I was tasked with making a sweet sixteen birthday cake for my cousin. I asked what flavors he liked, and was told, “chocolate, peanut butter, and Nutella.” Fortunately, that’s a match made in heaven already, so it was just a matter of finding the right cake to hold a Nutella buttercream and creamy peanut butter filling.
I used this particular Martha Stewart cake for its ease; you only need one bowl. It also yields an insanely tall cake which gave it a grand appearance. The creamy peanut butter (you could use crunchy) provides just enough interest as a filling, that I spread it on plain with no additions. Last, the thick Nutella frosting is what really makes this thing special.
For the cake
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
*1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups hot water
(*if you don’t have buttermilk, which I didn’t, put 1 tbs of white vinegar into a cup of 2% or whole milk. Stir, then let sit for 10 minutes.)
For the frosting & filling
1 13oz container Nutella
2 sticks room temperature butter (very important!)
2 1/2 – 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Cake recipe by: Martha Stewart
Directions for the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8in cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Dust the pans with flour, tap extra out.
2. Sift cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar into bowl. Beat in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and hot water one at a time, using a mixer set at low. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
3. Pour batter into pans. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Rotate pans halfway through.
4. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks, 20 minutes, before inverting to remove. Discard paper. Cool completely on racks, top side up.
5. Place a layer of cake, curved side down, onto a serving platter or cake stand. I don’t believe in cutting off perfectly good cake to make it a certain shape, but you are welcome to. Take the peanut butter and smooth it over the cake. Carefully place the second cake layer, curved side up, on top of the peanut butter.
6. Frost the cake with Nutella frosting. The frosting is a little stiff, so take your time.
Directions for frosting
1. Beat the butter and Nutella at low speed until completely combined. Slowly begin adding powdered sugar. As the mixture becomes thick, add the milk, then remaining powdered sugar. You may need to adjust milk and powdered sugar to get a good consistency.