They teach you not to judge a cake by it’s cover, but this cake is truly as delicious as it looks.
It’s been a while since I baked a cake. I don’t bake cakes that often, but whenever I do this recipe comes to mind. It’s a recipe for Luscious Chocolate Cake from Lori Longbotham’s Luscious Chocolate Desserts. Almost all of the recipes I have tried from her book have been mind-blowingly good (the only exception being Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies, which sadly I hated). This cake has been great every time I’ve made it.
This chocolate frosting is appropriately titled, “luscious”. It’s velvety smooth, probably because it has a frightening amount of butter in it, but what icing recipe doesn’t? It takes longer than most other icing recipes, but it is completely worth it.
I usually use the chocolate icing for the middle layer as the recipe instructs, but this time I wanted to add a peanut butter kick. Of course when I went to make my fail-safe peanut butter icing recipe, I was out of one of the ingredients: cream cheese! What’s a girl to do?
So I made up my own peanut butter icing recipe. This is not for the faint of heart – it is SUPER peanut buttery, but not too heavy – it meshed well with the cake and the light smooth chocolate icing.
I also decorated the cake with sliced Nutter Butters as a way of showing anyone out there that you can make an impressive looking cake even if you have zero icing piping skills. Go to the grocery store and find some fun shaped cookies, candies or even just crumble up some chocolate wafers to coat your cake. It will look beautiful and no one will know that you took the easy way out.
By the way, this cake was made for a party last night and was gone in minutes. It was a hit.
The altered cake recipe from Lori Longbottom’s book is after the break, including my peanut butter icing recipe. You should go order Lori’s book asap because she is a serious chocolate lover who was kind enough to share some crazy delicious recipes.
Luscious Chocolate Cake
(altered from Luscious Chocolate Desserts by Lori Longbotham)
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder (I used Askinosie)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
2 oz semisweet chocolate curls
16 Nutter Butters for garnish, cut in half
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour two 9-by-2 inch round cake pans.
2. Whisk the cocoa and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large deep bowl until well blended; the mixture will be dry. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with teh flour, just until well blended. Add the cocoa mixture and blend well. Gently add the chocolate curls. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
4. Bake 40 min (mine finished faster, and yours will too if you use dark cake pans) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 20 min, then invert the cakes onto the racks. Turn the cakes right side up and when completely cool and slice just enough off the top with a serrated knife so the cake is nice and flat.
5. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of the peanut butter icing evenly over the layer. Top with the remaining cake layer and frost with the chocolate frosting. It’s okay to pile the icing on top of the cake, but don’t make the icing too thick on the sides because your nutter butters could slide. A thin layer will make a nice “glue” for them. Decorate cake with Nutter Butters.
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet which went well with the peanut butter)
2 T water
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temp
1. Melt the chocolate with water in a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of about 1 1/2 inches of nearly simmering water, whisking until smooth. Transfer to a large deep bowl.
2. Heat the sugar with the egg yoks in another heatproof bowl over the same saucepan of nearly simmering water, whisking constantly for about 4 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch. Whisk the sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture, add the vanilla, and beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture has cooled to room temp. If your mixture is still really hot, let it sit a little longer or your icing will be too liquidy. Beat in the butter one piece at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
Peanut Butter Icing
Makes 2 cups (you only need one cup to fill the inside of this cake, so cut the recipe in half)
5 oz butter, room temp
2/3 cup smooooooth peanut butter (I used Jif)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp milk (I didn’t have whole so I used 2%)
1. Beat butter and peanut butter until well blended. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until combined. Add the milk and beat until smooth.