Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic pair that appeals to many, and I get it. They work well together like two old pals who have seen each other’s best and worst times and totally understand where they are in this present moment. That’s how in tune they are when used in one dish. This cake takes advantage of chocolate and peanut butter’s awesome relationship. The final result is rich and decadent, so take it from me when I say that one slice goes a long way.
Let’s just get this part on the table. This cake starts with a box mix. I made a few adjustments to add a little more flavor (thanks vanilla, butter and espresso!) and adjust the final texture (thanks pudding mix and eggs!), so the cake could be a bit more complex and really stand up to the thick peanut butter frosting. The frosting is a basic buttercream with the addition of creamy peanut butter, then there is a pile of chopped honey roasted peanuts on top. Almost everyone who sampled immediately referenced a Reese’s peanut butter cup, so if you add this to your “must try” list, that’s what you can expect.
- Floured baking spray
- 1 box chocolate cake mix (15.25 ounces)
- 3 ounces dry chocolate pudding mix
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ teaspoons espresso powder
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 4 eggs
- ⅔ cup chopped honey roasted peanuts
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- 6-8 tablespoons
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8" round cake pans with floured baking spray.
- For the cake, pour the cake mix and chocolate pudding mix into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk until combined.
- Pour the water, vanilla and espresso powder into a medium bowl, and whisk until combined. Add the water mixture, melted butter and eggs to the dry ingredients, and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cakes from their pans, and cool completely on cooling racks. Trim the top of the cakes, so they are flat. Discard the excess cake.*
- While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Place the peanut butter, butter and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until creamy and well combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until smooth. Add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is just loose enough to spread. Feel free to add more milk if you prefer a thinner frosting.
- Frost the cakes as desired, and top with honey roasted peanuts.
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