The weather here lately in the northeast has been very rainy and at times tropical. Yesterday was no exception. Trying to capture the lusciousness of this cake in weather that is more changeable than a moody teen, was challenging. In the end, it worked out well. I didn't want a cake as large as the recipe, so I halved the recipe and made it in a 6x4 inch cake pan. I then sliced the cake into 3 layers and assembled it according to the recipe. The only deviation was spreading the glaze on the entire cake versus letting it spill over in long luxurious drips. That takes me back to the weather...the drips just didn't drip too well. The glaze did spread over the entire cake very nicely though, and it looked and tasted perfectly. Outside, the rain pelted down as we celebrated. Later that night the wind whirled around as trees were downed and we lost our electricity. I was starting to think I should have built an ark instead of baking a cake, but after one taste of this rich and delicate cake, I think Noah would have approved.
This cake is moist and delicate with the cream cheese lightened Peanut Butter Frosting. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze brings both tastes together as it drips down the sides or is glazed on top of the frosting.
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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.
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 3 prepared cake pans.
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.
To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup 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.
To decorate with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. 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. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle. (I used chopped peanuts.)
Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate)
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, 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.
Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
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.
Written and photographed by Diane.