Yesterday marked my sixth month work anniversary. I still miss being home and at my family's beck and call. I'm exhausted from trying to get everything done while feeling what I am doing isn't enough. Then there is tomorrow: that marks our three month countdown till Christopher's deployment. Bummer. I know when the times comes I will be able to handle it but right now it doesn't feel that way.
On a happier note, tomorrow is also a co-worker's birthday. Yeah! It's a great reason to bake something yummy and this cake is to die for! It’s moist, rich, decadent and a little piece goes a long way. Grab a glass of milk.
2 cups all purpose flour
2-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1-1/2 cups water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
PEANUT BUTTER ICING
10 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER GANACHE
8 oz semisweet chocolate
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. Place cake layers in freezer while you make the icing.
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. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Place cake in refrigerator while you make the ganache.
In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.
To decorate simply pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.