10 Mar Bourbon & Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake With Salted Caramel Drizzle
Confession: I’m currently on Day 10 of the Whole30.
Which doesn’t seem like the most fitting thing to share with you as I wave enticing photos of intensely rich and delicious, chocolate-y peanut butter and bourbon cake (+ salted caramel!) in front of your face, but I felt like I had to fess up. As it turns out, when you’re a dessert person (guitly), it becomes incredibly easy to develop a wonkily skewed perception of what is a reasonable, healthy amount of chocolate to consume on a daily basis. Case in point: moi.
Things have gotten a little out of control.
Despite all internet appearances, I’m a real human over here. I do my best to balance my weekend baking binges with lean, veggie-heavy meals during the week but man-oh-man, can that balance be hard to maintain when there is leftover chocolate cake sitting on the counter. Thus, once in awhile, there is a serious need to reevaluate my consumption and reset my junk intake. This sugar-free, butter-free thing I’m doing for the next 20 days (one third of the way there!) is an effort to remind myself what my best self feels like.
And then, once it’s all said and done, you can bet yer butt, there will be more cake. In moderation.
In the meantime, I promise not to become one of those people who tries to convince you to eliminate entire food groups from your diet because grapes are nature’s candy!!. No anti-chocolate agendas here because, lawd, do I miss the stuff.
But wait, how am I posting intensely rich and delicious, chocolate-y peanut butter and bourbon cake (+ salted caramel!) perfection if I’m not actually eating it? How can we trust the recipe is bonafide tastiness?
Well, like the good little blogger I attempt to be, I’ve actually been planning this little dip into healthy eating for some time. This cake was made months ago, in preparation. Trust me, I thoroughly enjoyed it in that moment. And just to make sure it was as ridiculously good as I claim it to be (or maybe to prevent myself from single-handedly finishing off the entire cake) I also fed it to friends, coworkers, and even the half-baked neighbor next door and, based on this in-depth research, I can say with 100% confidence that it is every bit as delicious as I say it is.
Because seriously: Chocolate. Bourbon. Peanut butter. Salted caramel. AAaaaaand chocolate-covered pretzels. It’s a real thing and you need it in your life AAAY-SAP.
I have to take a moment to apologize for the lack of post-slicing photos. I made this cake for a going away party so I was unable to cut into it to photograph its innards, but I assure you, under all of that gooey salted caramel and fluffy peanut butter frosting, there are two layers of intensely moist, bourbon-spiked chocolate cake, sandwiching yet another glorious layer of peanut butter frosting that has been peppered with crunchy little nuggets of chopped, chocolate-covered pretzels.
Too add more tastiness, as if it needed more, I used virgin coconut oil in the chocolate cake, which imparts just a wee little hint of coconutty goodness to this over-the-top, flavor-explosion of a cake.
Srsly though, are you convinced yet? GO FORTH AND CAKE, MY FRIENDS.
Oh, P.S. I’m going to try and make myself known around these parts next week but alas, SXSW is taking over Austin once again (or is it President Obama?), soooo depending on how many free parties/shows/against-my-diet breakfast tacos I weasel my way into, I may not be back until the following week.
Bourbon Chocolate Cake adapted from Ina Garten
More Ina-Inspired Chocolate Cakes from the archives:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Chocolate Chips Ahoy Dinosaur Cake
Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake (complete with icky novice photos!)
- Butter, for greasing two, 8-inch round cake pans
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups natural cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (can sub vegetable or canola oil)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup chopped chocolate-covered pretzels
- 12-18 whole chocolate-covered pretzels
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two, 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then butter and flour.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the bourbon and coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 34-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan. Set aside.
- Place the sugar in a separate, heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat on medium high until the it begins to melt around the edges. Carefully swirl the sugar with a heatproof spatula until all the sugar has melted and has reached about 338F on a candy thermometer.
- Add the butter in pieces, and stir until melted. Very carefully add the warm cream (it may bubble up) and stir until smooth. Stir in the salt.
- Pour caramel into a jar and let cool to room temperature while you make the frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter & peanut butter and beat until smooth.
- Add the bourbon and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Gradually mix in the confectioner's sugar until thick and creamy. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. If icing appears too thick, you can add in a couple of teaspoons of milk (or more bourbon), one teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- If desired, level your cakes to remove domed tops and create a more even, professional-looking cake.
- Place one layer of chocolate cake on a cardboard round and top with about 1/4 cup (a pretty thin layer) of frosting. Top with chopped chocolate-covered pretzels.
- Top with the second layer of chocolate cake, then frost the cake with a very thin crumb coat layer of icing (this will help achieve a smooth finish) and refrigerate until icing is set, about 30 minutes.
- Use the remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake. Decorate the sides of the cake with chocolate-covered pretzels, leaving them off the top for now, and then place back into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to chill. The cold icing will prevent the caramel stick to the cake instead of dripping all of the way off of the sides.
- Once chilled, pour about a cup of caramel over the top and use a spatula to carefully push small amounts of the topping over the edges of the cake to create a drizzle affect.
- Decorate the top of the cake with chocolate-covered pretzels.