8.25.2017

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Okay, friends. The wait is over. 

Here we go... 

I'm finally sharing my cake recipes. 

Yep. 


Luscious chocolate cake layers made with my sure-fire cake recipe, and the most amazing peanut butter buttercream you can ever imagine. This cake is perfect for the ultimate peanut butter chocolate lover in your life! 

It's been a long time coming to this. I've had so much anxiety about this, really. I'm sure most of you have heard my story leading up to this moment. I used to share my recipes all the time; mostly foodie recipes. But when it came to my frosting recipes, I let a couple out, slowly, and things seemed to be going well.

Until one of my treasured original buttercream recipes was stolen, used, published, praised, without my name on it anywhere. I'm talking the EXACT RECIPE measurements and directions. Fun stuff, right? I love when others try my recipes, seriously, I do. But I feel like there's a pretty bold line between making the recipe for fun to enjoy and share, and using it to get gain (cookbooks, blogland fame, bakeries, etc) without giving me a nod for my time in the kitchen developing said original recipes. 

I've gotten a lot of flack for sharing all my cakes on my Instagram starting this year, without sharing the recipes. And I've been pretty open about why I haven't shared them so far. Some bigger blogger or bakery will find it, use it, claim it as their own, publish it, and because I felt like I was lesser known, I will fade into the background while the recipe becomes theirs. Also, I was having an identity crisis, thinking maybe I'd open a bakery, or publish an exclusive cookbook someday, and didn't want my recipes to get out yet. 

Until now. 

I did an Instagram LIVE a couple days ago and spilled all the beans. Recipes, techniques, anything you wanted to learn about my baking. It was a total blast, and I was so humbled by how well my recipe "Secrets" were received. Thank you so much, you guys. I had so much anxiety about it beforehand, and you all have been amazing. 

I'd like to share my recipes with you on a more regular basis. I promise they are my treasures. They work. They are crazy delicious in countless ways. And they are all mine - I haven't copied or adapted them from another baker's blog, another cake blog, etc. This is me. 

Sure, I'll still make cakes for people, but will limit my orders to a couple a week while I baby this blog back into life. Lots of new things are headed this way for my piece of Baking with Blondie land, but for now, I thought I'd drop a cake & buttercream recipe here and there to keep us all happy, eh? :) 


First, lets talk about the elephant in the room. 

When you look at my recipe list of ingredients below, you'll notice something that may make you run in a different direction and (to some) make me lose all credibility as a baker. 

"cake mix"

HOLD THE PHONE. 

Baking with Blondie uses a cake mix!? FREAKING WHAT THE HECK IS SHE THINKING. 

FROM SCRATCH IS BEST, right?

Well, sometimes. 

If you are a hard-core "I'm-never-going-to-use-a-cake-mix" person, have an open mind with me here for a second. 

Please still love me! haha


I hate the typical back-of-the-box recipe. You add in a couple eggs, oil, and call it good. Light, too airy, dry, and not the best texture. 

Unless you add in some sour cream, buttermilk, extra egg whites, and good quality vanilla...

magic happens, you guys. 

I've tried my recipes next to some of the most praised cake recipes out there (Sweetapolita, cough, love her, but everyone uses her recipe, or adaptations of it, and quite frankly... there's an easier and tastier way to get the "made from scratch" taste without having to use a bazillion egg whites and extra ingredients). 

Welcome to my sure-fire cake mix recipe formula:

1. CAKE MIX: I use Duncan Hines. I've tried my method with Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, etc, and it just wasn't the same. Sift the cake mix before using it to get out all the pieces that have clumped together. 

2. SOUR CREAM: I use full-fat sour cream in my cakes, and always go for the Darigold brand (can be found mostly everywhere here in the states, but I usually get mine in the large container from Costco). 

3. BUTTERMILK: Yep. This is the stinkiest stuff you'll ever lay nose on, but dang, it sure makes a mean cake. You can use the real stuff from the milk section, or you can add vinegar or lemon juice to whole milk and wait for it to curdle before using it (about 5 minutes). 

4. VANILLA: Use the best quality vanilla you can find. I get it, vanilla is expensive. But I'm telling you, the taste of the better stuff is everything. 

5. EGG WHITES: For my white cakes and lemon cakes, I use 4 egg whites, and zero egg yolks. For my red velvet and chocolate, I do 1 egg white and 4 whole eggs. More on that later. 

6: OIL: I use vegetable oil. I've tried using grapeseed oil (if you want to pay an arm and a leg, ugh), or canola oil, and it just wasn't the same. Olive oil is way too strong of a taste. Stick with the veggie oil, or I've also used melted butter and it's worked fine. 

I add in other things for flavor enhancement, but these are the core ingredients to all my cake recipes. 

See? 

Still want to dog on me for using a cake mix? There's a difference between using a cake mix, or USING your cake mix as an ingredient to compliment the other 5 ingredients you're going to add to it. Still with me? haha. 

So, if you're in doubt, I promise you - I've fed my cakes to TV producers, die-hard cake-from-scratch lovers, and the most skeptical pastry chefs I know, and they have absolutely raved about my cakes and have begged for the recipes the second they take a first bite. The cakes I've made using these 5 ingredients plus the cake mix have been raved as "the best cake I've ever had" almost every time I serve it to anyone. I promise, there's a reason I keep using these recipes! 

So welcome to my new cake revolution - using a cake mix in my recipes. 


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
makes 3x 5" cake rounds (small cake, serves 6-8), 
or 2x 8" cake rounds (I usually double this recipe to make my medium cake, serves 12-18)

ingredients:

chocolate cake: 
1 Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake Mix
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
3 eggs + 1 egg white
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/3 Cup vegetable oil 
(I toss in 1/4 C sifted cake flour to my batter here for our high altitude)
optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon or nescafe 
*for more of a deep chocolate flavor, add in 1/4 Cup of cocoa powder and a handful of chocolate chips! 



chocolate ganache:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream (I love the Darigold brand)

reeses peanut butter cups
ghiradelli mini chocolate chips


method:

chocolate cake: 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 (325 for convection ovens like mine). In a large bowl, sift cake mix and set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, oil, buttermilk, eggs plus egg white, vanilla, until mixture is uniform throughout. 
3. Pour wet ingredients into the sifted cake mix and whisk by hand until just combined (don't overmix). 
4. Divide cake batter into prepared baking pans. Spread with a spatula in an even layer. 
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until centers come out completely cooked, but not overbaked. 
6. Let cool in baking pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack. 

assembly: 
1. I usually wrap and freeze my cake layers before frosting - working with cool cake layers is much easier. 
2. Stack and frost cake layers with peanut butter buttercream. Crumb coat and refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes. Frost the final cake layer, alternating between a piping bag filled with cocoa buttercream and another with the peanut butter buttercream in horizontal stripes, smoothing it out with a cake scraper. 
3. While the frosting is still wet, wrap the bottom with the mini chocolate chips. Place back in the fridge to chill while making the ganache.

(make the ganache:
1. Microwave the chocolate and heavy cream together for about 1 minute until you reach the desired consistency (I prefer mine more thin than these photos, but I made it during a LIVE video and wasn't about to fuss over it more than I already did, haha). Place in a squeeze bottle. You want it to be cooled, but not cold, if that makes sense). 

4. Add the drip to the cake, refrigerate again to make sure the frosting isn't going to slide off the top, and then alternate between piping the peanut butter buttercream swirls and whole reeses cups on top. I usually add a little bit of chocolate chips on top, too! 

Enjoy! 

18 comments:

  1. I was so excited and a little surprised that you decided to post your cake recipes! I would still love to see a cookbook girl! I'm not scared or turned off by the cake mix at all. I've tried other recipes that use cake mixes as an ingredient (plus sour cream, vanilla bean paste, eggs and even flour and sugar) before and had people rave about them too! I've already got a from scratch chocolate cake baked and in the freezer so I definitely foresee a taste test in my near future.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your recipes! Can't wait to bake this cake for my family of all boys! They will LOVE this! Your pictures are just gorgeous!

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  3. I am so happy you will be sharing your recipes now and posting more on your blog! You are the best! I'm excited to make this cake this weekend.

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  4. I usually prefer Duncan Hines too and when I add flour to a mix, I love what cake flour adds to the texture. I'm totally with you - I use cake mixes as just one of many ingredients in a great cake. I have scratch recipes I love too and think everyone should have one good scratch and one good doctored cake mix recipe for vanilla and chocolate (among other flavors), depending on what ingredients you have access to, what you are in the mood to make, and what it needs to be used for (I read that decorators often prefer doctored cake mixes for sculpted or carved cakes for instance).

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  5. YAY! Can't wait to try this! I've made a few of your other cakes and they are delish! How do you make a red velvet cake with cake mix as ingredient? Would it be the same as this one, just red velvet cake mix?
    Thanks!!

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  6. I am so excited to have this recipe! I made a white version as you said in your Instagram story. Thank you thank you so very much! It turned out wonderful! I will be baking more cake!

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    1. One recipe will get you three 6" rounds, or two 8" rounds. Hope this helps!

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  8. This seriously is a dream! Totally understand why you didn't share your cake recipes before, but oh boy am I excited to try them. Thank you so, so much for sharing! This is on my To Bake ASAP list! :)

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  9. Just a tiny bit confused, when describing what you add to cake mixes, you said "For my red velvet and chocolate, I do 1 egg white and 4 whole eggs." But in your cake recipe part it says 1 egg white and 3 whole eggs. will either or work?

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  10. I see oil in your ingredient list but I’m not sure if you wanting the oil to be added with all the other wet ingredients.

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    1. I had the same question! When do I add the oil...? *This is coming from a beginner-level baker...*

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  11. I was super intrigued by this recipe. I made it as described and it is really moist but still has the cake mix taste to it, which if you are used to it is no prob. I’m not used to it so I was bummed I didn’t enjoy it as much as my homemade recipes. Still really good though, but not my personal favorite. I’ll have to try some more flavors! I wonder if adding some high quality cocoa would help me?

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  12. I agree with you Patience. I've never liked Duncan Hines because the flavor tastes too fake. I much prefer Becky Crocker cake mixes. In fact, several years ago saw a show where they did taste tests on the top cake mixes and their conclusion was the same. Oh well, to each his own.

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  13. I need to try her white cake recipes with a cake mix to see if I like those any better. It’s a fun idea, I think I’ve just been eatig homemade cakes for too long, lol. Mandy does great work though. I love her style.

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  14. The height of your cakes are what I am so intrigued by. For those who have used the recipe I am wondering if they are gaining the same look? Much appreciated for you sharing your recipe!!!!

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  16. Hi! I was wondering if there was a link to view your video for making this cake??
    thank you!

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Thank you for commenting, I love hearing from you!