Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting & Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze

I’ve learned that, no matter what you've read elsewhere, when it all boils down, there are only two kinds of cakes. Really. 

There are nice, sweet, fun, sentimental cakes, like the kind that you grew up eating. You are comfortable with these cakes and rely on them to be your go-to desserts. They complement any party or are simply nice companions for when you want to wolf them down all by yourself. These cakes are delicious. I love these cakes.

Then there are cakes that demand your attention. They don’t want to merely sit on a table at your party and act as a decoration; they kick the door down and announce, “I am here. Eat me NOW”. You stare wide-eyed, because you can’t believe that there actually exists a cake such as this. That one day someone decided that yes, yes you can take a chocolate sour cream cake, make three of them, stack them together, surrounded by peanut butter cream cheese frosting and THEN pour a peanut butter ganache over the entire thing.

If you, like me, believe that chocolate and peanut butter are perfect together, belong together, were meant to be together, then you must make this cake.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting & Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
From Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, by Alisa Huntsman & Peter Wynne
but first gawked at and drooled over at Smitten Kitchen

Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean, or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1-1/2 cups water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs 

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (commercial brand, not all-natural)

1) In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1-1/2 cups

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1) In the top of a double boiler, or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2) Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, whisking until smooth.


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2) Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the three prepared cake pans.

3) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

*Optional* Assembling and decorating layer cakes is much easier when working with frozen layers. After cooling the cake wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze for a minimum of 30 minutes to overnight.

1) Place one layer flat side up on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. 

*Optional* A crumb coat (a thin layer of frosting that, when set, binds the dark cake crumbs to the cake so they don't mix into the light frosting when spread over the cake) is recommended. After the crumb coat is spread, chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating.

2) To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips (it helps if you have refrigerated the cake before pouring the glaze on; the cooler the cake is, the slower the glaze will dribble down creating a nicer visual drip effect). Refrigerate,uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.


  1. lisa! yours looks gorgeous! i have this bookmarked as well from smitten kitchen, so amazing. Im sure you had a few fans from whomever you made this for!

  2. i want it so bad! its official, if i ever move out of nyc, i'm gonna be your neighbor, so i can try all of your delicious treats!

  3. It's a deal, Joseph! You move to LA, I will cook for you :-)

  4. OH MAN!! It makes my mouth water just looking at the pictures. I don't think I could control my urge to dive straight in if I were there with you!