Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
As promised in last week’s Peanut Butter Truffles blog, today is all about the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake I made for my friend Jessica’s birthday. The cake started to take shape when I was on the Food & Wine website and an article about Gale Gand’s Brooklyn Blackout Cake caught my attention (no surprise there!).
The recipe intrigued me because it calls for two cake layers to be split in half and one of those halves is then processed and used to apply as a crumb coating over the custard filling and frosting. The custard is beyond dark with 1½ cups of cocoa. I decided to give it a try.
I loved the cake and yes, you are reading correctly that there is ¼ cup of vegetable shortening in it. Fortunately, the other ingredients add the flavor because the vegetable shortening contributes so nicely to the texture.
The cake is where my love of the Brooklyn Blackout Cake ended. The custard did not set (could have been my fault) but I did follow the directions. I also thought the taste of the custard was bitter. When I served the cake to friends at a lunch, the consensus was that the cake is a winner and the custard is not worth playing with.
Which brings me back to the cake for Jessica, as both baking projects took place in the same week. I decided to bake the same chocolate cake that was so light, moist and delicious and combine it with my own peanut butter frosting. I had Dark Callebaut Crispearls, little tiny chocolate pearls with a crunchy biscuit inside, in my pantry so I decided to put them in the cake.
The end result was a chocolate cake filled with peanut butter frosting and Callebaut Crispearls (that are optional,) enrobed in more of the peanut butter frosting.
One thing I do not do often is put writing on cakes. Years ago, I taught myself how to write using a calligraphy pen, but as a general rule, my handwriting is atrocious. Because this cake was for a celebration, I broke down and wrote, “Happy Birthday Jessica” on it and put two Peanut Butter Truffles on top for effect.
I showed Shoshana the cake just before I left the house, not really thinking much about it. The next day, Shoshana pulled out a bag of the pieces of chocolate cake and asked what they were from. I told Shoshana that I had leveled off of the layers before frosting the cake the day before. Shoshana said, “You mean you made that cake? I thought Jennifer had.”
The Jennifer to whom Shoshana was referring to is Jennifer Reed, the most amazing pastry chef I know. I beamed from ear to ear because quite frankly, Shoshana could not have paid me a higher compliment. It did not really look like one of Jennifer’s cakes, but I will take that comparison any day of the week!
|Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting|| || |
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2¼ cups cake flour
- 1 cup milk
- 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¾ cups creamy peanut butter
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2½ tablespoons Callebaut Crispearls Dark (optional)
- For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 – 9” cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place butter, shortening and sugar into large mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add eggs, one at a time. Blend in vanilla, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add ½ of the flour. With the mixer running on low speed, mix in milk. Add remaining flour.
- Divide evenly between two cake pans. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool on cooling racks for 10 minutes. Flip pans out onto another cooling rack and then invert cakes to cool completely on a rack.
- For the frosting:
- Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and cream in large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until ingredients are blended together. Increase speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping bowl down as needed.
- Reserve ½ cup frosting to pipe stars and/or swirls around edges of finished cake. Cut a corner off a quart size freezer bag and insert star tip (I used #21.) Set aside.
- To assemble cake:
- Level off cake halves using a serrated knife. Place cake layer, trimmed side down, on a serving plate. Spread 1¼ cups frosting over top. If using Callebaut Crispearls, place them over filling and gently press the pearls in slightly so they stay in place. Transfer second cake layer, trimmed side down, onto filling. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.
- Pipe either swirls and/or stars around top and bottom edges of cake.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- Refrigerate cake for awhile before frosting because it is easier to frost a cold cake.
- Put a dab of frosting onto serving plate before placing bottom half of cake on it. This helps prevent cake from slipping off plate.
- Store cake in refrigerator but allow cake to come back up to room temperature before serving.
- If you want to take your Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting over the top, arrange Peanut Butter Truffles around the top edge.