Chocolate Cake (This recipe makes three 6 inch cakes)
1 ½cupsall purpose flour
1 ½tspbaking powder
1 ½sticksbutterroom temperature (3/4 cup)
1cup+ 2 tbsp sugar
⅔cup+ 1/4 cup sour cream
Peanut Butter Buttercream
2sticksbutterroom temperature (1 cup)
½cupchocolate chips or chocolate candy melts
1tbspmelted peanut butterfor drizzling
Peanut butter cupschopped into smaller pieces
Preheat the oven to 350º F.
Using butter grease the bottom and sides of three 6 inch round cake pans or springform pans and line the bottoms with a round piece of parchment paper. To ensure even baking, place a bake even strip around each pan. You can make your own homemade bake even strip by cutting a towel or shirt to fit the size of your pan. Get the fabric really wet, then squeeze out the dripping water but do not squeeze it too dry. Secure the fabric around the pan with a safety pin.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently mix using a spoon.
In a larger mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, lightly beat.
Add in the sour cream and melted chocolate, mix by hand using a spatula.
Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything.
Evenly divide the batter between the 3 pans, with about 1 & 1/3 cups to 1 & 1/2 cups in each pan.
Bake for 22 minutes. Then loosely cover the pans with foil. Continue to bake for 7-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once the cake is done baking, allow it to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully remove the cake from the pan. If using a springform pan, remove the sides and bottom. Allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, remove the parchment paper round from the bottom of the cake. If you need to level the top of your cake, do so now using either a cake lever or knife.
If you’ll be assembling the cake later, wrap the cake layers really good in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. They will be good for up to 5 days.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
In a mixing large bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add in the peanut butter, beat using electric mixer.
Begin to add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing by hand first, then with the electric mixer. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting isn't too wet and tastes good to you.
Melt the chocolate or candy melts with the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir with a spatula melt smooth and melted.
Place a plastic cutting board or metal baking sheet on the counter. Place a large piece of wax paper on top of the flat surface.
Pour the melted chocolate on top of the wax paper. Use a spatula to smooth the chocolate into an even layer all around the wax paper.
Place another piece of wax paper on top of the melted chocolate and gently smooth out any air bubbles.
Place the cutting board or baking sheet with the wax paper on it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove it from the freezer and allow it to warm up for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the top layer of wax paper, break the chocolate into shards (any size or shape you want).
Drizzle melted peanut butter over the shards, place them in the freezer to set the peanut butter or until you're ready to use them.
Place chocolate chips in a medium heat-proof bowl.
In a small pot over low heat, heat the heavy cream until boiling.
Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to stand for 1-2 minutes.
Use a spatula to stir the mixture until smooth.
Allow the ganache to come to room temperature before adding it to the cake.
How to assemble the cake
Spread a small amount of buttercream on a 6 inch round cardboard cake circle. Place your first layer of cake on top of the cardboard. Put buttercream on top of the first layer and spread it as even as possible with an offset spatula. Decide how much or how little frosting you want in-between each layer, you can measure the frosting, I use 1/3 to 1/2 cup in between each layer.
Repeat this process for each layer of cake. Once all of the layers are stacked and frosted, spread some frosting (the same amount as you did between the layers) on the top of the cake.
Next, it’s time to do a crumb coat. The crumb coat will help seal the crumbs in. Using your offset spatula, spread a thin layer of buttercream around the sides and the top of the cake. It’s easiest to start off with more frosting on the cake and remove some as needed.
Place the entire cake in the freezer or fridge for 20 minutes to harden the crumb coat.
Begin to add the second layer of frosting. Spread an even layer of frosting on the top of the cake. Next either pipe on the frosting or spread on the frosting around the sides of the cake. Use a spatula or icing smoother to smooth out the frosting, scraping off excess as you go. Once the frosting is uniform around the cake, use the smooth side of Viva brand paper towels and a fondant smoother to smooth out any imperfections. Place the paper towel on the cake and gently rub the fondant smoother around. Repeat this process, moving the paper towel all around the cake.
Transfer the cake to your desired serving plate. Using a piping bag and a piping tip (I used a wilton round tip) to pipe a border of buttercream around the bottom of a cake.
Once the ganache is room temperature, use a spoon to drizzle the ganache around the sides of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Fill in the middle of the cake with ganache and spread evenly with the back of the spoon. Allow the ganache to set for 10 minutes.
Top the cake with various chocolate shards and peanut butter cup pieces.