This Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting is finished with a Rum Drizzle. It’s fantastic!
Did you know that March 25th has been deemed Chocolate Peanut Butter Day. I’m not sure who makes up a calendar that dedicates days to food but I’m all for it. If you do just a bit of discovery you would find that there is a food celebrated every day of the year. The beauty of this particular day is that it’s not just one food; it’s two that are meant to be married.
Something about a rich dark chocolate co-mingling with a fluffy peanut butter buttercream and a divine convergence comes into play. Add a tempting brown sugar and rum drizzle and we’re celebrating big time with this Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting.
Getting to this point, the celebration of all things peanut butter and chocolatey was not an easy one for me this year. Oh, I had the best of intentions and I even had a plan put into play but things started to go awry from the get go. Of some significance? Despite a fairly well stocked pantry, I had no smooth peanut butter as I got ready to prepare the frosting. DRAT! I considered both whirring some in a blender or running to the store but I made it easy on myself and called my neighbors Heather and Kevin. They have four kids…how could they not have peanut butter? I was right but it’s funny; the HUGE stash they keep? It’s for Kevin! Loved hearing that this dad of four still takes PB&J sandwiches to work he loves the stuff so much. And I’m glad he does; one obstacle met and he even delivered!
So, two days and cake is done and in the freezer (I think it easiest to brush off the crumbs if it’s frozen) and frosting and drizzle are made. First order of business is to frost the cake. I had cut the layers in half so I would be frosting four layers and it sure seemed I was making a lot of frosting; really it did. But it wasn’t enough. OK, no biggie (I’ve revised the recipe too so there is plenty). Thankfully I had borrowed Kevin’s stash. SO grateful he decided to send me the monster can or I would have been in the same boat as before. I knew I would owe him big but thinking a huge slice of the finished cake might suffice right? (Which it did nicely. Whew.).
Finally. Cake done. Frosting Done. Cake Frosted. Setup for photos done. Cake in place. Plates were ready and drizzle about to be poured. All good and ready to go. I had a nice Italian tile leaning against my wood frame easel for a background and another for the tabletop. I went behind the easel to get my camera’s remote switch and when I did I just barely brushed the easel. The easel just barely moved the big Italian tile and the tile fell forward onto the cake plate. I heard the noise first and I think I sobbed before even looking.
Call me very lucky. The plate was destroyed (and I loved that plate) but the tile had fallen forward and just fell on the edge of the plate so although my cake was sitting cockeyed and looked destroyed, all was not lost. The back was a bit messed up but the cake was fully intact and the front looked perfect and after I had a small meltdown I got back to work to clean up the mess and fix the cake and start over.
I was tired and I wanted to be done but instead of taking a break I decided to just forge ahead. I was using a different camera card than normal. I couldn’t find my plug n’ play card reader or my normal memory card and I honestly blamed my cat; thinking he had decided to 1. Play with something of mine for the first time ever and 2. Was able to pull the card reader out of the PC slot. It had to be, it was simply the ONLY solution! So I picked up a different card, took my requisite number of shots (meaning WAY too many) and then finally was able to get off my feet for a bit and get to work on processing photos.
Except they weren’t on the card. Seriously…was I losing my mind? I could see them when the card was in my camera but not when the card was plugged into my computer. Luckily a fix was had by simply connecting my camera to my PC and yes, there they were on that same card. Weird huh. And by the way, for those of you who know and love Peyton; he was wrongly accused. When I went to plug in the connection for the camera, I noticed the reader and the card under the PC; no big surprise as I had re-arranged my office this past weekend and was moving everything. I hope he’ll forgive me. But how will I know?
Enough? Yes. And thankfully it ended there. I finished my work, neighbors dropped by after I sent out an SOS for ‘eaters’ and several friends took home the majority of the deliciousness and things have remained normal for at least an hour. I’m certain tomorrow will be a better day. For one thing I will have cake for breakfast! This cake is definitely rich and totally divine.
I’ve always loved the cake and have made it before; the espresso is not really evident in taste so much as it is one way to boost the chocolate flavor and that it does. The frosting? Absolutely amazing. I might have tested it more than really necessary (hmm, maybe why I ran out?). Love all things peanut butter and chocolate? Then put this cake on your calendar. It’s not hard as long as you don’t plan to take any photos with Italian tiles nearby. 🙂
For the Cake
- 2 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa (LOVE Valrhona Cocoa but can only find it if I ask the coffee barista at Whole Foods!)
- 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 cups golden brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water (Available at my local Whole Foods; I used Medaglia D'oro)
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tsp dark rum
- 3 tsp vanilla
- 6 Tbsp heavy cream
For the Rum Drizzle
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Dark Rum
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
To Make the Cake Layers:
- Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- Sift 2 cups cake flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
- Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
- Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition.
- Gradually add hot espresso-water mixture, beating just until smooth.
- Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; lift pans off cakes and remove parchment. Place wire rack atop each cake, invert again so top side is up.
- Cool completely.
- Mark each cake layer with toothpicks halfway up the sides; use the toothpicks as a guide to cut each cake layer in half.
To Make the Frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on high for one minute.
- Add the rum and vanilla and mix in.
- Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth; scraping the sides. Beat for 3 minutes on high. Use immediately
For the Rum Drizzle:
- Put all of the ingredients into a medium size saucepan. Heat until bubbly and cook for one minute. Cool completely.
Putting it all together:
- Spread a tablespoon of frosting in the middle of your cake plate to help hold cake in place. Brush crumbs from one cake layer and put in the middle of the plate. Drizzle one Tablespoon of rum drizzle over cake layer and spread 1 and 1/2 cups of frosting on cake, smoothing to edges. Repeat with all layers. I used the back of a small spoon to even the frosting along the edges but that's really optional.
- Swirl frosting over top of cake and either pipe rosettes in the center of the cake on the top or dollop additional frosting and swirl in center.
- Gently pour rum drizzle over cake; letting pool on top and drip down the sides. Serve.