Not necessarily a "summer dessert" but one I've made twice, and both times in the summer....for my Husband's birthday cake! It's a favorite of mine simply because of the chocolate and peanut butter combo, which in my opinion is the eighth wonder of the world! I hope you'll enjoy this cake as much as I do...but I warn you: it's incredibly rich; you'll only need a sliver!
For the cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
4 tablespoons brewed coffee
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder (for the double layer look, use 1 cup unsweetened and 1 cup dark chocolate)
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
***Before you begin!!!! The ingredient list above makes two layers for this cake. If you want the double layer look, you'll need to divide each ingredient and mix the batter for each layer separately. If you want two layers with the same type of chocolate and you have a mixing bowl large enough just go ahead and make the batter and divide between two cake pans.***
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray and flour two nine-inch round cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and both types of sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In a third bowl, sift the remaining (dry) ingredients.
On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and flour mixture in thirds, alternating between the two, to the butter and sugar mixture. You should begin with the buttermilk mixture and end with the last third of the flour. Mix only until blended, and then fold the batter with a rubber spatula to ensure it's completely blended.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick comes out clean (chocolate bakes very quickly in my oven, so I start checking my cakes after 20-30 minutes). Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the icing:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cream
Place all ingredients except cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the icing is light and smooth.
Place the bottom layer of your cake upside down on a cake plate. This gives you a flatter surface to place the top layer. Frost the top of the bottom layer with a thin layer of the icing. Then stack the second layer of cake (this time right side up) on top of the first layer. Frost the top and sides, clean up your cake plate, lick your fingers, and get ready for your guests to fall in love with you. This cake is that good!
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten.