Happy Birthday Cake: Chocolate Cake with Peanut Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Genache Topping

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Jason is officially in his thirties!  I just had to make my very special husband an extra special cake that would truly make his day extraordinary.  I searched high and low and even considered buying a Portillo’s chocolate cake ( you know because it’s amazing, affordable and I am pregnant) but I really wanted to do something homemade, from the heart.  When I found this recipe, of course it’s Smitten Kitchen that could create something so perfect, so decadent: Chocolate Cake with Peanut Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Genache, yes you read that correct, I knew it was perfect for my peanut butter loving husband that requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  And holy cow, it was more than I, we, could ever imagine.  I mean, think about the most amazing flavors, the richest moistest perfect cake, frosted with heavenly peanut butter(cream), and covered in more chocolate….  I can’t explain how amazing this is well enough, you just have to trust me and make this.  Since it was just us for birthday cake this year ( after a night out with friends and family to celebrate of course) I cut the cake recipe in half, which worked perfect, except that it was still an entire cake and there’s just 2.5 of us eating it… we got our fill!  I did make the full frosting recipe and had some left over, because cutting in in half made too little frosting.  This serves 10 people easily, but if you want to serve more people use the original recipe from the link.

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Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted from, only barely, from Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes

This cake is INTENSE. Serve it with a nice glass of milk!

Makes an 8-inch double-layer cake; serves 10-12

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of two 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide evenly among the 2 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30-35  minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, cover the top of pans loosely with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 20 inures, this locks in the moisture and makes it easier to frost.  Remove from freezer and invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners.

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top, place the second layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 3/4 cups

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1.5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

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