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Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until melted.
Whisk in vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Quickly beat in eggs (do this quickly so they don’t cook) into the chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in dry ingredients, until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cakes cool in pans until cool to the touch – then frost.
Peanut Butter Frosting: Cream butter and peanut butter in a stand mixer. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar, one half cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk, one teaspoon at a time, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Assemble the three cake layers with a thick layer of frosting in between the layers. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop cake in the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.
Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake and top with chocolate sauce if desired!