I LOVE baking for other people’s birthdays. Especially when those other people like the same kind of cake as I do AND they invite me to their party.
As you can see, this cake is covered with chopped up peanut butter cups and the most amazing velvety smooth peanut butter frosting I’ve ever had. It’s a little unusual because it starts with an egg yolk beaten with powdered sugar over simmering water, which I’ve never done before, but with the whipped cream beaten in at the end it takes on a light mousse-like texture without the overly sweet you get from the usual butter-powdered sugar-peanut butter-milk frosting.
The secret to the cake itself is right here:
A cup of coffee with 3/4 cup cocoa powder. You don’t taste the coffee, but it definitely makes the chocolate flavor richer and keeps the cake incredibly moist!
So festive with candles…
If I weren’t completely loyal to carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, I would want this for my next birthday. It’s definitely a keeper! And of course there’s no rule that says you need any occasion to make it…
In running-related news, I had a GREAT 10 mile run yesterday morning and I’m getting more excited for Boston every day. I’m keeping my mileage kind of low because I’m still a little nervous about my right knee, but so far everything’s going well! The weather has been completely perfect too. It was in the low 60s for the run and there were TONS of people out running in shorts and T-shirts. I love you, California winters.
2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup brewed coffee
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used natural creamy and it worked beautifully)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
mini peanut butter cups, quartered or roughly chopped
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Stir the cocoa powder in the coffee and mix until smooth, then add to the sugar mixture.
In a medium bowl, stir the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cake flour together with a whisk. Add half the flour mixture to the batter and mix until combined. Add 1/2 cup of the milk and mix on low until smooth, then scrape down the bowl. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mix well, then add the other 1/2 cup of milk and mix on low until combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the two cake pans, tapping them against the counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake the cakes for about 35-45 minutes (depending on which size pans you used), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the layers to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium heat.
Mix together the egg yolk and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and set over the simmering water. Keep stirring until the mixture is hot to the touch.
Allow to cool for a few minutes, then beat in the peanut butter, and then the butter. It may look a little lumpy at this point, but it will smooth out! Beat in 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream with 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form Add the whipped cream to the rest of the frosting and beat until smooth. Frost the cake and press the peanut butter cup pieces onto the sides. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.