I have no trouble admitting that while I can make and bake a delicious cake, the decorating part, yeah, not my thing. People are out there making eight layer rainbow cakes and I’m over here having cake anxiety when we have two layers (9×13 cake in a pan anyone???). I think that’s why I’ve fallen totally in love with the amazing cakes that some of the Austrialian bakers like Katherine Sabbath are whipping up.
They are more about whimsy and fun than piping perfect frosting (though her cakes look like absolute perfection). I love their fun and crazy styles, and have started using them as inspiration for my cakes. Like this peanut butter chocolate cake I made for our friend Jen’s birthday recently.
This chocolate cake is covered in peanut butter frosting, topped with chocolate ganache and garnished with chocolate peanut butter bark, peanut butter cups, Reese’s Pieces and peanut butter chips. Because Jen’s husband eats a gluten free diet, I wanted to make sure to make a cake that he could enjoy. It turned out to be super easy on this one, as so many of the Reese’s products are gluten free.
While these cakes take a bit of time to make due to the multiple steps, they are actually quite easy, I swear. Remember, I’m no cake decorator, so trust me on this one.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE
This cake starts with your favorite chocolate cake recipe or mix. Because I was making this gluten free, I used Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Cake Mix. For a two layer cake such as this, you need two mixes. For this cake I used 8″ round cake pans. I actually prefer to use 7″ round cake pans as they create a higher cake which is a look I like, but that is totally a matter of personal opinion. I do prefer theFat Daddio brand of cake pans. You bake your cake according to the recipe or package directions. Once finished, let cool completely.
After your cake layers have cooled, you can prepare to frost them. I used a peanut butter frosting.
PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING RECIPE
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (the natural types that need to be stirred and refrigerated do not work as well)
- 1/2 cup butter , softened
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup whipping cream (if needed you can use milk or half and half)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark
- 1 bag Wilton Peanut Butter Melts (other brands are fine)
- 1 bag Wilton Chocolate Melts (other brands are fine)
- 4 oz Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate (NOT unsweetened!)
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until light and creamy. Add in vanilla and mix well. Add in half of the powdered sugar, mixing well to combine, followed by half the cream, mixing well to combine. Repeat with remaining powdered sugar and cream. If needed, add more cream, a tsp at a time, for a thinner frosting consistency. Assemble and frost cake. If desired, press Reese's Pieces along the base of the cake. Once frosted, place in fridge to chill.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark
Melt about 1/2 of each bag according to the package directions (or use the entire bag if you want left over bark). Once melted, drop melted mixtures by large spoonful onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Drop in a random pattern. Using a knife, gently swirl the two together to create a swirl pattern. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes. After bark has hardened, use hands or a knife to break or cut into pieces. Pieces with a bit of a triangle shape work best for topping the cake.
Chop up chocolate. Place chocolate and cream in a heavy sauce pan. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and combined with cream. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. I often stir mine as I'm allowing it to cool to help speed up the cooling process a bit. Once the ganache has cooled to about room temperature, you can prepare to top your cake. Have all of your toppings, such as mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Reese's Pieces, peanut butter chips and your chocolate peanut butter bark prepped and ready.
And if you love chocolate and peanut butter, check out my peanut butter magic cookie bars. They are a favorite recipe for sure!