Chocolate Peanut Butter Zebra Cake

It was recently one of my lovely friends’ birthdays’! After asking her what she wanted for a birthday cake flavour, she did some pondering and came up with chocolate and peanut butter. This is, obviously, a classic combination. It is one of Paul’s all-time favourite cake flavours, but for Sandi, I wanted to create something a little different.

I had made a zebra cake before, a few years ago, and it had turned out well. (Of course, the recipe came from the wonderful Annie of Annie’s Eats –  http://www.annies-eats.com/.) I decided to change it up by doubling the amount of batter, and turn the vanilla layer into peanut butter. The original recipe made one single layer cake, with the batter split in half to create the two flavours. I made two layers, one chocolate and one peanut butter. I sandwiched them together with a beautiful chocolate ganache, and topped the whole thing with some fluffy peanut butter frosting.

Sandi was wonderful enough to let me photograph the inside of the cake, and the zebra stripes turned out beautifully.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Zebra Cake 3

I definitely recommend making a double layer cake. The two layers really makes a visually stunning cake slice. While it is not the most flavourful cake ever (it was good, but not knock-your-socks-off amazing), it is a tasty, moist cake that holds up well to frosting.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Zebra Cake 5

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Zebra Cake

For the chocolate layer:
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
5 tbsp. cocoa powder

For the peanut butter layer:
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

For the chocolate ganache:
8oz. chopped semi-sweet chocolate
½-1 cup heavy cream

For the peanut butter frosting:
¾ cup softened butter
1½ cup smooth peanut butter
3 cup icing/confectioners sugar
3-5 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixer bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until sugar is nearly dissolved. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. If making the peanut butter cake batter, add the peanut butter at this time. Beat until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt (and cocoa if making the chocolate layer). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until smooth. Do not mix the two batters together – you should have two separate bowls, each with a batter flavour in them.

Cover two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper along the bottom and sides. Using two small measuring cups (I used two ¼ cup measures), layer the batters slowly, one at a time, making sure the batter spreads out before adding the opposite flavour. The cakes, when done properly, should look like a bullseye from the top, with distinctive rings of cake batter layers, shown below.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Zebra Cake 6

Bake cakes for 38-45 minutes, making sure a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then invert onto a cooling rack and remove parchment paper. If desired, level cakes when cool.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate and cream together. Ganache is tricky, and amounts listed above are approximate. To make a nice, smooth ganache, you may need more chocolate or cream. Whisk ingredients together. Cool until slightly solidified, but still workable, and spread between cooled cake layers.

To make the peanut butter icing, beat butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Add in icing sugar, a cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and thick. Add in milk, 1 tbsp. at a time until frosting is fluffy, smooth, and spreadable. If it gets too liquidy, add more sugar. If it is too difficult to spread, add more milk. Frost cake as desired. I garnished mine with cocoa powder and made stripes with parchment paper.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Zebra Cake 2

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Chocolate Peanut Butter Zebra Cake

  1. To get the bulls eye effect, after layering the batter, do you do something else? And if you want the recipe for famous Dutch Bakery icing, send me a pm!

    1. Just layer each type of batter slowly, making sure it spreads out a bit before adding the next batter. It works really well if you aim for the center of the batter circle, and as the batter slowly falls into the cake pan, press down lightly with the measuring cup to help the batter spread. Because the batter is the same consistency (or at least extremely close), neither flavour sinks to the bottom. Hope that makes sense!

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