Peanut Butter Chunky Monkey Cake has fluffy peanut butter buttercream frosting, moist banana cake layers, and Nutella ganache. How can you go wrong with this holy grail of layer cake combinations? Whether you’re making a cake for a birthday, or for any special occasion, this is one epic cake that is cause for celebration!
Peanut Butter Chunky Monkey Cake
As you get older, birthdays become less and less exciting. The creeping age gradually becomes more dispiriting, while the presents and celebrations start to wan. Although birthdays may become more foreboding, my zeal for birthday cake never wavers.
Especially when I get to make and eat someone else’s birthday cake. There’s nothing better than diving into a birthday cake with no strings attached.
Recently I answered the call to make a 40th birthday cake worthy enough for my best friend of 20 years. I never take cake making lightly, but this cake definitely had to have big enough cajones to overshadow an apprehensive occasion.
A lot of women out there probably don’t joyfully anticipate their 40th birthday. Logistically we know we won’t automatically morph into disgusting, wrinkly hags once we reach that fated age. What scares us, I believe, is subconsciously drawing on our perceptions of 40 year olds we knew when were 20 years younger. They were…well OLD and very grown up. Forty year olds had jobs, families, and responsibilities which weren’t very appealing to a 20 year old.
Now that I’m knocking on the door of turning 40 myself next year, I don’t feel very OLD, untrendy, or out of touch (except when people talk about snapchat – no idea). At least in my subjective mind, I think I’ll be one of the most with it 40 year olds out there. True that.
Surprisingly something happens, though, when you reach those ominous numbers. You look at 20 year olds and feel pity for them.
They seem so naive, falsely self-assured, and desperate to make their way in the world. Would I want to go back to that place in my life? Not a chance.
Would I want to relive some of those adventures when I was experiencing new places, always meeting different people, and traveling without responsibilities holding me back?
And I will eventually. Because there’s this little thing called RETIREMENT when I’ll get to live like my 20 year old self again, but this time with actual money.
I’d like to think this Peanut Butter Chunky Monkey cake gave my good friend, Angie, some earnest joy on her birthday. I always put just as much love as I feel for the person into my cakes (plus a little dash of getting carried away), like Clara’s Salted Chocolate Ganache Ding Dong Cake, or Nolan’s Chocolate Whipped Cream Banana Cake. With all the effort, joy, and love you continually bring to your family and friends, Ang, you deserved this cake times a million.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs, separated and room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour, or all purpose gluten free flour (I highly recommend Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour for best taste)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1½ cups mashed bananas
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tbsp heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Nutella
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Hershey kisses, optional, for decorating
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray two 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line each bottom with a cut-to-size parchment circle. Spray again and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream ¾ cup butter and sugar until light and fluffy, at least 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture.
In a separate bowl beat the reserved egg whites until stiff. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the banana batter, then gently fold in the remaining ⅔ until no streaks remain. Gently pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted at center comes out clean. Turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
Cream butter, then add vanilla and peanut butter. Mix well. Add the powdered sugar, alternating with the heavy cream. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy.
Slice each cooled cake layer in half horizontally to make 4 cake layers. Put first layer top side down on serving platter. Spread a medium layer of peanut butter buttercream on top. Repeat with other three layers.
If you are going to pipe some frosting on top for rosettes, set aside about a cup, depending on how many rosettes you'll want.
Use the remaining buttercream to cover top and sides of cake. Place in refrigerator at least 30 minutes while you make ganache.
Put Nutella and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stirring halfway through. Remove from microwave and continue to stir until smooth and homogenous. Cool for about 20 minutes until thickened slightly, but still pourable.
Take a spoon and drip ganache down the sides of the cake until you have your desired look.
Pour remaining ganache on top of the cake, using an offset spatula to smooth.
Refrigerate until ganache is solid, about 15 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and using a star tip for rosettes, pipe remaining buttercream on top, then place a Hershey kiss on each rosette.