Today marks the halfway point of my no-sugar challenge. So, naturally, I thought it most appropriate to blog about a cake.
My willpower is Rocky Tough right now. But that doesn’t mean yours has to be!
This is a very belated post about a very delicious cake celebrating a very special boy.
I always let Joe pick his birthday treats. You might remember the coconut cake of high-altitude-baking fame. Or the jarred s’mores. He picks some clear winners, but this year took the cake. (har, har)
I don’t think you can ever go wrong when combing chocolate, bourbon and peanut butter. Turns out bourbon is the perfect third wheel to my chocolate-peanut butter marriage.
This is the very best cake I think I’ve ever made. Let that sink in for a minute.
For starters, it has the most delicious cake layers with a mind-blowing combo of coffee, bourbon, chocolate and greek yogurt that then sandwich a decadent peanut butter layer. Then you smother all of that with the world’s most perfect chocolate buttercream frosting.
I’m not kidding when I say this is hands-down the best buttercream frosting. I won’t ever try a different recipe. There’s a magic ingredient to it, so read on.
Then! As if that’s not enough, you pour over a richity rich rich bourbon ganache that seals everything with a kiss. Or maybe it’s a punch. Either way, you like it.
I’ll never get tired of pictures like these.
A thick blanket of perfection draping over the entire cake. It’s a stunner. Good job, Joe. First on being born and now this excellent choice of a cake. You’re just winning left and right.
Of course, our friends from Bavarian Inn joined us per our weird birthday tradition.
See that peanut butter layer? It’s taking a pickaxe to my current willpower. chip…chip…chip…
The original recipe is a three-layer beauty topped with buckeyes, which Joe thought might look too pro-Ohio State (not to mention TOO MUCH in general). Ha! I made a more manageable two-layer version and used the leftover batter for perfect cupcakes.
Make it for your next birthday celebration!
Chocolate Bourbon Peanut Butter Cake
Source: Half Baked Harvest
For the Cake:
7.5 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup strong hot hot coffee
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs + 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup plain greek yogurt (I use Chobani 0%)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Peanut Butter Layer (half this amount if only making a 2-layer cake):
2 1/4 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
For the Chocolate Bourbon Ganache:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
For the Best Chocolate Buttercream, read below.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the cake, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt to a bowl. Mix to combine and set aside. Grease 3 (or 2) 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray and flour the pans.
In a microwave safe bowl add the butter and chocolate. Microwave on high for 30 seconds intervals stirring in between until melted. Once melted stir in the bourbon and coffee. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for about 4 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy and pale in color. Add the canola oil and greek yogurt. Mix to combine. Carefully add in the chocolate mixture until well combined and smooth. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and make sure everything is well mixed, beat one last time.
Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. It is ok to have the batter be lumpy.
Pour the batter among the cake pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. (If using two pans, reserve leftover batter for cupcakes.) Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting. (I made my cake a day early and kept them well wrapped in the freezer.)
While the cakes cool make the filling and frosting. For the peanut butter filling, add the butter and peanut butter to the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can use a hand held mixer) and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until combined and smooth. Remove from the bowl and set aside.
Now, make the buttercream:
The Best Chocolate Buttercream
Source: Joy the Baker Cookbook
Yields: Enough to frost one 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake, or 24 cupcakes
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ to 3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Scant ½ c. heavy cream
1/3 c. Ovaltine powder (secret ingredient!!!)
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Mixture will be very thick, but cream for about 3 minutes on medium speed.
Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the 2 ½ cups powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low to incorporate the sugar while adding the milk and vanilla. As the sugar incorporates, gradually increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat until smooth.
In a 1-cup measure, stir together the cream and Ovaltine. Turn the mixer to medium and pour the cream in a slow and steady stream until the frosting reaches your desired consistency: smooth, creamy and spreadable. Add more powdered sugar to adjust consistency. (Can store in fridge up to five days.)
Now grab your cakes. Place one cake on a cake plate or platter and add a large dollop (about 1 cup) of the peanut butter filling. Using a knife, or offset spatula, spread the filling out to the edge of the cakes, but leave about 1/4 to 1/8 inch border. Now grab another cake, place it right on top of the peanut butter layer. Add another large dollop of filling and spread out to the edges. Grab the last layer (if using) and place it (rounded side down) on top of the peanut butter layer. Add a small dollop of the peanut butter filing and spread out in an even thin layer.
Now take the chocolate frosting and add a large dollop right on top of the cake. Spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
To make the ganache, in a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Once melted, stir in the bourbon. Pour the ganache on to the middle of the cake and spread to just the sides, allow the ganache to drip down the sides of the cake.
Store in the fridge in a sealed container, or at room temperature.