It's Birthday Season: Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake!

Aaaannndd, it's birthday time of year again! Obviously, this is the best time of year because it means lots and lots of good food and even more delicious dessert. See here for last year's celebration and cake! Pre-note: this has nothing healthy about it. Life is about a balance and birthdays call for decadence. Before you read further, don't forget to like the Strawberry Chocolate Concoction Facebook Page for tips, recipes and updates: https://www.facebook.com/StrawberryChocolateConcoction!

Once again, I (needless to say) made a cake for both my parents' birthdays, which fall on the 11th and 12th of September. I won't re-explain this whole thing, but check out last year's post if you're interested! This year I went about creating a not 3-(last year) but 4-layer cake! It is filled with a smooth peanut butter buttercream frosting and topped with a light, but chocolate-y buttercream frosting. We always end up cutting the cake on my dad's birthday (11th), because, seriously, who can wait one more day for cake? Anyways, you'd be glad to know that it was absolutely delicious; I'm so happy that both my parents loved it (as well as my sister, but she's my biggest fan anyways!).

On a side note, I also cooked dinner for them. I made a super-duper pasta dish with alfredo sauce (no cream or butter!), mushrooms and spinach with a skewer of chilli/lime/herb marinated shrimp on the side. I can safely say that the shrimp marinade was fabulous and the alfredo sauce was probably one of the best "creamy" sauces I have ever eaten... and once again - NO butter or cream!

Back to the cake. The cake itself is dark and rich, but not overpowering. I threw in some chocolate chips in the batter just for kicks! The peanut butter frosting is to. die. for. Not cloying, not too heavy, not too sweet, it adds the perfect filling to this delicious chocolate cake. And the chocolate frosting is literally the cherry on top (not to be cliche or anything). I decorated the bottom of the cake by lining it with white chocolate stars and outlined a start shape on the top of the cake, as you can see.

We put in five blue candles, sang happy birthday to my dad as he blew them out and devoured the cake! If you're wondering what happens to my mom, as you might (rightly) think that she felt disregarded, just wait for my next post! [Now here.]

The perfect celebration cake, the chocolate cake recipe itself is a keeper and can be used in any occasion. Fill it with your favorite frosting, ganache, serve it with ice cream or fruit or simply dust it with powdered sugar. But let me assure you, the peanut butter frosting is something you don't want to miss. I could eat it with anything and everything - apples, crackers, pretzels, cookies... a spoon...

Makes a 2-, 3- or 4-layer 9" round cake depending on the thickness of the layers
For the cake:
1 13/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
2/3 cup coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the peanut butter frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5-6 tbsp whole milk

For the chocolate buttercream:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 tbsp whole milk

For the cake:
Heat the oven to 175 C. Line two 9-inch round baking pans with baking paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat until ingredients are well combined.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the peanut butter frosting:
Whip the butter until creamy and white-ish. Beat in the peanut butter. Sift in the icing sugar, add the vanilla and beat again. Add the milk tablespoon by tablespoon until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.

For the chocolate buttercream:
Whip the butter until creamy and white-ish. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa poswer, add the vanilla and beat again. Add the milk tablespoon by tablespoon until the buttercream reaches the desired consistency. [Add more or less cocoa and/or sugar depending on your preferred taste].

To assemble:
Split the 2 cakes in half horizontally to make 4 layers (I refrigerated first to make it easier to cut). Get a serving plate and line the outer edges with baking paper to ensure a clean plate after frosting. Place one layer on the plate and smother in peanut butter frosting. Lay the next layer on top and repeat thrice. The last time, place the fourth layer on top and then cover the whole cake in a crumb coating of the chocolate buttercream. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Spread the rest of the chocolate buttercream all over the cake and decorate as desired. It's best served at room temperature but delicious anyhow, anyway, at any point in the day. Pure bliss. Enjoy!

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