Twice a year I bake a cake that is just for me. I mean I share it – there’s no way not to – but it’s a cake that is purely about my own cake desires and dreams. I make one for Mother’s Day and then one shortly afterwards for my birthday. Yes, I always make my own birthday cake. I know I’m not alone in this; it seems that when you are the family baker others are reluctant to grab their wooden spoons and crack a few eggs.
If I’m truthful though, I don’t mind. It’s rare that I get to indulge my own cake loves without having to consider whether other people would like it.
This is my perfect cake. A grand claim maybe but one that is true. I could have named this blog post “The perfect chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting” but I find cake preferences to be very personal things and my idea of cake nirvana is unlikely to perfectly match yours. Mine consists of moist brownie like cake layers that are rich and fudgy. A frosting that combines that classic chocolate and peanut butter duo, that is on just the right side of sweet and whipped up until it’s light and fluffy.
I’ve actually made 3 versions of this cake in less than a month but this is my favourite. My initial recipe used all flour; it was good but not quite right. I then went to the other extreme and used all ground almonds in place of the flour. It was gorgeous but required a little too much patience and care during the tin extraction stage. Fine if you have the time and the results are more than worth it but it’s not the most practical version when there’s 3 year old hopping about demanding you feed her cake, watch her latest attempt at being Angelina Ballerina, read a story and find that missing jigsaw piece all in the next two minutes.
This one, with its mixture of flour and ground almonds is the winner for me. As it leans more towards the almonds it keeps the moistness that ground nuts lend to baked goods. But the flour keeps it manageable, especially when you are dealing with thinner layers.
Owing to the mismatch in perfect cake status I’m giving you my perfect chocolate cake recipe but also including the quantities for the other two versions in the notes below. You never know, one of those might be the right one for you.
The peanut butter frosting is also perfect for me. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t played around with that as well. One version saw me whipping peanut butter in my mixer with nothing but a little milk and icing sugar. It produced a gloriously thick spreadable paste that was heading towards a thick caramel in consistency. It couldn’t be classed as a frosting in any way shape or form but I have plans to experiment with it as a tart filling.
So here you have it, my perfect chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. More than acceptable for birthdays, special days or those ‘I just need cake’ days.
Comments, as always, welcome.
P.S. If you have any chocolate left over from Easter that you are looking to use up then you might like to take a peek at the recipes for chocolate bark, giant jazzies or rocky road that are on the blog.
Light and fluffy peanut butter frosting sandwiched between two layers of brownie like chocolate cake. I have made 3 different versions of this – one all flour, one all ground almonds and one a combination of the two. They are all good but the one below is my favourite. For amounts for the other two versions please check the notes below.
- 125g dark chocolate, melted and left to cool slightly
- 175g butter or ‘baking butter’ – Stork or the supermarket equivalent
- 175g soft light brown sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 50g ground almonds
- 25g self raising flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
- 75g smooth peanut butter
- 50g butter
- 25g icing sugar
- 2 heaped tsps soft light brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 170c fan and grease and line two 8 inch sandwich cake tins.
- Combine the almonds, flour and cocoa powder in a bowl.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time with a spoonful of the flour mixture with each addition to stop splitting. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until it is well combined.
- Add the remaining flour mixture and beat well. The texture will be almost mousse like.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins, smooth and bake on the same shelf of the oven (I use the middle one) for around 30 minutes. A skewer will come out almost clean (though some crumbs will remain it should not be coated in raw batter) and the top will be cracked slightly, similar to a brownie. The cakes will have hardly risen.
- Remove the tins from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow the cakes to stay in their tins until almost cold and then turn out, you may need to run a sharp knife around the edges to allow it to release.
- To make the frosting, using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter together until light, pale and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until the sugars have combined. Continue beating until it is smooth and light, I left my mixer running for around 5 minutes. You can of course use a bowl and wooden spoon but be prepared to put in a lot of elbow grease!
- Once the cakes are completely cold, place one layer on a cake stand or board. Spoon the frosting onto the top of the cake and spread out evenly. Top with the other cake and dust with cocoa powder if you would like.
- This is a moist cake and keeps well, though please ensure that the tin you are keeping it in is airtight.
Quantities for the other two versions of this cake are: For the all flour version use 75g self raising flour, for the all almond version use 100g ground almonds but leave the cakes to cool in their tins completely before turning them out. All other instructions remain the same.