So it was my birthday, a couple of weeks ago! And that’s why, the cake today. Usually when I make a cake (whether it’s for a birthday, a special occasion or just for the heck of it) I spend a little time making it look pretty. But this time, the flavours were just so awesome, I let them be the star. It’s a bummer that I cannot prove to you just how amazing this cake tasted, but I hope you do take my word for it. 🙂 The focus was all on flavours and I brought together some of my husband’s and my favourites in this Chocolate Peanut Cake with Caramel Peanut butter Nougat Filling & Chocolate French Buttercream.
Yep, I know it’s a mouthful. I tried to come up with a clever little name for it, but I guess I wasn’t clever enough. So what do we have here?
– An amazingly soft, delicious Chocolate Cake (recipe from Sweetapolita)
– A very peanutty, crunchy, chewy Peanut Daquoise layer (recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
– A beautiful filling/layer I made with Salted Caramel Buttercream and a whipped Peanut Nougat
– And a rich, creamy Chocolate French Buttercream to cover all that indulgent awesomeness!
Does that sound a little over the top? If so, that’s exactly what I was going for! It’s a birthday cake after all. So in the spirit of all things celebratory, why not top it with a crown of Peanut Caramel shards too? 🙂
Unfortunately the birthday weekend weather wasn’t too kind to me. We were stuck at home with snow and ice outside which kind of messed up our plans a little bit.
Regardless, I still find birthdays a lot of fun! Especially those of my loved ones. I can’t do much for my parents’ or my little sister’s birthday at the moment because they live half way across the world from me, but I did make this super fun red velvet cake with blue ombre crusting cream cheese frosting and hand-made Avengers cake toppers for Mr. K’s birthday last year! The presents are fun, the cards are fun, the cake is fun. The one thing I don’t like about birthdays though is that I get an year older. I swear, the Earth has picked up its speed of rotation in the last few years or so. There’s no way time is the same as it once was! 🙂
You know what else puts a damper on birthdays in my opinion? Facebook! Ha! Everyone knows your birthday now (although mine isn’t visible on my profile anymore). Yikes! So once a year, your wall (do they still call it that?) gets flooded with wishes from people that you won’t hear from again for another 365 days (and yep, I’m one of them too! haha).
I used to have this really complicated system (i.e. write them down somewhere and make an effort not to forget) whereby I remembered the birthdays of friends and family. And then I’d send them an awesome, sometimes cheesy wish. I’m not as great with it now, but I still make an effort. But with the advent of Facebook, those wishes don’t quite feel genuine often times now unfortunately. Or is that just me? 🙂
And if there isn’t a cake, I refuse to accept that it’s my birthday. It’s the one day of the year where I can convince myself adequately that I can have just cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This cake started off as a wannabe Snickers cake. I didn’t quite like the idea of adding just peanuts, so I made a Peanut Dacquoise instead. It’s chewy, it’s crunchy and it has a rich peanut flavour. I also didn’t feel like having a gooey caramel layer in the middle either. I tried this homemade Snickers nougat layer, and found it too sweet and it also set too hard so it wasn’t spreadable for a cake. So after a few tries, I was able to achieve the consistency I liked, and then whipped it with my favourite caramel frosting to get a deliciously creamy, slightly salty, caramel, nougat and peanut butter flavoured frosting. Helloooow!
I love eating French buttercream, but I don’t make it often. It’s quite a rich (hence super tasty, obviously) frosting, which is why I used it here just to cover the cake. I used my recipe for this, but I adopted the “Swiss” way of making it which makes it safer to eat (after reading about it on The Tough Cookie), which I should add, is nothing short of a stroke of genius! 🙂
- 7.7 oz / 220 g AP flour
- 14 oz / 400 g granulated sugar
- 3.2 oz / 90 g Dutch process cocoa powder (Rosie suggests using Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup / 220 ml buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 cup / 220 ml freshly brewed hot strong black coffee
- ½ cup / 110 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 oz / 170g roasted salted peanuts
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 5 oz / 142 g granulated sugar
- 5 large egg whites
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 recipe for Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 stick / 115 g unsalted butter
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup evaporated milk
- 1 ½ cup marshmallow fluff
- ¼ cup whipped cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- 5.3 oz / 150 g white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3.5 oz / 100g bittersweet chocolate, melted
- Pinch of salt
- 9.2 - 10.5 oz / 260-300g unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 350° F. Butter and line two, 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper (If not using parchment paper, butter and flour the two pans)
- Sift all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or your mixing bowl (if you’re using a stand mixer).
- In a large jug (pitcher) or smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla until just mixed. Add this liquid mix into the dry ingredients slowly while mixing it with your stand mixer (or whisk by hand or hand-mixer). Make sure the batter is smooth and thick without any lumps.
- Pour the freshly brewed coffee into the batter while mixing. The batter will become very thin, so be careful as the batter might splash if the beater is too fast. Mix only until everything is well combined. Divide batter between the two pans.
- Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, rotating them once around the 20 minute mark. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only a few cake crumbs on it (i.e. not completely clean).
- Cool the cakes in the pan for about 15 minutes, and then turn out onto cooling racks carefully (the cake is really soft) to completely cool.
- In a food processor, combine the roasted, salted peanuts, cornflour, 1.4 oz / 40g of the sugar. Process until the peanuts have been processed finely.
- Draw, two 8 inch circles on parchment paper. Turn the paper over and make sure these circles fit within the width of your baking sheet. Preheat oven to 250°F / 120°C.
- In a clean, dry mixer bowl (of your stand mixer or hand mixer) whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar, using a whisk attachment, until it gets frothy.
- Add the sugar gradually while whisking well, making sure to incorporate the sugar well into the egg whites. Keep whisking until the egg whites become thick and glossy and reach the stiff peak stage.
- Fold in the ground peanuts in 2 additions, being careful not to deflate the egg mixture.
- Divide the mixture equally between the two circles and spread it evenly inside the drawn line.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 1 ½ hours, rotating only once inside the oven (take care not to keep the oven door open for long). Turn off the oven and let the dacquoise cool completely in the oven (about 1 - 1 ½ hours)
- Prepare the salted caramel frosting and set it aside.
- In a pan combine the butter, sugar, evaporated milk and heat on low, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mix comes to a boil.
- Boil this mixture for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir to make sure it is smooth. Add the peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff and whisk until well incorporated. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Add cold whipping cream and whisk with a hand held beater for about 2 minutes until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the egg yolks in a heat proof bowl together with the sugar. Whisk until it becomes frothy. Add vanilla and salt and keep whisking until egg yolks become pale and foamy and the sugar has almost dissolved completely.
- Place the bowl with the mix of yolk and sugar over a pan of simmering water (without the bowl touching the water), and whisk constantly while gently heating the mix to a temperature of 150°F/ 65°C. Please see Notes on how to pasteurize the egg yolk and sugar mix.
- Remove from the heat and whip the egg yolk until the mix thickens and reaches the ribbon stage. Make sure you keep mixing until it has cooled to room temperature.
- Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, incorporating each piece of butter well before adding another one. Keep adding the butter until the buttercream is nice and fluffy. I added 9 oz / 250 g first and only added the rest if the buttercream wasn’t fluffy enough.
- Add the melted and cooled bittersweet chocolate and incorporate it into the buttercream with the mixer.
- Take one chocolate cake layer. Spread half of the peanut butter nougat layer on top of it. Spread half of the salted buttercream frosting on top of the nougat layer. Next layer is the dacquoise. Then the rest of the nougat and rest of the caramel frosting.
- Top with the second layer of chocolate cake.
- Frost the cake with the chocolate French buttercream.
- Decorate with Peanut Brittle if you like, or anyway you prefer!
I only used one dacquoise layer for the cake, but you’re more than welcome to use both. I love how it makes the center of the cake a little chewy and crunchy. It blends in with the frosting too and is a lovely surprise of texture and rich peanut flavour when you dig in.
You can also easily double either of the filling recipes while omitting the other. They both taste equally amazing on the cake. I wanted to try them together however and I’m very glad I did!
This cake is truly a celebration of rich flavours. It has a Snickers vibe going for it, though it’s not a Snickers cake. However if you like Snickers, you will love this cake. Guaranteed!
What’s your favourite candy bar that you wish you could have in cake/dessert form?
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