Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting
A few months ago, Quinn suggested that I make a peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting. I mentally noted that and went about with various other baking plans. I held on to his suggestion until this past week when he celebrated his birthday.
I waited until he left for work and then got in the kitchen and made it as a surprise for him. I even got it photographed the same day so I wouldn’t do that annoying food blogger thing where I have some awesome dessert made but won’t let him eat any of it until I can photograph it. Bless him, he learned a long time ago to eat the ugliest cookie on the cooling rack.
But let’s get back to this amazing cake. The layers are so nice and tall. And they have a lovely peanut butter flavor. But the best part, at least to me, is the texture of the cake. It’s so soft and moist. I’d be happy with a piece of that cake unadorned. Just slice it up and hand me a fork!
Of course, the frosting is what makes it extra special. What better to pair with peanut butter than chocolate? The frosting is a simple one with big, fabulous chocolate flavor. It pairs perfectly with the cake.
The lack of frosting on the sides of the cake isn’t purely an aesthetic choice. Quinn and I both prefer a higher cake to frosting ratio, so I usually dial back the frosting and limit it to the tops of the layers. Of course, if you are a big frosting fan, just increase the frosting recipe by half or even double to cover the sides.
The sweetness level here is a bit higher than the things I usually bake. But birthdays are a great reason for a full-tilt dessert, right? And I’m happy to tell you that the birthday boy thoroughly enjoyed his cake!
Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Yield: 12 to 14 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Fans of chocolate and peanut butter will be wowed by this beautiful, sweet, delicious Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting!
For the cake:
- 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted*
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk (plus more if necessary)
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted*
- chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, mini peanut butter cups for garnish
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, sugar, and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
- Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of buttermilk. Mix just until combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Spread evenly.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans to a wire rack, remove the parchment paper, and allow them to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, about half of the cocoa powder, and the vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, and mix well. Add the remaining cocoa powder, and mix well.
- Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar** and continue mixing until thoroughly combined.
- If necessary, add a bit more milk (about a teaspoonful at a time) until the frosting is the desired consistency for spreading onto the cake.
- Place one cooled cake layer on a serving plate. Frost the top with about half of the frosting.
- Place the other cake layer on top of the frosted layer. Frost the top with the remaining frosting. Garnish if desired.
*I’m not a big fan of sifting, but sifting these two ingredients will make your frosting much smoother.
**Confectioners’ sugar added during mixing can make a really big mess. To keep the mess to a minimum, I recommend spooning the sugar into the mixing bowl in small increments. I add about a tablespoon or so at a time while continuing to mix.