Wedding Cake Chronicles Part II: Peanut Butter Chocolate Coma Cake

2014-06-17 00.09.00

So I’m getting better at taking fancy food pictures, by which I mean I applied a dopey looking edge blur effect and still couldn’t be bothered to move my random kitchen crap out of the way. I’m getting there.

Ok, so obviously this cake won’t be a tier of any traditional wedding cake, but I’m still including this cake as part of the Wedding Cake Chronicles because 1) I may use this chocolate cake recipe in the real thing, and 2) I’m contemplating making some other extra cakes for the wedding as alternative options/to accommodate more people than a 3-tier cake can feed.

With that out of the way, I must say: this cake was fucking delicious. But there’s a reason I’ve named it the coma cake–it was ridiculously rich. The first few testers took overly ambitious slices and we all ended up needing afternoon naps. The inspiration for the construction of this cake came from this blog post, though I made some adjustments to the cake recipe, used my own ganache recipe, and used a variation of the Swiss buttercream from my last post. I preferred this chocolate cake over the last one I made–whereas I thought the last one was a bit dry, this one was moist, fudgy and delicious. I’m a little concerned that said moist fudginess means it will not hold up well as a stacked wedding cake, but I will explore that issue later.

 

Ingredients

 Chocolate Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp buttermilk powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups water, room temperature (for “buttermilk”)
  • 1 1/2 cups black coffee, hot
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  •  6 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter*
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

*I accidentally bought “natural” peanut butter, and even though it was “no-stir”, I think the oil may have separated a bit and affected the texture of the frosting. It was still delicious, but it bothered me a bit. This may simply be an issue with peanut butter frosting, but I would try it again with “unnatural” peanut butter.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 9 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream

 

  • peanut butter cups, chopped

 

Step 1: Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to tree fiddy. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans (I prefer Pam for Baking spray) and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In the stand mixer’s bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, water (or buttermilk), coffee, melted butter, and vanilla.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a stand mixer (or hand mixer, if you’re a heathen) until well blended. The batter will be very thin. Split the batter among the three pans. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven and bake for another ~10-15 minutes. Cool the baked layers in their pans for ~20 minutes, then turn them out on cooling racks to cool completely. I had to flip the layers out onto a sheet of parchment paper because the baked cake was so moist and sticky.

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Step 2: Peanut Butter Buttercream

I’m too lazy to write this up. Refer to my previous post for instructions on how to make Swiss meringue buttercream, and adjust for the ingredients listed above.

Step 3: Construction

Once the cake layers have cooled completely, you can start putting shit together. Start with one layer of cake, a smear of buttercream, and a few peanut butter cup pieces. Repeat 1x. Place the final layer on top.

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Wow, this came out blurry. Sorry.

Frost the outside of the cake with dat peanut butter deliciousness. As always, a turntable and bench scraper work wonders here, though I found that the peanut butter made for a much less smooth frosting.

2014-06-16 23.13.48Put the cake in the fridge to chill–this is important, so that the warm ganache doesn’t melt the buttercream and ruin everything.

Step 4: Chocolate Ganache!

While the cake chills, prep the chocolate ganache. Chop the chocolate and put it in a bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over low-medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly.

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Pour the boiling heavy cream over the chopped chocolate and start stirring. Keep stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

2014-06-16 23.45.50  2014-06-16 23.47.11 2014-06-16 23.49.10

Put the warm ganache in the fridge for ~10 minutes. Once it has thickened slightly, remove both the ganache and the cake from the fridge. Give the ganache a quick stir, then pour it slowly into the center of the cooled cake, allowing it to drip over the sides of the cake. When the ganache has settled a bit, top the cake with the remaining chopped peanut butter cups, then return the cake to the fridge to allow the ganache to set completely. DO NOT COVER THE CAKE UNTIL THE GANACHE IS COMPLETELY COOLED (I did this, because I’m an idiot) or else moisture will gather inside the cover and your ganache will look sweaty. On that tasty note, enjoy!

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