baking recipe sweets The Tuesday Treat

The Tuesday Treat: Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

4 September 2012

For an explanation of The Tuesday Treat, see here.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

When we were kids, my brother’s favorite ice cream flavor was peanut-butter chocolate (I think mine was Jamoca Almond Fudge, at least for a time). It took me years to realize the genius of this combination, but once I did I was a quick convert. Maybe because I’d just hung out with him for the better part of 10 days or because I was inexplicably craving a chocolate cake last week and decided after a swim that the baking of such would be the perfect afternoon indulgence, a sweet marriage of pb + chocolate seemed exactly right.

I made a simple chocolate cake inspired by the stalwart ‘Fanny Farmer Cookbook’ (the secret to its tender crumb is the addition of ice water) and in a moment of clarity knew that I must make a peanut butter buttercream frosting to smooth across its delicate top.

This cake is rich. The frosting can only be described as ‘fluffy’ and wonderfully sweet-salty. Together, the whole package is simply ‘delightful’. Not to mention: addictive. Watch out.

Makes 2 8-inch round layers (I baked mine in 2 7-inch springform pans, froze one, and used the entire batch of frosting for one cake)

Chocolate Cake

2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup ice water

Turn oven to 350 F.

Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water; set aside to cool. Cream the butter and slowly beat in the sugars, beating until light. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well to combine. Add the chocolate and incorporate thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together, then add the butter-sugar mixture and beat well to blend. Add the 1 cup ice water and mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into the pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth, all-natural peanut butter
pinch salt
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.).

  • Kasey 4 September 2012 at 8:28 am

    Wow, wow, wow. I have to admit that for years, I really didn’t like peanut butter in my dessert but the thing that changed my mind was Poco Dolce’s peanut chocolate bar. It is seriously amazing. Now, I’m hooked on the combo and this cake looks amazing. I love that you describe the frosting as ‘fluffy.’

  • Denise | Chez Danisse 4 September 2012 at 7:13 am

    Mmm mmm. That frosting looks so good. I like the loft and the idea of salty sweet w/ the chocolate cake. Nice.