Birthdays are the best, aren’t they? A day all about you. Things you want to do. People you want to see. Celebrations you want to have. And a perfect cake, just for you, to top it all off.
So, as I was finding the perfect cake for my friend’s December birthday … seriously, people, the perfect yellow birthday cake, with Nutella frosting. What’s that, you say? You didn’t know Nutella frosting existed? Me either. It’s pretty much amazing, and was definitely the perfect thing for my friend, but more on that another time… now back to our regularly scheduled programming…. while I was searching for her perfect birthday cake I found what I was certain would be the perfect birthday cake for her husband. Luckily, his birthday was right around the corner. Which meant we didn’t have to wait long to experience the smitten kitchen’s chocolate peanut butter cake. Which is just like eating a peanut butter cup, except it is a cake. A triple layer delicious cake perfect for this birthday boy.
The cake itself is moist and chocolatey, but not intense at all. Which is not something I usually look for in a chocolate cake. But here? It works well, because the frosting + ganache make this one rich bite. Or twenty.
It didn’t take me long at all to figure out this was going to be an amazing cake. Because just as I started to mix, I realized that I have enjoyed a very similar cake many times in my life. For the recipe here is just like this Hershey’s cake : THE birthday cake from my childhood. Because once you have a great chocolate cake in a house full of chocolate lovers, why mess with what works.
I share this picture so you can see how messy my counter usually is while I cook (though I prefer the pretty ones that don’t display how the laminate is waving up on the countertop. soon. the kitchen renovation must start soon). Also, this is going the be the runniest cake batter you’ve ever seen. It’s part of why it is so tasty.
Oh, and look at the funny circles that showed up in my cakes. Not perfect, but didn’t make a bit of difference.
So. The frosting. The cream cheese peanut butter frosting. Sound gross? Talk to my brother who eats them in the same sandwich. If this is what those sandwiches taste like, I’ve been missing out all these years. Somehow I don’t think they were made with the same quantity of sugar.
The recipe calls for creamy peanut butter, which I generally don’t have. I made a special peanut butter purchase, and even still, ended up with a more commercial version of natural peanut butter. Which, I decided to embrace. This was a birthday cake after all. And the peanut bits reminded me of fun-fetti in the frosting. I concluded this was a good thing. Nobody complained.
The ganache comes together easily, though if you end up with natural peanut butter like me, here the peanut bits are less artistic, and more in the way of silky smooth ganache. As an aside, I’m pretty sure my discovery of the smitten kitchen was a bi-product of a search for an Irish Car Bomb cake. The chocolate & Jameson ganache I used for that has official competition. (Plus, I am reminded that I must make that cake this year. I will share the recipe, as it is a mish-mash of multiple things found on this here world wide web).
Perhaps it was the liquidity of the batter, but I was ready for the ganache to start dripping all over the place. Instead, it floated atop the cake and I had to coax it down the sides.
Luckily, my trusty guard dog protected the floor from any bits of peanut butter ready to meet their end.
Birthday cakes need birthday candles. And this was a serious birthday cake. Next time I’ll need to supply a gallon of milk to go along side. I had a wonderful group of enthusiastic taste testers that raved (I am sure you will too, once you try it), and most importantly, a very happy birthday boy. I’m pretty sure he was ready to tackle anyone who got too close to the “leftovers”… hmm… I wonder if any of those leftovers are still left over.