Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
A combination of flavors that is undeniably hard to beat is chocolate and peanut butter, and this cake definitely brings the two favorites together to create one stunning treat. Moist chocolate cake is covered with a creamy rich peanut butter frosting and layered with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups, then topped with a dark chocolate gananche. A sweet tooth’s dream come true.
I finally broke down and treated myself to some 6″ x 3″ cake pans. I had been wanting some for a while, and I guess I just needed a good excuse. If you have not tried Fat Daddio’s bakeware, I strongly recommend it! High quality and very reasonable prices.
Any cake whether it is made from scratch or from a box, can be baked in any size pan, assuming you have enough batter. Below is a chart I have assembled that lists some common pan sizes, the amount of batter you need to fill them, the recommended baking temperature and time. I find it rather handy. There is a link below the chart if you would like to print it out for future reference.
Printable PDF of chart: Layer Cake Baking Times & Temps
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ - 2 cups chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter cups filling and garnish
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ teaspoons instant Espresso coffee
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Grease cake pans with butter or spray (no need for flour with this recipe). Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment paper and lightly grease the paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together all dry ingredients.
- On low-speed, add the oil and yogurt, mix to combine.
- Slowly add water, vinegar, and vanilla.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Increase to medium speed and beat mixture until completely combined about two minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Divide evenly among pans.
- Bake for the recommended time for the pan size you are using (see chart above). Cakes are done when the center springs back when lightly touched. You can also test your cakes by inserting a tooth pick in the center.
- Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 20 minutes before removing them. Place on a wire rack to completely cool.
- Cream together peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.
- Add salt and vanilla.
- Slowly add whipping cream.
- Mix on medium-high speed for 3 – 4 minutes or until frosting is light a fluffy.
- Level the cakes with a sharp knife and cut into more layers if desired (I cut each layer in half to create four).
- Place a small dollop of frosting on the center of a cake round or plate (this will prevent the cake from sliding).
- Place first layer on cake, spread with an even coat of frosting. Sprinkle evenly with chopped Reese’s cups. Add next layer and repeat.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake. Allow frosting to set up for several hours before adding the ganache.
- Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Heat cream just to the point of boiling either on the stove or in the microwave. Pour hot cream over chips and allow to stand for several minutes. Using a whisk slowly stir cream and chips. The heat of the cream will melt the chips.
- Mix until completely smooth.
- Add espresso powder and mix well.
- Allow to stand. Ganache will thicken as it cools.
- Let the ganache cool until it starts to thicken but still pour-able. Pour on to center of cake. Using a small spatula spread the ganache evenly towards the edges of the cake allowing some to flow down.
- Add more chopped peanut butter cups on top and drizzle with ganache.
- Allow cake to set up several hours before cutting.
- Keep uneaten cake in the refrigerator.
While I really enjoy making my own cake from scratch, you could most certainly use a boxed cake mix in the interest of time. I usually like to bake my cakes the day before I assemble them. Once they are completely cool, I wrap them in plastic wrap and hold until I am ready to put it all together. This really makes the project much easier than doing everything at once.