It took me a year to make this cake.
Not literally. I don't mean I started baking last August and have only just finished frosting the damn thing; I mean I first saw this cake a year ago, and have been lusting after it ever since. You want to know how few excuses there are in everyday life to whip out a triple-layer chocolate peanut butter cake? You need a crowd of about five thousand people for a start, several hours of free time, a non-student budget, and possibly a home gym (I'm just sayin').
I have none of these things, but after a year of chocolatey longing I'd kind of reached tipping point.
Just in case you're not there yet (and I know these photos aren't great, and I'm pretty bummed over it. Serves me right, holding photoshoots the-morning-after), let me make a few things clear.
This peanut butter frosting? I would sell my firstborn for it.
...I actually loathe children, so maybe that isn't the most persuasive argument.
I would trade my gold sparkly Kurt Geiger high heels for it. -No, I wouldn't. They're awesome. I've worn those shoes 13 hours straight (don't ask) without so much as a toe aching. That's your shoe recommendation for today, faithful readers.
I would eat the entire batch single handedly until I collapsed in a sugar-high stupor...?
That sounds more like it.
Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes (via Smitten Kitchen)
Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake
I had something of a battle with the cake part of this, which I found to have an uncommonly liquid-y batter which ran out of all my loose-bottomed cake tins. Quite aside from having to scrape cake mixture off the bottom of my oven, this meant my layers were quite thin. I also had to cook it for longer than the recipe said; I think I probably made a measuring mistake, to be honest, since none of the commenters on Smitten Kitchen seem to have had this problem. But bear this in mind and use a tin without a loose bottom, perhaps? It's wonderfully dark and moist and most importantly, doesn't overpower the frosting, but I'd still consider using a different chocolate cake recipe in future.
See, the real star here is the peanut butter frosting. Don't let the cream cheese freak you out, it is GODLY. Put it on cupcakes. Put it on toast. Rub it all over your face.
Now, go forth!
For the cake:
280g (2 cups) plain flour
440g (2 1/2 cups) sugar - I think I was a little stingy with this
90g (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
240ml (1 cup) neutral vegetable oil
240ml (1 cup) sour cream
360ml (1 1/2 cups) water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
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. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. 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.
4. When ready to frost the cake, put in the freezer for about an hour first so it's manouverable, or else your layers will break up - trust me! Place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter 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.
5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, 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.
For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
Makes about 5 cups
280g (10oz) cream cheese, at room temp
120g (1 stick) butter, at room temp
500-600g (4-5 cups) icing sugar, sifted - the original recipe uses 5c., I definitely used less but can't remember exactly how much. Add to taste.
160ml (2/3 cup) smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)
OR: skip the cream cheese and use 1 1/2 c. peanut butter
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
For the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
225g (8 oz) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped - I used half milk/dark as a rough equivalent to American 'semisweet'
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
120ml (1/2 cup) single cream
1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, beating until smooth. Use while still slightly warm.