Making this cake was a lot harder than I expected. The baking part was easy, trying to decide which chocolate recipe to use...well... that was more difficult than it should've been. Originally, I was going to make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake after seeing it on Smitten Kitchen. The only problem was, after I scanned through the recipe, I noticed that there was only 1/2 cup of cocoa for 2 cups of flour and a lot of liquid. I can't stand it when there's only a hint of chocolate flavour in chocolate cakes. Deb also said in her comments section that this cake wasn't as chocolatey compared to others. Still, the pairing of peanut butter cream cheese frosting + chocolate was too good too pass so I searched for another cake recipe. The only problem was that everyone claimed to have the 'best' version. I narrowed it down to only butter based because I find that the crumb seems finer than oil based cakes, which are coarser. I also prefer cakes made with both cocoa and chocolate because without the actual chocolate, it seems like that extra decadence and depth of flavour is missing. At the same time I had to make sure I didn't cross into brownie territory with the richness.
I decided to make the chocolate cake from CI's chocolate blackout cake. This is a cocoa based recipe, but I wanted to try it because it was a little different. The cocoa was heated and everything was done in one pot with a whisk. I've never made a 'one bowl' cake recipe because I've always been sceptical about them. There has to be a reason why we have to cream butter and sugar or ribbon eggs and sugar together...right? Plus, what if I'm not a good whisker!! Being a huge peanut butter lover, I was a little disappointed when I didn't like the frosting. There was just a little too much going on for me with the tanginess, saltiness and sweetness. The cake was moist and a little fudgy + dense, although that's not suprising because the butter was melted and everything was whisked by hand. I think it might have benefitted from some melted chocolate, although heating the cocoa defintely brought out more flavour. Overall, the cake part was good, but not the best chocolate cake I've eaten.
Chocolate Blackout Cake
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for dusting pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Table salt
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
1 cup granulated sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. For the cake layers: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans (I used 3 8 inch pans because I didn't not crumble one layer). Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in flour mixture.
3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.
(This cake is originally written to be a chocolate blackout cake, so that's why 2 8 inch pans were used to get 4 layers. I didn't crumble one layer for my cake so I divided the batter into 3 8 inch pans to get 3 layers)
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 out)
1. 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.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.