I must say right off – this cake should only be made if you have loads of time on your hands. Since I have beginner-intermediate level of experience with baking cakes, it took all day plus a night. However, I’ve wanted to make this cake ever since I got my Pinterest account two years ago, so when I got school off for Thanskgiving break I jumped at my chance. I actually didn’t love the looks of the cake called for in the original recipe when I made it, so I decided to make Abby’s fabulous chocolate cake just in case.
Yep, that’s right! I’m finally posting Abby’s to-die-for blue ribbon chocolate cake!
Also, the original cake called for a meringue layer. Hm. It sounded delicious and daunting at the same time. The first attempt I made at it was when I spread all of the meringue in one cake round shape on the parchment paper. It was decidedly thick and didn’t dry all the way through during the hour and forty-five minutes it was drying in the oven at 200°. The middle got all sticky, gooey, and gross, so I took another swing at it and spread the new meringue almost to the size of a cookie pan. I baked it at 250° for 30 minutes and decreased to 200° for another 15 minutes. The result was not unlike the texture of thin foam, but the the vanilla flavor melted in my mouth. However, the next day, the meringue was chewy and not the lovely melt-in-mouth texture it was the day before.
That was probably much more information about my meringue struggles than you cared to hear, but it was all said because though I will include the meringue layer in the recipe, I highly recommend making it optional unless you already know how to make a foolproof meringue.
Otherwise, this cake is so much fun! The crunchy peanut butter layer combined with the chocolate cake is probably my favorite part. It all reminds me of a rich cake version of Reese’s peanut butter cups.
An assembly tip: Once you start to put the cake together, it you put the cake on a plate that has a slightly risen rim like mine does, put an un-leveled top half of the cake upside-down on the bottom. That way there is a flat and sturdy surface to build the rest of the layers on.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake
2 egg whites,
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Whip the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and the vanilla, continue to whip on high until the whites are shiny with stiff peaks
Spread the whites on the parchment paper in a circle the size of the cake pans. Bake for about 2 hours until the meringue is dried out.
3/4 cup water
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Line desired pan with parchment or wipe with vegetable oil and dust with cocoa powder.
- In a large bowl, beat water, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla with a mixer on low speed.
- Add dry ingredients and beat for 5 minutes on low speed, until thoroughly combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake accordingly, a 13×9″ pan will take about 40-50 minutes. Two 8-inch rounds take about 40 minutes. Do not overbake.
Peanut Butter Frosting Layer
1 cup peanut butter, creamy
1 1/2 cup powder sugar
1 1/2 cup rice krispies
Whip the peanut butter and the powder sugar together until fluffy. Gently fold in the rice krispies.
Milk Chocolate Frosting Layer
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 -2 Tbls cream
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup powder sugar
Warm the milk chocolate chips in a bowl over steaming water (or for few seconds in the microwave, but be very careful not to burn the chocolate). Add in the cream cheese, the cream and the powder sugar; whip until fluffy. Add in more cream if the frosting is too thick.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 cup dark chocolate (pick a good dark chocolate bar, chopped, or chips)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Assemble the cake first and then make this ganache so you can pour over the cake while the ganache is still warm. Put the chocolate in a bowl and heat the cream until it is steaming but do not boil. Pour over the chocolate and allow it to melt the chocolate for a minute. Mix it all together until smooth. Add more cream if the mixture is too thick.
Putting the cake and frosting layers together
Remove the cakes from the cake pan, slice the cakes horizontally so that you have 4 layers. Place one layer on a cake tray, slather half of the milk chocolate frosting on top. Place another cake layer on top of the chocolate frosting, top with the meringue and then top with the peanut butter frosting.
Add another layer of chocolate cake, the remaining chocolate frosting and then the final chocolate cake layer. The final step is to drizzle the warm ganache over the top of the cake, allowing some of the ganache to drizzle down the sides.
(Today’s recipes and steps for “Meringue”, “Peanut Butter Frosting Layer”, “Milk Chocolate Frosting Layer”, “Dark Chocolate Ganache”, and the step “Putting the cake and frosting layers together” are all directly from Fat and Happy Blog)