chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse filling

peanut butter army

my dad’s 60th surprise party was last weekend.

as i mentioned last week, thoughts of peanut butter tie me to memories of mornings with my dad. the peanut butter and honey toast, the peanut butter and jelly toast, peanut butter and jam crackers for a snack… i even remember dipping carrots into peanut butter as a snack when i was young. an inexpensive and delicious protein source, peanut butter provokes childhood memories for many, i’m sure. it seemed obvious to use peanut butter as a filling for a cake for my father, whom i look up to, and wish a million of the best things in life he has ever wanted!

this was a 3 layer cake, the top and bottom chocolate, and the center was vanilla. filled with peanut butter mousse, frosted with chocolate, and trimmed with salty peanuts, this cake was tall and incredible. thin slices filled us up just right and left us wanting more. -that’s how you know something is great. you want a little more.

i knew i was becoming dissatisfied with my usual chocolate cake recipe. i wanted something much more rich and fully flavored. i knew i wanted to find a recipe that used milk and coffee to bring in rich & bold flavors and a super moist but still cakey crumb. seems the one i found managed to blow my mind. this is my new go-to chocolate cake recipe. no questions asked. the chocolate mousse recipe came from the same gal. i used my usual vanilla cake recipe for the center layer. i found that this vanilla sponge cut the richness of the cake quite well, so don’t skip it. i managed to find a wonderful chocolate frosting recipe in this month’s bon appetit magazine. again, i loved it. -smooth, rich, creamy, and very deep. the brown sugar gave this frosting so much body. i really wish i could have gotten a picture of the sliced cake. it was beautiful and tall, and the cake not too fudgy looking.

i  would like to add that the most important reason for my baking and cooking so often is that i find such beauty in it. i find it to be intimately therapeutic no matter how frustrating the experience. i enjoy being surrounded by the melting chocolate, sizzling butter, the fluffy egg whites, the frying bacon, and i think it is a very important experience to be saturated in. as you can see, this was a very fulfilling cake for me to bake in that respect.

enough talk, let’s bake.

for the chocolate cakes

this recipe makes one layer, so double it if you are doing a 2 layer cake like i did.

adapted from the wholesome home

1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 cup sugar, minus a few tbsp
5 eggs at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee at room temp

method: prep 8″ round cake pans using butter and lining the bottom with parchment round. preheat oven to 350f.

combine coconut flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. set aside.

crack eggs open and put in a bowl with a pouring spout. set aside.

combine milk, vanilla and coffee in cup with pouring spout. set aside.

using stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. yum!

after just a few minutes, turn on low-speed and add one egg at a time to the butter and sugar. plop. plop. until all the eggs are gone and well combined.

next, scoop about a cup of the flour mixture into the batter, then pour 1/4 of the milk mixture into the bowl. continue alternating additions until both are mixed into the batter. stop mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to reincorporate any butter or other stuff that may be sticking to the bowl. mix until evenly combined. pour into prepped pan.

bake for 35 minutes or so. the center will be just set and no longer jiggly. do not over bake. please, for the love of all things good. cool in pan for half an hour or so. use a knife to loosen edges from pan and cool completely on rack.

now bake center layer!

for the single honey vanilla cake

1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

5 eggs

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

method: prep 1 8″ round cake pan by greasing it and lining the bottom with parchment paper.

preheat oven to 350f.

combine dry ingredients together and set aside.

using mixer, combine wet ingredients until they are really well combined and even a little foamy.

on low-speed, mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. batter will thicken only slightly and will resemble a pancake batter.

pour into prepped pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. cool cake in pan for at least half an hour before

loosening the edges with a knife and cooling completely on rack.



now make the frosting!

cocoa frosting

adapted from bon appetit magazine, feb 2011

5 tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup light or golden brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

method: melt butter over medium heat. stir in sugar, cocoa, and salt. gradually stir in cream. continue to stir over medium heat until mixture is hot and begins to simmer around edges. remove from heat and stir in vanilla. stir off heat for a minute or two. put a lid on it. stick in refrigerator for 1 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally.

after chilled, let stand at room temp for another hour, again, stirring occasionally.

while frosting is sitting at room temp, it’s time to:


make the peanut butter mousse!

adapted from whisk kid

1 block (8 oz) cream cheese

1 jar (1 1/2 cups) creamy peanut butter, the shelf stable kind

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

method: using hand mixer, whip the cream in a well chilled bowl until it is super fluffy. don’t over do it or you will have butter. set aside.

in a separate bowl, using hand mixer, blend peanut butter with the cream cheese until well combined. add sugar and mix on low-speed until it’s completely blended.

now gently fold about half of the whipped cream into the peanut butter. once it appears almost combined, fold in the other half. careful not to deflate the cream.

now put it all together!

put one of the chocolate cake layers on your serving plate. spread with 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse.

place the honey vanilla cake on top of that, gently pressing down into the filling, and top that with another 1/3 of the mousse.

place the final chocolate cake on top of the vanilla cake, pressing into the filling, and reserve the rest of the mousse to finish the cake with.

scrape the peanut butter mousse from the edges of the cake to be sure the filling is flush with the cake layers.

now gently spread chocolate frosting over the cake, frosting the sides of the cake first. careful not to smear the mousse out of the sides! after entire cake is frosted with chocolate frosting, throw the peanut butter mousse on top and spread.

decorate with peanuts if you wish.

keep cake at room temp. the chocolate will get hard and sticky if you try to keep it cold. the cake keeps for a few days at a cool room temp and serves, like, 35 people. so eat huge slices or have a huge party.

as a side note on this cake, brian and i took a spare slice home with us from my parent’s a few days ago. we went out to dinner that night, and decided not to buy dessert. instead, we ate our cake promptly when we got back to the car. i may have borrowed the restaurant’s fork to do this.

hi, my name is liz, and i have a problem.


18 thoughts on “chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse filling

  1. Is there any way to make half this recipe without messing it up? I would love to make this cake, but it’s just way TOO big for my small family.

    • i would think that cutting the chocolate cake recipe in half should do the trick. i wouldn’t skimp on the vanilla cake, though, since it is only 1 thin layer. i know for a fact that this cake lasted a week and a half after i baked it, so you could pick away at it slowly, or pass it off on some hungry coworkers!
      i bet this would be a fantastic valentine’s day treat!
      let me know if you try cutting the chocolate cake in half!

  2. Pingback: gluten free, grain-free chicken nuggets, almond butter squares, Eat the cookie, adopt a gluten-free blogger | SDC

  3. I make wedding cakes and am always looking for new recipes. My go-to chocolate cake is from Gourmet:
    It has a deliciously rich chocolate flavor and a moist crumb, but it still cuts nicely. I’m excited to try this recipe. It sounds perfect as the couple has requested a peanut butter option. I’ll be icing it with vanilla buttercream and adapting it to fill two 6″ round cake pans for a cake tasting this weekend. Might add some chocolate ganache layered with peanut butter filling as well? I’ve not yet used coconut flour in a cake. Hoping for the best!

  4. sorry for late responding to your comment, i had a tough weekend!
    coconut flour is quite unique, so never try replacing or substituting for wheat or any other flour 1:1. the first time you bake with it, follow a recipe that uses to note how it behaves, then do some experimenting after you got the hang of it!
    your cake sounds awesome, and my mouth is watering for chocolate at 7:55am!

  5. Is this a gluten free cake? I am assuming based on the noes above that I am not able to substitute all purpose flour.

    Thank you, this sounds absolutely divine!

    • yes, totally gluten free and grain free! i wouldn’t know how to go about subbing AP flour, but if you have a favorite chocolate cake, the peanut butter mousse would fantastic in any application!
      thanks for stopping!

    • hi marla!
      no, it really doesn’t taste too much like coconut, depending on what you are using it for. if you mix it with chocolate, the coconut flavor most completely disappears. used alone, with more coconut flavors, or vanillas, it does come through as a coconut flavor. it has quite a different property from wheat flour, as it absorbs something like 3x the amount of liquid, so it is not suitable as a 1:1 substitution!
      i find mine at the local grocery store. i buy bob’s red mill brand, as it is easiest to find. it is usually located with the gluten-free baking section. alternatively, one could fine a big lot of it anywhere online. i have bought from nuts online before with seriously great results! it may seem a little expensive, but you use about 1/3 the amount of coconut you would with other flours!
      thanks for stopping in, marla!
      coconut is extremely healthy and delicious. i hope you can find a reason to start baking with it!

  6. I have used the frosting and mousse from this recipe many times now, but for a black magic cake instead. Oh my god, you have stumbled upon a gold mine. As long as I don’t screw up on the mousse, everything turns out heavenly.
    The only problem I ever had with this was the one time I got food poisoning. I’m not sure if it’s because I left the cream cheese out for too long before making the mousse (fell asleep between taking it out and making the mousse), because the heavy cream was bad (I only bought it a week and a half ago), or if I left the cake sit out too long. I figure since the mousse has lots of dairy in it, it might go bad if left out for too long. I’m not 100% sure that was the reason, but just in case, I keep my cake in the fridge up until about an hour before eating.
    The consistency of everything is so much better at room temperature, so the best bet would be to make the mousse and assemble right before needing the cake and then have it all eaten so there are no leftovers. That one bad time I had was the only time I had leftovers to save.
    Other than the problems with saving this cake that I’ve had, I’ll say that at least the frosting and mousse (since that’s all I’ve used) I’ll definitely give a 10/10. So delicious!

    • thank you for saying you enjoyed it so!
      yes, there is much dairy in this, so lots of refrigeration is key. please don’t get food poisoning. i just want you to eat cake.
      remember, too, that lots of food born illnesses with peanut butter if you don’t check labels, dates, etc.
      stop by again, ya hear?

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