Makes one 18cm cake.
- Prep time: 1h
- Cook time: 1h + cooling time
- Total time: 2h
- Difficulty: Intermediate
Despite its appearance, this cake is not overly sweet. On the contrary, the bittersweet chocolate ganache, combined with an almost savory peanut butter filling, balances the sweetness of both the fudgy chocolate cake and the caramel filling, making the cake a real treat.
I recommend baking the cake layers the night before. Once the cakes have reached room temperature, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator overnight. When they are cold and firm, it is much easier to cut them in half.
For the Chocolate Cake.
- 130g – Cocoa powder
- 300g all-purpose flour
- 480g sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 small eggs
- 250 ml buttermilk
- 250 ml warm water
- 5 tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Butter both the bottom and sides of two 18cm round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and butter it. Dust the pans with cocoa powder and tap out any excess.
Sift cocoa and flour together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to combine. Using a low-speed mixer, add the eggs, buttermilk, water, oil, and vanilla one at a time. 2 minutes later, the mixture should be smooth.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pans comes out clean. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pans.
If you overbake the cakes, they will become crumbly. If you don’t have two identical cake pans, bake half of the batter before inverting the cake onto a cooling rack.
Clean the cake pan, prepare it as before, and bake the remaining cake batter. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
Trim the tops of the cakes (the cakes will rise slightly in the middle and need to be leveled) and cut each cake in half horizontally. You will receive four cake layers. It’s best to use a serrated knife for this. If you wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate them overnight, the results are even better. When the cakes are cold and firm, they are much easier to trim and cut.
For the Salted Caramel.
- 170g – Sugar
- 40g – Water
- 120ml – Hot Heavy Cream
- 70g – Butter, Diced
- A Generous Pinch of Sea Salt
- 55g – Unsalted Peanuts
Combine sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melts and turns amber. During this time, do not stir.
Reduce the heat to low and add the hot heavy cream, stirring to combine. At this point, the caramel will begin to bubble, so proceed with caution.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and salt. Finally, add the peanuts and set aside to cool to room temperature. Then cool in the refrigerator until thick and spreadable. This should take about 30-45 minutes.
For the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Filling.
- 150 g – Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 75 g – Peanut Butter
- 40 g – Powdered Sugar
- 280 ml – Heavy Cream
Combine cream cheese, peanut butter, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat until creamy and well combined. Pour in the heavy cream and whip on high until the cream forms soft peaks and the mixture is smooth and spreadable. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Chocolate Ganache.
- 300 g – Dark Chocolate, Chopped
- 360 ml – Heavy Cream
Set aside the chopped chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and remove from heat.
Pour over chocolate pieces and set aside for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Gently whisk the mixture until it is combined. The ganache should be thick and smooth. Refrigerate the ganache until it is thick, creamy, and spreadable.
Check it frequently because once it starts thickening, it thickens quickly. When the ganache has thickened, whisk it a few times. It will darken slightly and begin to resemble a chocolate filling. If it has thickened in the refrigerator, simply heat it in a Bain-Marie for a few seconds or until it reaches the desired consistency. Use right away.
- Chopped Peanuts
- A pinch of sea salt
Spread half of the peanut butter cream cheese filling evenly over one cake layer on a cake stand. Spread the salted caramel on top of the second cake layer. Spread the remaining peanut butter cream cheese filling evenly over the third cake layer. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before covering with the final cake layer and frosting the cake. Cover the chilled cake with chocolate ganache and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sea salt.
Q: Does this cake need to be refrigerated due to all of the cream in the frosting
A: Yes, the cake should be refrigerated. But, don’t worry. The caramel will still be gooey and sticky.
Also known as Snickers Torta.
A party without cake is just as meetingJulia Child
I used to get extremely excited about my birthday. These days, it seems to sneak up on me like a ninja. Time seems to be slipping through my fingers lately. Is it really a year since your last birthday?!
I don’t do much celebrating. My birthday party has only two components: a couple of friends and family members, and an awesome cake. Oh, and there’s wine. Okay, technically there are three ingredients, but that’s beside the point. Let us return to the cake.
I make myself a birthday cake every year. However, it is never just a cake. I always enjoy the play on classic flavors and flavor combinations. Last year, I succeeded in combining chocolate and orange. Since then, that cake has been one of the most popular recipes on the blog.
This year, I was inspired by the famous Snickers bar. It’s a winning combination in my book. What’s not to love when chocolate, caramel, and peanuts are involved?
The chocolate cake is decadently rich, moist, and fudgy. You could eat it on its own and not miss the creamy goodness. It creates the perfect balance of sweet and savory when combined with an almost savory peanut butter filling, creamy (yes, creamy!) salted caramel, and a bittersweet chocolate ganache. It’s a fantastic birthday cake.