Peanut Butter Bourbon Chocolate Cake combines layers of moist and rich chocolate cake with a craveable peanut butter bourbon frosting. Top the whole thing with ganache and peanut butter cups for the ultimate celebratory dessert!
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Happy 2017! We made it, y’all!
So you know how people always swear they’re going to start new, healthy eating habits come January 1? Back on the wagon and all that jazz? Well, I’ve made a similar affirmation….but with a slightly different angle than most. Here are my goals for the new year:
- Drink more champagne. To prevent Alzheimer’s.
- Continue enjoying cocktails. For longevity.
- Eat more chocolate. For cardiovascular health.
- Snack on plenty of cheese. For improved cholesterol levels and its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Add more peanut butter. To prevent heart disease and diabetes.
See? Healthy eating is EASY!
With that in mind, here’s a totally, completely healthy* addition to your new year: Peanut Butter Bourbon Chocolate Cake. Considering the health benefits of peanut butter, booze, and chocolate (see above), this cake is basically a super hero!
(*Healthy is in the eye of the beholder. And your internet search terms.)
This Peanut Butter Bourbon Chocolate Cake was inspired by some of our favorite things.
You got to have your favorites to start the new year right! First, the layers are made of an incredibly decadent and moist chocolate cake from Brown Eyed Baker that I can’t stop eating. We use this recipe every time we make a chocolate cake now, regardless of frosting or filling variations. It’s just that good.
Next, we had to use this peanut butter bourbon frosting from Butterlust, which has made a previous appearance in our Drunk in the Kitchen Brownies, It’s thick and rich, with just the right amount of bourbon to mellow out its sweetness. If you don’t want to include alcohol, you can skip it and use a little milk instead. But for those who like bourbon, well, let’s just say don’t skimp on that ingredient. (Another type of whiskey will work in a pinch as well.)
Finally, we followed Brown Eyed Baker’s lead in topping our Peanut Butter Bourbon Chocolate Cake with layer of chocolate ganache and a healthy pile of peanut butter cups. Ummmm, yes and yes.
Peanut Butter Bourbon Chocolate Cake is not for the faint of heart.
It’s a tall and towering thing of beauty, perfect for a birthday or special celebration. (May we recommend pinning for Valentine’s Day? That certain someone will obviously love you forever.) Our Peanut Butter Bourbon Chocolate Cake takes a bit of time to make, but just remember: (1) it’s totally worth it, and (2) you can streamline the process by making the cake in advance. I like to bake the cake layers a week or so ahead of time, wrap them well in plastic and foil, then freeze. To defrost, let the layers sit overnight in the refrigerator. You can frost and decorate it while cold as well (although not frozen) – just let the cake come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.
No matter your diet goals in 2017, I’m pretty sure you’ll find a slice of this Peanut Butter Bourbon Chocolate Cake is worth it. We can’t wait to share more delicious, decadent, occasionally healthy, but always crave-worthy, recipes with you this year!
- 2½ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 4½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons bourbon (you can substitute milk or a different whiskey)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- About 20 mini peanut butter cups, chopped
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- About 10 mini peanut butter cups
- Start by spraying 3 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, cut to fit. Spray again, then dust the inside of the pans with flour. Tap out excess flour.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and hot coffee, then add the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk well to combine. (The hot coffee will warm up the buttermilk, allowing everything to mix better. If you use all cold ingredients, the oil will turn a weird consistency. Use hot coffee, or you can use room temperature coffee, buttermilk, and eggs.)
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Pour the batter into the cake pans, splitting it as evenly as possible between the three pans. (A kitchen scale is helpful here - weigh the pans to make sure they all have about the same amount of batter. But it doesn't have to be exact, and eyeballing is acceptable.)
- Bake cake pans for about 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven. About halfway through baking, rotate the pans on the oven racks so they cook evenly. They are done cooking when a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs - but not wet with batter.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 20 minutes on a wire rack. Then carefully remove from pans and let cool completely on the rack.
- In a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl, beat together peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add bourbon and vanilla; continue beating until incorporated.
- Add the confectioner's sugar a little at a time, and beat on medium-high speed for a couple minutes until nice and fluffy. If the frosting seems stiff, add a little extra bourbon or milk and beat again.
- Place a (completely cool) cake layer on a cake plate. Top with about a cup of frosting and smooth evenly. Sprinkle with about 10 chopped peanut butter cups.
- Place the second cake layer on top. Spread with another cup or so of frosting. Sprinkle with another 10 chopped peanut butter cups.
- Top with final layer of cake. Spread the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.
- Refrigerate cake for about an hour. The frosting should be cold and set.
- Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl.
- Microwave the cream until quite hot. (Or, you can heat the cream on the stovetop until just simmering.)
- Pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for a couple minutes, then gently stir. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, pop the mixing bowl in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir gently again, repeating as necessary.
- Let ganache cool until thick but pourable.
- Take the cake out of the refrigerator. Slowly pour chocolate ganache over the top of the frosting, allowing some to drip down the sides.
- Top with an additional 10 chopped peanut butter cups. I like to pile them in the middle, or you can sprinkle them evenly over the top.
- Refrigerate cake to set the ganache, and keep chilled for storage.
- To serve, let the cake sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then slice and eat. Or, you can cut the cake while cold, then let the slices sit at room temperature for about ten minutes. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Can’t get enough of that peanut butter bourbon frosting? Me neither! Try our Drunk in the Kitchen Brownies for more.