Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Ombre Cake

It's time for another cake.

I absolutely love ombre cakes. They look really impressive and pretty at the same time, and make the cake be all about the inside of the cake too, not just the outside. I attempted a pretty pink gradient one for Valentines. Alas it didn't turn out that great. I used a raspberry jam filling for the layers and it just made the cake layers look too unclean once I cut through the cake. Probably because it was five layers and the jam was too moist.

Anyway, back to the drawing board I went. This time I came across a couple of ombre cakes with a difference. Just look at these! I fell in love with the idea of a chocolate/coffee/caramel ombre cake and knew this was going to be my next cake.

But I don't just want to be a copycat, no. So this chocolate ombre cake had to become a triple chocolate peanut butter ombre cake. Four individually flavoured layers, sandwiched together with three different buttercream layers: we have a dark chocolate, chocolate, white chocolate and peanut butter cake layer each, and then to perfectly complement the layers I decided that one buttercream frosting layer wouldn't be enough. Oh no. The buttercream frosting had to similarly complement the layers, so white chocolate, chocolate and peanut butter frosting it was!

But why stop there? The outside of the cake had to be just as spectacular and I really liked how The Moonblush Baker frosted the outside of hers, so I thought a similar look would go down well. I used both the peanut butter and white chocolate buttercreams to create an ombre effect, but rather than adding a chocolate butter cream layer too, I went one step further and poured dark chocolate ganache over the top! The literal icing on the cake. And it really makes this cake amazingly good. Lastly sprinkled with some chocolate and peanut butter sweets for good measure, I don't know how to tell you not to make this cake!

Some might think the numerous different flavours are a bit much, and it isn't a cake for the faint-hearted, but rest assured my cake-testers all gave positive results. What is for sure, is that this cake will satisfy any chocolate and peanut butter lover. The dark chocolate cake is delightfully fudgy and brownie like, whilst the peanut butter cake is perfectly nutty. Paired with the white chocolate and chocolate cakes, you get a cake which takes you through a journey in every bite, but a smooth satisfying journey. You'll find yourself wanting to eat through the layers individually and then also wanting to try different ones together!

It is definitely a party cake, made to impress and be eaten by a number of cake-eating happy people. But if you feel you want to stick to one buttercream instead or omit a cake layer then feel free to do as suited. I also layered my cake so that no two same buttercream and cake flavour is next to the other, but you could do exactly this to make an altogether different visually appealing cake. Whatever you decide to do, remember you don't want to leave out the ganache topping!

Please make sure to check out my notes at the end of the recipe too!

Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Ombre Cake
Makes a medium-sized 7" cake

For the chocolate and white chocolate layer:
225g butter, soft
125g caster sugar
100g brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150ml yoghurt
5 tbsp cocoa powder
15g white chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and grease two 7 inch cake pans.
2. Cream together the butter, caster and brown sugars, in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract, and mix well.
3. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix and then fold in the yoghurt.
4. Divide the batter into two. Mix in the cocoa powder to one and the white chocolate to the other.
5. Fill cake tins, and bake for 25 minutes,
6. Leave to cool completely before assembling.

For the dark chocolate layer:
80g butter, soft
135g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
90g self-raising flour
35g/9 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml buttermilk, or milk with 1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs yoghurt
Pinch of salt

1. Repeat steps 1-3 as above, greasing one cake tin, and adding the cocoa powder and salt with the flour as well.
2. Add buttermilk and yoghurt, and mix well.
3. Fill cake tin and bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Leave to cool completely before assembling.

For the peanut butter layer:
80g peanut butter, soft
40g butter, soft
100g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml buttermilk, or milk with 1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease one cake tin.
2. Mix together the peanut butter and butter, making sure it is well blended.
3. Now add the sugar and cream together well.
4. Add the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated, then mix in the flour, baking powder and salt.
5. Add the buttermilk slowly to form a smooth batter.
6. Fill cake tin, and bake for 25-30 minutes, checking for doneness.
7. Leave to cool completely before assembling.

White Chocolate:
3 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
5 tbsp white chocolate, melted

1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tsp dark chocolate, melted

Peanut Butter:
2 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 tbsp peanut butter

1. For all the buttercreams, combine the icing sugar with the butter using a mixer until well incorporated.
2. For the chocolate buttercreams, add the melted chocolate and mix to a smooth consistency. For the peanut butter buttercream, add the peanut butter along with the icing sugar and butter.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 & half cup dark chocolate, chopped, or dark chocolate chips

1. Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it starts to come to the boil.
2. Remove off the heat and immediately pour over chocolate in a glass bowl.
3. Leave to sit for two minutes and then stir until completely melted and smooth. If you find you still have lumps, put the bowl in the microwave and heat on medium for ten seconds. Remove and stir.

Assembling the cake

1. Work out a method for assembling cake layers and buttercreams in preferred way. You might want to write down the order to make it easier.

The order used here was as follows (starting at the bottom)-

Dark Chocolate Layer
White Chocolate Buttercream
Chocolate Layer
Peanut Butter Buttercream
White Chocolate Layer
Chocolate Buttercream
Peanut Butter Layer

2. Trim off excess cake on layers using a large bread knife, to ensure they are even and flat.
3. Start with your base layer and using a spatula spread an even layer of your first buttercream.
4. Repeat with all the cake layers and buttercreams, until you place your fourth cake layer on top.
5. Using the white chocolate buttercream, make a thin crumb coat around the whole cake. Refrigerate cake for at least 20 minutes.
6. Starting with the bottom of the cake, use your spatula to spread the peanut butter over the third to lower half. Now add the white chocolate buttercream to the top half. Use your spatula to slightly blend the peanut butter with the white chocolate.
7. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour, while you make the ark chocolate ganache.
8. Remove and pour the dark chocolate slowly over the top of the cake until it starts to drip down the sides.
9. Sprinkle over with chocolate and peanut butter chips or desired sprinkles.
10. Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for upto ten days.

- When filling the cake tins, you should aim to fill the batter to the same height for each layer, in order to ensure even sized layers for assembling the cake.
- Be careful to check on the cakes at the 25 minute mark, as a few minutes longer and the cakes are prone to becoming dry.
- You probably want to make this cake over two days. One day for baking the layers, and a second day for making the buttercreams and assembling.
- The white chocolate buttercream yields the most, then the peanut butter, and lastly the chocolate, as I needed the most white chocolate to cover the outside the cake as well as for layering, and secondly the peanut butter which is also used on the outside.
- If you find the buttercreams are too soft, chill in the fridge for ten minutes before using.
- Any leftover dark chocolate ganache can be refrigerated, and heated when needed to pour onto endless other desserts. Or roll into balls and make chocolate truffles!


  1. Oh my this is absolutely stunning :) How wonderful!

  2. this is so beautiful!!! Looks perfect! bookmarking this to make it later! well done! love your pics too..STUNNING!

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