Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chocolate peanut layer extravaganza cake

I'm dreaming all about deeply satisfying rich tastes and at the moment I love the pairing of chocolate with creamy peanut butter. As though you can't tell from my previous post :)

To try and quell my desire I created this chocolate peanut layer extravaganza cake. Now I know what y'all are thinking, surly that Oreo Chocolate Cheesecake you just posted put a dent in my cravings, but the problem was I shared it all out. To remedy it I kept this one mostly to myself.

Which is quite an accomplishment as it's a reasonably tall cake.  With the additional height of the chocolate shards it makes quite an impressive cake suitable to serve at any gathering.  

The addition of salted peanuts sprinkled on top and the chocolate shards with added sea salt flakes adds a lovely contrast both in it's crunchy texture and the salty taste which is a welcome foil to the sweet frosting.

During the winter months the cake should hold up quite well, however in warmer months or in warm climates you may need to chill the cake in the refrigerator during assemble the next layer of cake has been pressed in place.

Finally if your tastes tend towards the delectably indulgent but you don't quite have my stamina you can quarter the recipe, bake in a 15 cm round baking tin for around 20- 15 minutes less and have a cake that is still extravagant in taste but a little more moderate in serving size.

Chocolate peanut extravaganza cake makes 1 X 20 cm diameter by 15 cm high cake (excluding shard height)
I used an Ateco 868 piping tip and large disposable piping bag. Cake will serve 20 to 35 people depending on serving size. 
4 layers of chocolate cake (recipe follows)
Peanut Butter frosting (recipe follows)
100g dark chocolate
3 Tbsp salted peanuts
1/4 tsp salt flakes

Make the chocolate shards. 
Cover a flat tray with baking paper and melt the dark chocolate in the microwave at medium low heat and whisk until smooth. Spread the chocolate out onto the prepared tray, the chocolate should be a few mm's thick.

Chop 1 1/2 Tbsp of the peanuts roughly and sprinkle on top of the melted chocolate along with the 1/4 tsp of salt flakes. Allow to set.

Assemble the cake.
Place the first layer of chocolate cake onto a cake board or cake stand. Ensure this layer is completely flat, so it would be the bottom layer from one of the cakes you cut in half.

Place a large star piping tip into a piping bag and fill the bag with peanut frosting.

Starting on the outside edge of the cake, holding the piping bag upright 90 angle to the cake apply pressure for a short burst to pipe a star of frosting. Release the pressure on the bag and the pull the bag up away from the cake. Continue to pipe frosting around the edge of the cake and then pipe a second circle of frosting 'stars' just inside the first circle. Continue to pipe working to the center of the cake, you should have around 4 or 5 circles.

Take the next layer of cake, it should be the top layer to the cake you have placed on the bottom. If this cake has a rounded dome*, turn it over and gently press the domed edge into the frosting ensuring the cake is completely centered on the previous layer and that you have no cake overhanging. You should now have a flat top on the cake to work on.

Using the piping bag filled with peanut frosting cover the top of the cake with frosting as described in the steps above.

Take the next layer of cake. This layer should be the bottom layer of the remaining cake. Press it gently into place, make sure that the cake is centered with no overhang.

Using the piping bag filled with peanut frosting cover the top of the cake with frosting as described in the steps above.

Place the final layer of cake, if it has a domed top, once again push the top down gently into the frosting so you have a flat top on the cake to pipe onto.

Pipe the final layer of peanut frosting onto the top of the cake taking care that the stars are even and the same size.

Add final decorations.
Cut the dark chocolate covered in peanuts into large triangle shards using a sharp knife. Press the shards into the top of the cake with the points of the triangle facing upwards. 

Sprinkle the remaining peanuts onto the top of the cake.

Cake may be served immediately or stored for  in refrigerator until ready to serve, remove 20 minutes prior to serving. Left overs cake be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Chocolate layer cake

3 cups plain flour
2 tsp bicarb soda  
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup cool water
250 g unsalted butter room temperature cut into small squares
2 1/2 cup caster sugar 
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 160 C fan forced (325 F) and grease flour and line 2 X 20cm round tins with baking paper.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Mix the hot water and cocoa to make a paste then add the cool water mix until well combined, set aside.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer mix together butter and sugar at high speed until well creamed (about 2-3 mins).

Reduce speed to low and mix in eggs then vanilla mixing until well combined.

Add 1/3 of the flour, mix until just combined then add 1/2 the cocoa mixture, mix again until combined and scrape down sides. Add another 1/3rd of the flour, mix, add the remainder of the cocoa mix and scrape down sides then mix in the remaining flour.

Add the sour cream and continue to mix at low speed until completely combined.

Divide mixture evenly between the 2 X 20cm tins and bake for around 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When ready to use cut each cake in half horizontally to make 4 layers in total.

Peanut Butter Frosting

Ensure that all ingredients are at room temperature prior to mixing. In warm weather you will only require 1 Tbsp to achieve a smooth piping consistency. In cold weather you may need to add extra milk to achieve the desired consistency.

4 cups icing sugar mixture
2 cups smooth peanut butter
200 g unsalted butter room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk at room temperature
extra milk at room temperature extra if required

Place the sugar, peanut butter and butter in a large bowl and mix at high speed until light and fluffy, around 6 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add 1 Tbsp of milk and mix until well combined. Add extra milk as required to achieve a consistency which will is light and fluffy but will hold its shape when piped.

Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission. 


  1. I wanted to make something similar but in completely different flavours. What appealed to me was the piping! :D Happy Australia Day for tomorrow Linda!

  2. This cake is stunning. I love the simplicity of the design, yet it's elegant and decadent looking.

  3. Another amazing cake! The peanut butter frosting is beckoning me!

  4. This cake seems fab, i wanted to make quarter the recipe as u suggested so i was wondering if you could please provide the quantity of the cake in grams. I am from india n here we use the metric system.

    1. Hi the recipe is metric with grams and the cups are Australian Standard Size which is 250ml for 1 cup. Tablespoon is 20ml and Teaspoon is 5 ml.