Peanut butter and chocolate are a pretty ideal combination. I saw this recipe right after I had texted a friend to see if they wanted to get together that evening, but didn’t hear back right away. During the lull I offered an alternative to my husband — if the friends were busy, maybe I could make this cake, instead.
“Nah,” he said, “I kind of want to go out tonight.”
Ok, no cake.
My friend texted me back soon after and we did have a nice time with them. Partway through the evening she apologized for the delayed response, and I mentioned that plan B had been to make this chocolate and peanut butter cake. They looked a bit dismayed that plans A and B could not have been combined. It all worked out, though, because next time I make this I have some ideas for improvements.
The concept is excellent. The number of bowls required is small. The cake itself was not my favorite, however. I ran out of all-purpose flour so I used whole wheat pastry flour and a little cornstarch instead, which definitely may have contributed to texture issues. It’s an easy recipe that bakes in a single pan, then the cake is sliced in half and filled with peanut butter frosting.
The batter is fun because instead of creaming together the butter and sugar, the leavening is achieved with baking soda and vinegar. It bubbles up in the pan! While amusing, I might try the same idea with a different cake base next time.
Instead of drizzling the cake with the suggested melted chocolate I made a quick pseudo-ganache to spackle the slightly-crumbly top which worked out better than I anticipated. We had other friends over while I frosted it, and the leftovers went to work with my husband; all samplers gave positive reviews.
Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Baking Bites
Normally I would scoff at this serving suggestion, but this is a rich cake, especially if you cover it with ganache.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk+1 teaspoon vinegar left to stand 5 minutes)
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Filling
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chips or a bar chopped into pieces)
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1.) Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and grease lightly.
2.) Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined (over-mixing will yield a tough cake). Pour into prepared pan, level top with an offset spatula, and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
3.) Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack. Remove parchment and reinvert. Cool completely before frosting.
4.) Combine filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a stand or electric mixer to blend until smooth. Adjust powdered sugar or milk to yield a thick-but-spreadable consistency. Use a long serrated knife to cut the cake into two layers. Spread filling between the layers.
5.) In a medium saucepan bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer. Place a large bowl on top and add chocolate. Let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally until smooth. Add butter, cream, and sugar and mix well. Spread on top of cake.
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