It was Steve's birthday last week.
Food is my love language, so I offered to make him any birthday dessert he wanted. His request was chocolate peanut butter cake, and that is why our marriage is a winner. He asks for chocolate peanut butter cake, I happily oblige, we indulge in it for days, and everyone's happy. We ate the cake with vanilla ice cream and a rich zinfandel dessert wine (from Michael David Winery in Lodi, CA) and welcomed Steve into his mid-30's.
And because I love you, dear readers, I will share the cake with you as well.
I rarely make layered cakes. The work of putting the layers together in a way that actually lays flat, and then frosting the entire thing is usually beyond my patience level. But for this cake, it was totally worth it. The cake itself is my go-to chocolate cake (making a previous appearance here). The peanut butter frosting is smooth and a little fluffy, essentially making this the cake version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. If you find yourself in need of a good, crowd-pleasing birthday (or other celebratory event) dessert, might I suggest this?
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (cake from All Recipes, frosting from The Cake Mix Doctor)
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1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut butter frosting:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
Place peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine, add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well-combined, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff. Frost cake immediately.
Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 1 1/2 cups icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Store cake in fridge. Serve at room temperature or chilled.