The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory… Last week it was my birthday! I turned the ripe old age of 22, which was actually quite exciting because now the Taylor Swift song “22” finally applies to me! For anyone who hasn’t figure it out yet, I am a major Swiftie… I’m even going to her December concert in Melbourne with some friends and I can’t wait! Does anyone have any recommendations for restaurants we could go to or bakeries we should try over there?
I decided that for my birthday this year, I would make my own cake and take it into work to share with everyone there because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a cake otherwise! And you have to have cake for a birthday. Then my sister really wanted one too (as we’re twins) and I thought it would be kind of mean not to make her one too, so I make her a mini cake that was quite simple: my favourite chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and jam in the middle and chocolate ganache on top. It certainly went down a storm! Peanut butter always wins out, in my opinion. I decided on peanut butter for my own cake as well, as I hadn’t had the chance to make something with peanut butter in a while and peanut butter and chocolate is my absolute favourite!
Unfortunately I didn’t get very good photos as I only took some off my iPhone, but the quality should start improving as I got a photography tent from my boyfriend for my birthday which means I can take good photos at night, yay!
You don’t have to include the chocolate ganache over the top, but it did add more wonderful chocolatey goodness, and I’ve included instructions on how to do it below. Happy baking!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
45g dark chocolate bits
3/4 cups hot brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups dark cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 tspn baking soda
1/4 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cups buttermilk, shaken
3/4 tspn vanilla essence
Peanut Butter Frosting
300g butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
1/2 cup cream
1 cup chocolate bits
1/2 cup cream
- Preheat the oven to 150°C and grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
- Put the chocolate in a bowl, add instant coffee powder or granules and pour 1 ½ cups boiling water over the chocolate. Mix together until smooth.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) beat the eggs until thickened and lemon coloured (around 5 minutes).
- Slowly add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla, beating after each addition. Then add the sugar, before mixing in the chocolate and coffee mixture. Sift the cocoa powder over the bowl and mix until combined.
- Pour half of the flour mixture over the wet mixture and mix until the flour is combined enough to not fly up in your face (very technical there) and then add the other half and beat it all together until well-combined.
- Divide the batter between the tins and bake in the middle of the oven, rotating after 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached, around 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely in the tins and then turn out onto a wire rack to set.
Peanut Butter Frosting
- Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and using an electric beater), and beat until pale and creamy.
- Add the vanilla essence, peanut butter and half of the icing sugar and beat until combined.
- Add the cream and continue beating until combined.
- Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until fluffy, if the icing becomes too sloppy add more icing sugar and continue beating or too stiff, add more cream.
- Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan on medium heat until it’s steaming and nearly boiling, do not let it boil for more than a couple of seconds though because then it will be too hot!
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave for 30 seconds to melt.
- Using a whisk, mix together the cream and chocolate and smooth and emulsified.
- Leave to thicken at room temperature, around half an hour.
- Place the first cake layer on your turntable, plate or whatever you will use to frost it.
- Spread around a 1-2cm thick coating of frosting over the first cake layer, then place the other layer on top.
- Spread a 2cm thick layer of frosting over the top of the cake and then spread a very thin layer of frosting around the sides to crumb coat it. Put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes to set.
- Then spread the rest of the frosting around the sides of the cake, making sure to smooth the frosting with a palette knife as you go.
- Put the cake in the fridge for an hour to firm up the icing and make it cold enough to do the ganache drizzle.
- Once the cake is cold, take it out of the fridge and make sure the ganache is at the right consistency. It should be thick, but should easily drip off the back of a spoon. If it has hardened too much, zap it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and/or add some more cream. If it’s not thick enough, put it in the fridge.
- Pour the ganache onto the centre of the cake (you don’t have to use all of it) until it just reaches the edges. Then, using a palette knife, spread the ganache in a circular motion from the centre out to the sides so you force the ganache just over the sides of the cake.
- Because the cake is cold, the ganache shouldn’t just all run down into a big clump, you should get the effect of individual dribbles over the side, with some stopping part way down.
- Once you have spread the ganache over the cake, sprinkle some crushed peanuts around the side or any other decoration you want, then immediately move to the fridge to set.