Sweet Dreaming

  6. Pingback: death by chocolate mousse cake (vegan) | sweet dreaming

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