Delicious, from-scratch chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream icing!
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I am a little late in sharing about my son’s birthday (way back in June), but chocolate cake recipes never really expire, so I’m giving myself a pass.
Typically we celebrate my oldest’s birthday with a big party because June is the perfect time to invite all of our friends over because everyone can just hang outside in the backyard. We’ve had some really great parties in the past and I’m still holding out hope that we can throw a better-late-than-never party with friends soon.
This year, though, too many schedule conflicts prevented us from celebrating with friends, so we kept things simple and had a fun family day, ending with the birthday boy’s favorite food for dinner– homemade pasta with marinara sauce & meatballs, one-hour focaccia bread, and this chocolate peanut butter layer cake.
I shared a vlog of his birthday on YouTube today, as well as a demo on how to make pasta at home. You can watch the video here.
Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake
Jack’s birthday cake was rather last minute inspiration. He didn’t have a strong preference when I asked, and chocolate and peanut butter ALWAYS sound good. I used a couple of chocolate cake recipes from some of my go-to cookbooks to make this delicious cake.
While I try not to use much regular sugar for everyday desserts and treats, we make exceptions for birthdays. A homemade cake is still healthier simply because we know exactly what is in it and can use quality ingredients, but just don’t be surprised at the sugar or heaps of butter in the recipe. 😉
We’ve made this cake a couple of times since his birthday, and I’m sure it’s going to go in the regular rotation. Just be sure to give yourself time to refrigerate it before serving because it makes a big difference!
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup melted chocolate morsels
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift the flour twice through a stainless steel mesh strainer or flour sifter. Combine the sifted flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the applesauce and turn the mixer on to medium-low speed. Carefully add half the flour mixture, then half the coffee. Let the flour and coffee incorporate, then add the remaining flour and coffee. Mix for one to two more minutes until the cake batter is smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the melted chocolate to the batter. Mix for just one more minute, then turn the mixer off.
- Grease two 9-inch cake pans, then place a circle of parchment in the bottom (you can buy these ready to go, or cut them yourself). Dust the cake pans with a light layer of flour. Evenly distribute the cake batter between the two pans. Tap the pans gently on the counter once or twice to release any air pockets.
- Bake the cake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed slightly.
- Let the cakes cool for ten minutes in the pans, then carefully flip them out of the pans and let them finish cooling completely on a wire cooling rack.
- MAKE THE ICING: Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat at medium speed until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of kosher salt to the butter while it mixes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Increase the speed to medium, and add the peanut butter and cream. Continue mixing for two to three more minutes until the peanut butter is well-incorporated and the icing is light and airy.
- Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cakes. Place one cake on a serving plate and top it with half of the icing, gently spreading it across the top of the cake but not down the sides. Place the second cake on top of the icing, slightly pressing down to help it stay in place. Top the cake with the remaining icing, again gently spreading it across the top but not down the sides.
- (Optional) Finely chop a couple tablespoons of chocolate and sprinkle it across the top of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake at least two hours before serving.
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