On my way home from work on Thursday the call of the baking muses just kept getting stronger so I caved. gave in. gave up. relented. I bought peanut butter, sour cream, cream cheese and milk. and then I made this absurd, amazing, delicious thing – which is hopefully just the first in a long line of birthday cakes for no reason (although we did throw a fake-surprise fake-birthday party for my dear unsuspecting beau as he was the last one home, not to mention he loves chocolate and peanut butter):
Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake
**note: Mine is a 9″ double layer cake with enough batter leftover for 6 cupcakes that completely didn’t work because I couldn’t get them out of the pans, if you want to make cupcakes out of this recipe – use cupcake papers/foils!**
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 c. melted buter
1/2 c. oil (such as canola or other neutral tasting vegetable oil)
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (for topping at the very last minute)
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 or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend (here your batter will look like a grainy, thick mess). Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. 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. And WATCH OUT these cakes are so so tender it can be very difficult to remove them from the pans especially if a. you are impatient and b. you failed to listen to the parchment paper recommendation. After removing them you will find it much easier to frost them if you freeze them for 20-30 minutes (thanks smittenkitchen for the tip!)
Now, while they’re freezing, you can make the frosting:
– 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
– 1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (if, like me, you are too lazy to do this step, you will find yourself whisking until your arm is numb to smooth the frosting – if you have a kitchenaid then I probably wouldn’t bother sifting as it will do the extra work for you)
– 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably the most bad for you standard JIF/Peter Pan/Whatever is cheapest you can find because it’s creamiest (oil separation is NOT your friend here)
1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat until light and fluffy.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
Ok, time to put this thing together:
1. Place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
2. Put the whole shebang in the fridge (or freezer if you like) while you make the chocolate glaze. This will allow the cake to firm up before it has hot liquid poured all over it.
So, without further ado, let’s make that chocolate glaze:
8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (I skipped this)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half (and used sour cream instead of this – you already have sour cream from the cake batter and why buy more ingredients than you need to? If you already have half and half, go for it; the sour cream will give it a distinct taste which I kind of liked with the cake, and you may not)
1. combine the chocolate, corn syrup and peanut butter if you’re using it in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between rounds, until smooth and melty. (you can also do this in a double boiler if you like doing dishes more than I do)
2. Take out of the microwave and stir in sour cream/half and half until consistency is like a thick pancake batter.
annd finally, the finishing touches:
1. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and 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 (or as long as you can stand, I had some straight out of the fridge for breakfast this morning and it was fudgy and delicious).
2. Sprinkle chopped Peanut Brittle on top.