Sweet, nutty cake layers interspersed with a decadent ganache come together in this peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache. Indulgent and flavorful, this cake is a peanut butter lover’s dream.
My kids both love to bake, which should surprise no one at all. When special occasions come up, my older daughter — who’s really come into her own in the kitchen — jumps at the opportunity to create unique celebratory desserts. She always has an elaborately detailed baking plan, not unlike her baking-obsessed mama.
For my husband’s recent birthday, she and a friend set out to bake mini chocolate bundt cakes topped with raspberry glaze and homemade chocolate spoons. The girls even tested making chocolate spoons the week before his birthday.
I like to think they’ve learned something from all the testing that happens in my kitchen, but I’m guessing their practice run had more to do with a desire to eat little chocolate spoons.
I happened to have a birthday cake plan for my husband’s birthday, too, but I put it on hold for another day. Allowing my daughter’s creative spirit to shine, along with her desire to do something special for her dad, meant more than any cake I could bake. Topped with candles, the girls’ adorable, delicious treats provided a perfect birthday party finale.
When my parents’ decided to throw a little party for my husband at their house, I got the opportunity to bake a birthday cake for him after all. My mom offered to buy a cake if I felt too busy, but I waved aside her concerns.
I’ll always make time to bake a cake. Besides, I was already looking for the chance to bake a peanut butter cake frosted with rich chocolate ganache.
Loaded with creamy peanut butter, the cake layers taste deliciously nutty and sweet. After sampling the batter, I could tell this cake was going to be awesome.
While I usually share spatulas and bowls once a cake goes in the oven, I tried to hoard them for myself with this one. My husband managed to get his hands on a spatula, though, and asked if it was frosting. It’s that good.
Since the cakes looked so pretty with their perfect peanut buttery hue, rather than cover the whole thing up with frosting, I decided to pipe the chocolate ganache between the layers and atop the cake instead.
The sweetness of the peanut butter cake blends perfectly with the deep richness of the chocolate ganache, which thickens into a truffle-like texture that’s smooth and indulgent.
Despite its sophistication, this easy ganache recipe includes just two ingredients and requires minimal effort to prepare. Simply pour hot cream over chopped chocolate, let sit for two minutes, and then stir until smooth.
In truth, the most challenging part of the ganache making is waiting for it to firm up. You’ll want to prepare it before starting to bake the cake layers since it needs several hours to thicken. Once it can hold its shape on a spoon, it’s ready to for piping.
A sprinkling of chopped peanuts adds a finishing touch. I loved their satisfying crunch, too, which makes me think they’d taste great sprinkled between the cake’s layers as well.
Full of sweet, peanutty goodness and and rich, chocolate flavor, this cake pairs peanut butter and chocolate in perfect harmony! I’m already trying to figure out when I can make it again.
- Chocolate Ganache
- 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- Peanut Butter Cake
- 2½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cups milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- ¾ cups creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts, for garnish
- For the ganache, place chocolate in a medium bowl. Warm heavy cream over medium heat until it just comes to a boil. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit without stirring for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and glossy. If bits of chocolate remain, warm briefly over simmering water or in the microwave on 50 percent power for short bursts. Mix until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the cake. When the frosting holds its shape on a spoon, it is ready for piping.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously butter three 8-inch cake pans. Dust with flour; turn and tap pans lightly over the sink to release excess flour. Set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Measure milk in a 2-cup measure with a pour spout. Spoon in sour cream until the level rises to 1¼ cups. Add vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three additions, alternating with the milk/sour cream mixture and scraping down the sides as needed. Mix until well combined but avoid over mixing.
- Divide batter between the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 20 to 22 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning out cakes to cool completely.
- To assemble, trim mounded tops of cooled cakes. Place one layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Using a a ½-inch round tip or star tip, pipe small dollops of ganache around the edge of the cake to make a border. Pipe a spiral of ganache inside the border to fill in an even layer of ganache. Smooth the top with an offset spatula, adding more ganache if necessary so the cake will remain level after assembly. Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to let the ganache set before proceeding. Add second layer and repeat. Top with remaining layer. Working from the outside in, pipe dollops of ganache over the top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
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