Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Cake

by angelika on October 22, 2012

Happy Birthday to me! It was my birthday last weekend and this is the cake that Q and I decided to bake. It’s a very moist and rich chocolate cake, with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and filling, and topped with a layer of caramel ganache. If it sounds over the top decadent- it is! I adored this cake. It was the perfect end to a not so great birthday weekend. (of course I would get sick on my birthday) I did get to spend some time wine tasting- even feeling not 100% this area is spectacular this time of year. I miss the autumn in the midwest, but really the autumn in wine country is just as nice and lasts a lot longer. With some Indian Summer thrown in for good measure. (do we have a more PC way of saying that? Or is it OK since it is such an awesome thing we are referring to?)

To make the cake preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl (this is a one bowl cake) sift the flour, sugar, baking power, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine once they are all sifted. Whisk in the oil and creme fraiche. Do this slowly as it takes a minute to incorporate. Whisk in the water, a little at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla and vinegar and whisk- then add the eggs.

Prepare two 9″ cake pans by buttering and placing a parchment round in the bottom, then butter again. Divide the batter into the two pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes pull away from the sides and a tester comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a plate and cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool transfer the cake to the freezer for at least 30 minutes. These cakes are very crumbly and without freezing they would be very hard to work with.

To make the peanut butter buttercream, in a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, lest you want to be covered in a lot of white powder. Scrape down the bowl, then add in the peanut butter. Mix until combined.

To make the caramel ganache, we first need to make caramel. Comine the sugar and water and agave and put over medium heat. Bring the caramel to a boil on high heat and let it sit, untouched, until the caramel turns a golden brown and smells of caramel. This should register 350º on a candy thermometer. I find using one a little annoying so I just watch it. The caramel usually turns between 7 and 10 minutes. It goes super fast. The minute you start to see a light amber, don’t move! It’ll burn within a minute. Once you get a nice rich amber take the pot from the heat and mix in the cream. Stir constantly until you get a creamy caramel. It spits and bubbles, this is actually what you are looking for.

Roughly chop the chocolate and place it in a large bowl, add the hot caramel mixture and let the whole thing stand for a minute. Then gently stir until you have a smooth texture. Pour the caramel ganache into a 4 quart measuring cup with a spout- it will make decorating the cake much easier. Let the mixture cool a bit before you use it.

Take the cakes out of the freezer and place on a cake stand with wax paper or parchment lining the bottom- to catch spills. Place one layer, flat side up on the stand and fill with frosting. About 1 cup. Place the second layer on top and frost lightly as a crumb coat. This is a dark cake, and really needs this step. Put the cake in the refrigerator for 40 minutes.

Now frost the cake liberally and get it as smooth as you can. Then pour the ganache over top, and gently tilt the cake stand to get the ganache to pool over the top. One you have it just right, put the cake in the refrigerator and keep it there until just before you want to serve it.The cake actually serves best still a bit cold. The cream cheese in the frosting enables the frosting to taste good even cold- and the ganache layer will get melty if left out too long. I’s say 20 minutes at room temp would be perfect. You definitely want a nice glass of cold milk with this cake- my milk of choice was So Delicious coconut milk.

 Some harvest in the wine country to go with you cake.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen. http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/08/chocolate-peanut-butter-cake/print/
Recipe type: cake
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Dagoba brand)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup cremem fraiche
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ~peanut butter frosting~
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ⅔ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ~whipped caramel ganache icing~
  • 1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl (this is a one bowl cake) sift the flour, sugar, baking power, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine once they are all sifted. Whisk in the oil and creme fraiche. Do this slowly as it takes a minute to incorporate. Whisk in the water, a little at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla and vinegar and whisk- then add the eggs.
  2. Prepare two 9″ cake pans by buttering and placing a parchment round in the bottom, then butter again. Divide the batter into the two pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes pull away from the sides and a tester comes out clean.
  3. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a plate and cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool transfer the cake to the freezer for at least 30 minutes. These cakes are very crumbly and without freezing they would be very hard to work with.
  4. To make the peanut butter buttercream, in a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, lest you want to be covered in a lot of white powder. Scrape down the bowl, then add in the peanut butter. Mix until combined.
  5. To make the caramel ganache, we first need to make caramel. Comine the sugar and water and agave and put over medium heat. Bring the caramel to a boil on high heat and let it sit, untouched, until the caramel turns a golden brown and smells of caramel. This should register 350º on a candy thermometer. I find using one a little annoying so I just watch it. The caramel usually turns between 7 and 10 minutes. It goes super fast. The minute you start to see a light amber, don’t move! It’ll burn within a minute. Once you get a nice rich amber take the pot from the heat and mix in the cream. Stir constantly until you get a creamy caramel. It spits and bubbles, this is actually what you are looking for.
  6. Roughly chop the chocolate and place it in a large bowl, add the hot caramel mixture and let the whole thing stand for a minute. Then gently stir until you have a smooth texture. Pour the caramel ganache into a 4 quart measuring cup with a spout- it will make decorating the cake much easier. Let the mixture cool a bit before you use it.
  7. Take the cakes out of the freezer and place on a cake stand with wax paper or parchment lining the bottom- to catch spills. Place one layer, flat side up on the stand and fill with frosting. About 1 cup. Place the second layer on top and frost lightly as a crumb coat. Put the cake in the refrigerator for 40 minutes.
  8. Now frost the cake liberally and get it as smooth as you can. Then pour the ganache over top, and gently tilt the cake stand to get the ganache to pool over the top. One you have it just right, put the cake in the refrigerator and keep it there until just before you want to serve it.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

April Garrity October 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Looks so delicious, I will have to make this – hubby would love it! The photos are wonderful too :-)

Reply

Julia | JuliasAlbum.com October 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Beautiful cake! It’s calling my name! found your beautiful blog through FoodGawker.

Reply

Kat February 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Where is the recipe for the caramel ganache?

Reply

angelika February 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I’m not sure what happened to it, but it’s fixed now.

Reply

dave abell April 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

the caramel ganache is in step 5

Reply

no ame June 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Five cups of confectioners’ sugar, just for the frosting – unbelievable! maybe that’s a typing error?

Reply

angelika June 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm

No typing error, that is a pretty standard recipe for frosting. You need a lot to fill and frost the cake. It’s a rich one, and a small slice is all you need.

Reply

no ame June 15, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi Angelika,
thanks the answer. I finished the cake yet – can’t wait to try it …

Reply

no ame June 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Oh yeah, great and indeed not too sweet.
And I agree with you – ‘a small slice’ fixes all needs … nice thing!

Reply

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