Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

I hate the typical back-of-the-box recipe. You add in a couple eggs, oil, and call it good. Light, too airy, dry, and not the best texture.

Unless you add in some sour cream, buttermilk, extra egg whites, and good quality vanilla...

magic happens, you guys.

I've tried my recipes next to some of the most praised cake recipes out there (Sweetapolita, cough, love her, but everyone uses her recipe, or adaptations of it, and quite frankly... there's an easier and tastier way to get the "made from scratch" taste without having to use a bazillion egg whites and extra ingredients).

Welcome to my sure-fire cake mix recipe formula:

1. CAKE MIX: I use Duncan Hines. I've tried my method with Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, etc, and it just wasn't the same. Sift the cake mix before using it to get out all the pieces that have clumped together.

2. SOUR CREAM: I use full-fat sour cream in my cakes, and always go for the Darigold brand (can be found mostly everywhere here in the states, but I usually get mine in the large container from Costco).

3. BUTTERMILK: Yep. This is the stinkiest stuff you'll ever lay nose on, but dang, it sure makes a mean cake. You can use the real stuff from the milk section, or you can add vinegar or lemon juice to whole milk and wait for it to curdle before using it (about 5 minutes).

4. VANILLA: Use the best quality vanilla you can find. I get it, vanilla is expensive. But I'm telling you, the taste of the better stuff is everything.

5. EGG WHITES: For my white cakes and lemon cakes, I use 4 egg whites, and zero egg yolks. For my red velvet and chocolate, I do 1 egg white and 4 whole eggs. More on that later.

6: OIL: I use vegetable oil. I've tried using grapeseed oil (if you want to pay an arm and a leg, ugh), or canola oil, and it just wasn't the same. Olive oil is way too strong of a taste. Stick with the veggie oil, or I've also used melted butter and it's worked fine.

I add in other things for flavor enhancement, but these are the core ingredients to all my cake recipes.


Still want to dog on me for using a cake mix? There's a difference between using a cake mix, or USING your cake mix as an ingredient to compliment the other 5 ingredients you're going to add to it. Still with me? haha.

So, if you're in doubt, I promise you - I've fed my cakes to TV producers, die-hard cake-from-scratch lovers, and the most skeptical pastry chefs I know, and they have absolutely raved about my cakes and have begged for the recipes the second they take a first bite. The cakes I've made using these 5 ingredients plus the cake mix have been raved as "the best cake I've ever had" almost every time I serve it to anyone. I promise, there's a reason I keep using these recipes!

So welcome to my new cake revolution - using a cake mix in my recipes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
makes 3x 5" cake rounds (small cake, serves 6-8),
or 2x 8" cake rounds (I usually double this recipe to make my medium cake, serves 12-18)


chocolate cake:
1 Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake Mix
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
3 eggs + 1 egg white
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
(I toss in 1/4 C sifted cake flour to my batter here for our high altitude)
optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon or nescafe
*for more of a deep chocolate flavor, add in 1/4 Cup of cocoa powder and a handful of chocolate chips!

peanut butter buttercream

cocoa buttercream

chocolate ganache:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream (I love the Darigold brand)

reeses peanut butter cups
ghiradelli mini chocolate chips


chocolate cake: 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 (325 for convection ovens like mine). In a large bowl, sift cake mix and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, oil, buttermilk, eggs plus egg white, vanilla, until mixture is uniform throughout.
3. Pour wet ingredients into the sifted cake mix and whisk by hand until just combined (don't overmix).
4. Divide cake batter into prepared baking pans. Spread with a spatula in an even layer.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until centers come out completely cooked, but not overbaked.
6. Let cool in baking pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

1. I usually wrap and freeze my cake layers before frosting - working with cool cake layers is much easier.
2. Stack and frost cake layers with peanut butter buttercream. Crumb coat and refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes. Frost the final cake layer, alternating between a piping bag filled with cocoa buttercream and another with the peanut butter buttercream in horizontal stripes, smoothing it out with a cake scraper.
3. While the frosting is still wet, wrap the bottom with the mini chocolate chips. Place back in the fridge to chill while making the ganache.

make the ganache:
1. Microwave the chocolate and heavy cream together for about 1 minute until you reach the desired consistency (I prefer mine more thin than these photos, but I made it during a LIVE video and wasn't about to fuss over it more than I already did, haha). Place in a squeeze bottle. You want it to be cooled, but not cold, if that makes sense).

4. Add the drip to the cake, refrigerate again to make sure the frosting isn't going to slide off the top, and then alternate between piping the peanut butter buttercream swirls and whole reeses cups on top. I usually add a little bit of chocolate chips on top, too!


Source: Baking With Blondie 

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