Some days, ya just gotta bake a cake. I am a person who doesn’t typically crave sweets and often skips dessert. When I do have dessert, I prefer to have something like a nice sharp piece of cheese with a little honey on it instead of a giant slice of cake or ice cream. It’s not that I don’t like dessert or sweets, I just have much more of a savory tooth! I like salty, cheesy, umami goodness….
But there are certain times of the month that my brain persuades me otherwise and when that happens, there is only one thing that will do, one magical ingredient that manages to satiate even the deepest cravings…chocolate. I had been dreaming of this cake for a week before I finally broke down and made it and damn was it good and indeed, it was just what I wanted. A dark chocolate cake flavored with coffee and buttermilk and topped off by it’s smooth and silky best friend, peanut butter. Give this cake a try next time you need an easy dessert to feed a crowd or anytime you have a chocolate craving to satisfy!
Dark Chocolate Sheet Cake with Peanut, Coconut, Cardamom Buttercream
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup extra dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a half sheet pan by buttering it thoroughly, covering it with parchment paper and buttering the parchment.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix with the paddle attachment on low just to thoroughly combine everything.
In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and vegetable oil.
With the mixer on low, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. When combined, slowly pour in the hot coffee. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir the batter with a rubber spatula to make sure the dry ingredients on the bottom of the bowl have gotten fully incorporated. Pour onto the sheet pan. Gently rap the pan against the counter to pop any air bubbles.
Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This cake comes out of the oven looking black and burnt but it’s just the darkness of the cocoa powder, don’t worry!! Let the cake cool 30 minutes.
For the Peanut-Coconut-Cardamom Buttercream:
- 1 cup Earth Balance Peanut Coconut Spread (if you don’t have this, you can always use regular peanut butter supplemented with two tablespoons of coconut oil)
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1/2-1 teaspoon cardamom (depending on how strong you like the cardamom flavor)
- 1-2 tablespoon milk
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and peanut butter and whip with the whisk until thoroughly combined. Adding 1/4 cup of powdered sugar at a time, whip on low speed until the buttercream had increased in volume and looks fluffy. If the mixture gets dry at any time, add the milk in to soften it up. If you like a stiffer buttercream, you can continue adding powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. If you need to loosen it up, just add in a little more milk. When the buttercream is thick and fluffy, add the cardamom and mix on low until incorporated.
When the cake has cooled completely, place a cutting board or larger sheet pan on top of the cake and flip over to turn it out. Cut the cake into 8 equal sized squares. Place one square down onto a plate and spread with the buttercream using an offset spatula. Place another cake square on top and spread with another layer of buttercream. Repeat with the other six squares. To finish, sprinkle with a little more powdered sugar and serve!