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Peanut Butter Graham Cake

Graham cracker crust with graham cracker cake layers, peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache and a chocolate shell.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Cake
Servings 1 3-layer, 8-inch round cake

Ingredients

FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

  • 3 cups finely ground graham crackers about 25-27 full rectangular crackers
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 cup finely ground graham crackers about 8-9 full rectangular crackers
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large or extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk at room temperature 

FOR THE GANACHE

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 5 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter I use Skippy
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream 
  • Pinch of salt

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SHELL

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips

GARNISH

  • Chopped peanuts, salted
US Customary - Metric

Instructions

FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. Spray again. Set aside.

  2. In a medium-size bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Stir until all the graham cracker crumbs are dampened by the melted butter.

  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the three pans and press down firmly with your hand or the back of a spoon.

  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool while you make the cake layers.

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor or blender and pulse until the cookies are finely ground and resemble flour.

  3. In a medium-size bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk until the ingredients are well-blended. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition.

  5. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Slowly add half of the buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Continue alternating the flour and buttermilk until it has all been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly mix for another 20-30 seconds.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among your pans (right on top of the graham cracker crust) and bake for about 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely. 

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream for about 1 minute.

  2. Pour the cream over the chocolate and to stir to melt the chocolate. Mixture should be silky and slightly thick. Let cool before using.

FOR THE FROSTING

  1. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds.

  2. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix in, slowly at first until incorporated, then increasing the mixer speed to high once all of the powdered sugar has been added. Blend in the vanilla extract, salt and heavy whipping cream, and continue to whip on high speed until very fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

  3. Stir by hand with a wooden spoon to push out air pockets.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE SHELL

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Place the first cake layer on a cake board, with the graham cracker layer on the bottom. Top 3/4 cup peanut butter frosting and a generous drizzle of the chocolate ganache.

  2. Repeat with the second layer of cake.

  3. Place your final cake layer, with the graham cracker layer on the bottom, on top of the second layer of frosting and ganache.

  4. Apply a thin layer of the peanut butter frosting around the entire cake and freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes. This is the crumb coat, which locks in crumbs and allows you to frost the cake without any crumbs getting into the final coat of frosting.

  5. Once the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake, using another cake board or an acrylic disk on top to help you get straight sides. After you've smoothed out your sides, freeze the cake for another 20-30 minutes. We want the cake to get extra cold so we can roll it in the chocolate.

  6. While the cake is in the freezer, melt your chocolate chips and spread the melted chocolate on a sheet pan as evenly as possible.

  7. Take the cake out of the freezer and turn it on it's side and roll it into the melted chocolate. You'll have to do this rather quickly. Check out the video above for help. I rolled half of the cake in the chocolate, used an offset icing spatula to even out the chocolate again and then rolled the cake for a second time.

  8. Let the chocolate set on the chilled cake and then remove the acrylic disk and spread the melted chocolate on the top of the cake. You'll see that the chocolate starts to harden like the Magic Shell ice cream topper (something you could also use in place of rolling the cake in melted chocolate).

  9. Top with chopped peanuts.