Tuesday 25 April 2023

Chocolate Sour Cream Peanut Butter Cake

I love a peanut butter and chocolate combo, so this recipe from Alice Zaslavky's book The Joy of Better Cooking was a no-brainer for Cookbook Club.  Strangely, Mr P. is not a fan of peanut butter at all!  Who/whom did I marry? :=)  How can a born and bred Queenslander (where peanuts are grown) not be a fan of this spread?!

I was born and bred in Victoria, so when our family moved to Queensland, we found lots of differences - so many different words and names and phrases.  One of which was peanut paste for peanut butter!  There's quite the story about what this nutty spread should be called, depending on where you grew up and how old you are.  

It all started in 1930, when dairy farmers objected to the spread being called peanut butter as they reckoned butter is butter, and comes from a cow!  So the Sanitarium Company had to change the name in some states of Australia (including Queensland) to peanut paste.  "A peanut doesn't lactate!", was the farmers' battle cry.  So true :=)

crunchy, chocolatey PB cake!

Serves 10-12:


Wet stuff:

250g./9 oz (1 cup) sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g./3.5 oz butter, melted and cooled

Dry stuff:

300g./10.5 oz plain flour

220g./8 oz caster sugar

80g./3 oz cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bi-carb soda (baking soda)

Extra stuff:

250 mL/8 oz just-boiled water

260g,/9 oz crunchy peanut butter


200g,/7 oz good dark chocolate (I use Lindt 70%)

125g./4.5 oz sour cream

125 mL/7 oz single (pure) cream (not whipping cream)

Decorations:  all optional


choc-dipped pretzels

toasted peanuts (I used 1/4 cup peanuts)

or chuck on choc drops or peanut butter drops or whatever you fancy


Whack on your oven to 170C/325F

Butter the sides, and line the base of your 20cm/8 inch springform tin

Grab a large bowl and whisk sour cream with the eggs and vanilla till smooth; now add the melted butter and mix well

Sift the five dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, then add the wet mixture, stirring, stirring while slowly adding the water, till you have a lovely, smooth batter

Pour the batter into the cake tin, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top springs back

Leave it cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave it alone - till it's cold and desperate - hehehe

You can trim the mound on top if it worries you, or turn it over to the bottom so you have a flat bum :=)

Spread the peanut butter all over this chocolate baby, then into the fridge it goes

Make the ganache by chopping the chocolate into small pieces and tipping into a small heatproof bowl

Heat the sour cream and cream in a saucepan till just starting to bubble and boil at the sides, then pour it over the chocolate and let it contemplate itself for a minute

Once the chocolate is melting, stir till well-combined, and leave for a wee minute or two

Now a cake rack goes over a lined tray, so you don't spill ganache all over your kitchen bench - and pour it all over your lovely cake, smoothing with a spatula as you go   see Notes

Decorations go on while the ganache is still warm (so they stick on) 

Let it sit and settle down, and serve to your PB-cake fans

Will keep for a few days in an airtight container - or take it to Cookbook Club - teeheehee


Use a not-so-fancy peanut butter, just your regular old stuff OR try a different nut butter like hazelnut or almond  (yep, I know peanuts are a legume, not a nut - hehehe)

Alice suggests the option of letting the ganache cool down till firm, then spreading it like icing/frosting over the cake

wet stuff

wet and dry stuff

mix till smooth

smooth and glossy batter heading into the 170C oven

and let it cool on a rack

stir the hot creams into the chocolate

and stir till smoothly glossy

smothered in PB

and decorated with nuts and pretzels

I dipped 25g./0.9 oz salted pretzels into 40g./1.4 oz dark chocolate

the lovely Olive enjoying cakes and wine at Cook The Book Book Club

We are so very lucky to have an Indie bookshop just up the road, which has lots of fabulous books and book clubs!  The wonderful ladies who own it - Anna and Theresa - have been such a gift to our local neighbourhood.  I'm a bit of a fixture there :=)

Utility jars? I guess that's when you could re-use it as a tumbler
                                    (Photo from Brisbane City Council archives)

c. Sherry M.


  1. We adore peanut butter and pairing with chocolate is absolutely irresistible. I grew up eating many different kinds of peanuts..blanched, sundried, with dried tiny fish, and sweetened peanut soup, crispy peanuts with spiced dough coating...LOL

  2. Oh my, oh my! My mouth is watering right now!

  3. Yum. Regine

  4. Well, that one sounds tasty, Sherry! What's not to love with peanut butter!

  5. this looks so decadent and I love the pretzels on top.

    1. thanks judee. I love a bit of salt with chocolate.

  6. Well, I love peanut butter and I love dark chocolate and (I love sour cream . . . ???) and there are no really big bad sins there, are there . . . ? You have created a fun entry and I may just try . . . and hope you felt as settled as I did during our rather warm-hearted Anzac Day! Oh, someone managed to call me a 'socialist communist honey' on IG . . . did not like it when I burst out laughing asked for definitions, did he?!

    1. we had a bit of rain up here for Anzac Day but not too bad unlike last year where it poured on the parades:) Wow that is quite the epithet, isn't it? At least you were a honey!!

  7. Well, surely do not know how I came up as 'anonymous' again . . . this is Eha Carr . . . hello!

  8. do you call it peanut butter? Thanks!

  9. Hahaha - I'm imagining reusing peanut butter jars as tumblers. :-) This cake sounds absolutely fantastic, and I'm sure it went over well at the book club. The chocolate-covered pretzels on top take it to a whole new level for me. Well done, Sherry!

    1. I remember re-using jam jars etc when we were kids! At least if we broke them, it didn't cost anything. Those pretzels look the biz I reckon :)

  10. A lovely cake with two favorite ingredients; chocolate and peanut butter (paste) :)

  11. How wonderful to have an in-person cookbook club, I wish there was such a thing here. It looks like everyone is having a lovely time. How can you beat chocolate and wine?

    1. yes I love our bookclubs! We do indeed have a fabulous time of it.

  12. Books and food make for a wonderful club, I think! What a marvelous dessert. I agree---Chocolate and peanut butter go great together.

    1. yes it is a great club, and we have fun. i'm very happy the bookshop opened near us.

  13. Peanut paste, thats something new I learned today :)

  14. Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven. This looks soooooo delicious!

  15. I am with you - I love chocolate and peanut butter together and this cake sounds marvelous. I wasn't aware that peanut paste/butter was a thing in Australia. I remember trying to find it in Germany in the 70s and they all thought I was nuts!

    1. That's interesting about Germany. I remember not being able to find unsweetened coconut milk to make a curry years back when we were living with our friend in Philly. We had to use sweetened stuff and hope for the best :)


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