# chocolate-peanut butter pretzel cake

Hellllloooo! I haven’t been in a blogging mood for a while, but I have still been documenting things we’re doing as if I someday will. Right now I’m watching my husband on ESPN as he stands in pouring rain, conducting his band at the San Diego Poinsettia Bowl. Poor guy. It was so nice when we were there three years ago.

But let’s talk cake. Specifically my birthday cake from S E P T E M B E R. For shame! But look how gorgeous it is! (Thanks in part to those beautiful flowers from my awesome friend, Amy!)

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Joy the Baker never, ever, ever lets me down. This cake is on the cover of her Homemade Decadence cookbook that I absolutely love. It has all of my favorites: peanut butter + chocolate + pretzels. The perfect salty sweet combination.

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At three layers tall, it was obviously waaaay too much cake for just the two of us, but go big or go home. (We didn’t eat it all, btw. My fitness app would want me to tell you that.)

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Because it took us so long to eat *about half* of it, the pretzels on the side became stale and mushy, so if you’d going to make this, eat it with a crowd and eat it fast. I did love how the frosting would push its way through the holes.

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Some people don’t like making their own birthday cake, but I really enjoy it. It’s always like a gift to myself.

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This cake, other than the pretzels getting stale, was near perfection–the peanut butter frosting being my favorite part {duh, just check out the ingredient list!}.

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A good choice for anyone who is a card-carrying member of the Peanut Butter + Chocolate club. Grab your Bavarian Inn cake toppers and get to it!

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzel Cake

source: Homemade Decadence

Chocolate Cake:

3 c. cake flour
3/4 c. unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 c. buttermilk

Salted Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting:

2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. smooth all-natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
6-7 c. confectioner’s sugar
3-4 Tbs. heavy cream

Toppings (optional):

mini pretzels
salted peanuts
chocolate chips

To make the cake:

Put oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350-degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and instant espresso powder.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add half of the flour mixture, and beat until incorporated. Add the buttermilk in a slow stream and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish stirring with a spatula. Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans.

Bake until golden brown on top and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 20 minutes before inverting to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until softened, about 1 minute. Add the peanut butter, salt and vanilla and beat well. Add 2 cups of the confectioner’s sugar and beat until well combined.

Add another 2 cups of sugar along with 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Add the remaining 2-3 cups of sugar and remaining cream and beat until it is your desired thickness. Beat on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

To assemble:

When the cake is cooled, assemble layers with frosting and a handful of crushed pretzel pieces between each one. Then frost outside of cake. Top with mini pretzels, salted peanuts or chocolate shavings or chips.

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