Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache & Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I brought a cake to the office this week. (I don’t usually work in an office, as most of you know, but out of our spare room. But sometimes I get to hang out in a cubicle outside the studio when I’m taking over traffic at CBC, and feel very Mary Tyler Moore-ish.) I happened to be subbing in on David‘s birthday, and so I baked a cake. Peanut butter, because he loves it and so do I. I’ve rarely met a person who doesn’t practically jump up and down with glee at the sight of a peanut butter cake, especially when the layers are sandwiched with chocolate ganache and the whole thing is topped with creamy peanut butter frosting, made with cream cheese. Not that I’ve ever actually made a peanut butter cake, that I can remember, but that was the unanimous reaction I got to this one.

Because I didn’t plan ahead and made ganache just a few hours before I had to be at work, it wasn’t set enough. So I had to tote all the elements of the cake with me and assemble it at the little strip of countertop by the microwaves that could be loosely described as a kitchen. But then again not really.

(I must apologize here for the florescent lights, which make food look about as appetizing as they make me look.)

A friend was in the studio that day as well, and told me that peanut butter cake was a very east coast thing, and it made her feel like she was back home, which was a very nice thing to know.

I burnt their bottoms – or one and a half of them – partly because I left them in the oven too long, partly because my oven is old and overworked and uneven. 20 minutes should about do it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

adapted from Bon Appétit, March 2005

2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 cups packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

To make the filling: Bring cream and sugar to simmer in a saucepan, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, stir in the peanut butter and chocolate, let stand a minute or two and then whisk until smooth. Chill for several hours or overnight.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F and spray three 9″ cake pans with nonstick spray (or butter them). In a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add it to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, beating on low speed just until mixed each time.

Divide batter among pans and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are golden and springy to the touch. Let cool for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth; beat in a cup of the icing sugar, then another cup along with the vanilla. Add more sugar, beating until you have something spreadable. If you need to, add a tablespoon of water or milk – the moisture content of peanut butters will vary.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving plate or cake plate and spread with half the chocolate ganache; top with another cake layer and the rest of the ganache. Top with the third cake layer and if you like, refrigerate to allow the ganache to firm up a bit (this will keep it from melting into the frosting).

Frost the cake with peanut butter frosting and serve immediately. Serves 16.

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August 27 2011 12:36 am | cake

11 Responses to “Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache & Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Robyn on 27 Aug 2011 at 8:04 am #

    YUM! i’ve made a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, but never a peanut butter cake with chocolate filling! looks amazing!

  2. Lori on 27 Aug 2011 at 9:26 am #

    I wish you were subbing at my office and it was my birthday!
    It looks wonderful!

  3. Jess on 27 Aug 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Wow this looks completely indulgent and incredible! I’ve never really thought to make a cream cheese frosting (except for something like carrot cake, anyway), but it sounds like a really nice way to get texture and richness at the same time.

  4. Kathy on 27 Aug 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    What Lori Said! That is all.

  5. Theresa on 27 Aug 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    that would NOT serve 16 at my house. 😛

  6. Erica B. on 27 Aug 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Peanut butter+cream cheese+sugar has always reminded me of reese’s pieces. Lucky office mates! Yum!

  7. Avery on 28 Aug 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    Are you KIDDING ME?! This looks so good.

  8. Lauren @ KeepItSweet on 29 Aug 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Just found you blog and I love this recipe! I can’t wait to try it.

  9. molly on 29 Aug 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    must manufacture excuse to make giant layer cake. like, immediately.

  10. Kyla on 04 Sep 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    I made this on a Thursday night “just cause”! It tasted great, however, the ganache kept squeezing out between the layers so I ended up with a swirl looking icing because I just had to spread it out with the icing to keep it from pooling in clumps! Will I do it again – yes!! Thanks for sharing. I really like your site!

  11. Ashley on 14 Sep 2011 at 11:34 am #

    I’ve never had a peanut butter cake (where the cake itself has peanut butter). It looks amazing! And I love the photos. It’s always nice to see a bit of people’s lives in their food photos.

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