For as much as I love peanut butter, it’s pretty surprising that I’ve never attempted a peanut butter cake before now. I think I’ve tried to put peanut butter into just about every other baked good that I can think of, but it never occurred to me to make a peanut butter cake, doh! Last weekend, my husband took a bite of one of my ice cream cone cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and asked if peanut butter cake was a thing, and could I make one with chocolate frosting?
Yes, and yes!
I started researching peanut butter cakes and came across quite a few recipes that ran the gamut on the peanut butter spectrum. I usually prefer cakes that include oil, as they tend to be more tender and a bit fluffier. I did see a few peanut butter cakes that included oil, but the descriptions all seemed to err on the side of “subtle” peanut butter flavor. I wasn’t in the market for subtle – I wanted to take a bite of the cake and feel like I just dug into the peanut butter jar.
In the end, I settled on the version that appears in the Joy the Baker cookbook – it had the highest amount of peanut butter by a long shot. The cake is on the dense side, but moist and extremely flavorful. It was a fantastic choice! I topped it with Joy’s chocolate buttercream frosting, which was also great.
If you adore peanut butter and chocolate as much as I do, then you’re going to LOVE this cake! It’s full of great flavor and an extra sprinkling of honey roasted peanuts for good measure.
Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between additions and scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding the next.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture. Slowly pour in all of the buttermilk. When the mixture begins to come together, add the remaining flour mixture, beating on low speed just until the mixture comes together. Using a rubber spatula, finish mixing the batter, ensuring that there are no pockets of flour remaining.
Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes. Place the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Make the Frosting: With an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the cocoa powder and salt and beat at medium speed until thoroughly creamed together (mixture will be thick). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix on low speed while adding the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.
In a 2-cup measuring cup (or small bowl), stir together the heavy cream and Ovaltine. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour half of the mixture into the frosting in a steady stream. Once all of the cream is incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the frosting is too stiff, you can add a little more of the Ovaltine mixture a small amount at a time until your desired consistency is reached (for this cake, I would recommend not adding much more than half of the mixture, as the frosting could become too soft). Once your desired consistency is reached, turn the mixer on medium-high speed and whip for 30 seconds.
Assemble the Cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter and spread with 2 cups of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer, then use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Press the chopped honey roasted peanuts into the icing around the sides of the cake. Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.