Last summer, during the height of marathon training, I made a chocolate cake with peanut butter butter cream frosting that I absolutely had to have one afternoon after running something like 20 miles (basically I run, and then I bake). It was delectable. But the cake part wasn’t my favorite cake ever, so when I recently decided to have another go at it I tried a new chocolate cake recipe and was so pleased with it I had to share it here. The cool things about the cake are that it’s eggless (!), is made in one bowl, and calls for buttermilk, which I handily had in my fridge (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon white vinegar to one cup whole milk and let sit for a few minutes). I think you could easily make this vegan by swapping a non-dairy milk for the buttermilk and vegan margarine for the butter. If you do try, please report back.
Makes 1 9-inch 2-layer cake
For the cake, adapted from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 F. Butter and lightly flour two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract, and whisk together very well to combine.
Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula. Place in the oven and bake about 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool 5 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely. When cool, fill and frost with the peanut butter frosting.
For the frosting
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth, all-natural peanut butter
1 cup (or more) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, if necessary
In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and a pinch of salt and beat well to combine. Add the powdered sugar slowly, beating well to incorporate. If the frosting seems too dry, add a bit of milk. If it seems too wet, add a bit more powdered sugar until the frosting reaches your desired consistency (I like mine somewhere in between ‘firm peaks’ and ‘fluffy.).