It is my brother’s birthday today. And I was not going to make a healthy cake, rather quite the opposite, an indulgent cake. I asked him what cake he wanted and he said anything chocolate would do.
So, off I went on my research looking for the best chocolate cake recipe out there. I came across many chocolate cake recipes that not only looked great but also had great reviews. So, it was difficult selecting the ideal chocolate cake recipe. In the end, I used a combination of a few recipes to make my chocolate cake.
I have also always wanted to make a drip cake. So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. For the cake frosting, I decided to make a peanut butter frosting as I am obsessed with peanut butter and thought peanut butter would be the perfect complement to chocolate.
So, here it is, my indulgent chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache recipe. I hope you enjoy it.
Warning: This recipe is not for the faint hearted, it requires a lot of patience, effort and love!
Makes a four layered 20 cm round cake – enough to feed 12 very hungry people, if not more.
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 1 cup butter, melted;
- 2 cups brown sugar;
- 4 eggs, whisked;
- 3.5 cups self raising plain flour, sifted;
- 2 cups milk;
- 1.5 cups cocoa powder;
- 2 tsp salt;
- 1 tsp baking powder;
- 2 tsp vanilla essence;
- 1.5 cups hot water;
- 1.5 tsp espresso powder;
For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
- 200g butter, at room temperature;
- 500g smooth peanut butter (I used peanut butter with salt. If your peanut butter does not have salt, add 2 tsp of salt when making the frosting);
- 5 cups icing/powdered sugar;
- 2 tsp vanilla essence;
- 10 tbsp milk;
For the Chocolate Ganache:
- 200g dark chocolate melts;
- 1 cup thickened cream;
For the cake topping/decoration:
- Caramel popcorn;
- Maltesers/Malt milk chocolate balls;
- Salted pretzels;
The Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Butter/grease two 20 cm round baking trays. Mix the espresso powder with hot water;
- In a large bowl, mix the melted butter with the brown sugar until they are well combined;
- Add the whisked eggs to the butter-sugar mixture and mix thoroughly;
- Add 1 cup of flour to the mixture and mix well. Add another cup of flour and mix well;
- Add 1 cup of milk to the mixture and mix well. Add the remaining 1.5 cups of flour to mixture and mix well. Add the remaining 1 cup of milk and mix well;
- Add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of the espresso hot water mixture and mix well. Continue this alternative process of mixing cocoa powder and espresso hot water mixture until there is no cocoa powder or espresso hot water mixture left;
- Add the vanilla essence, salt and baking powder to the mixture until well combined;
- Evenly pour the cake mixture into the two prepared baking trays;
- Place the baking trays in the oven and bake for an hour or until the centre of cake is cooked
- Allow the baked cakes to rest and cool.
The Peanut Butter Frosting
- Beat the butter with an electric beater until nice and fluffy;
- Add the peanut butter and vanilla essence to the butter and continue to beat until well combined;
- Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time to the butter mixture and mix with the electric beater;
- Add the milk 1 tbsp at a time to the mixture and beat until fluffy. Do not over beat the mixture, otherwise the mixture will start splitting and would not be the correct consistency for frosting the cake.
The Chocolate Ganache
- Place the thickened cream in a saucepan and place it on a stove on medium heat and allow to cream to boil. Remove the cream from the stove when bubbles start to form;
- Place the chocolate melts in the cream and mix rigorously until well combined and smooth;
- Allow to chocolate ganache to cool.
- Using a knife or cake leveller to level the cakes. Then, cut through the middle of the cake depth wise to ensure there are two layers of each cake making four layers of cake in total;
- Place the first layer of the cake on a cake board. Then add peanut butter frosting onto the first cake layer using a spatula or piping bag until surface of cake is covered in frosting. Then, add a second layer of cake and repeat the frosting process;
- Repeat this process until all four cake layers are stacked;
- Then, it is time crumb coat the cake with peanut butter frosting. I mainly used a spatula to coat the cake with frosting. Depending how thick you want your frosting, you can add another layer of frosting after the crumb coat layer. I did not add another layer of frosting after the crumb coat layer as I did not want too much frosting on the cake;
- Before putting the chocolate ganache on the cake, I placed the frosted cake in the fridge for an hour or so for the frosting to firm up;
- Make sure the chocolate ganache has cooled down before pouring the ganache on the cake. I poured a little ganache on the top of the frosted cake and used a spatula to spread the ganache on the cake. Add more ganache if it is insufficient to cover the top of the cake;
- For the drip effect, I used a tomato sauce bottle filled with the chocolate ganache and allowed the ganache to drip off the side of the cake by going along the edge of the cake with the bottle. Of course, you can just pour extra ganache onto the top of the cake and allow the excess ganache to drip off the side of the cake. But I wanted the drips to be more refined, so I used this technique;
- Then it was time to decorate the cake. I just used some caramel popcorn, crushed pretzels and maltesers and placed these on the top of the cake to create the design I wanted. You can be as creative as you want with this! I found this part of the cake decorating the most fun;
- Enjoy the cake with a few friends and family. (It will be gone in minutes!)
I hope you enjoy making this cake as much I did.
Happy baking 🙂