Honey-Roasted Peanut Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting: A Piece of Cake #56
Remember when they KILLED Mr. Peanut???
You know how sometimes when you’re eating a salty snack, you find yourself wondering, “Wow… would this make a great cake flavor?” Just me? Ok. I guess my brain is broken in that way so that yours doesn't have to be.
Honey-roasted peanuts are a perfect sweet and salty balance, so the flavor needed for a good snack cake is already there. It was the texture I had to figure out. For this cake, I wanted both an intense peanutty flavor and a little bit of crunch. I achieved this by grinding the peanuts to the size that you find in chunky peanut butter, then I pulled half of that mixture. I ground the rest into what is essentially peanut flour, so that you get just enough crunch in the cake, without having to worry about breaking a tooth.
I lowered the usual amount of salt in the base cake to account for the additional salt from the seasoned peanuts. This base cake is one of my absolute favorites to use: it starts with oil, sour cream, a liquid, and a flavor. You might remember this one from my Fresh Ginger Snack Cake. The beauty of this cake base is the texture. It’s got a tender but sturdy crumb and the oil content will keep it moist for days.
A classic Southern-style boiled caramel icing felt appropriately casual for this cake. Like so many old-fashioned recipes, it’s a charmingly simple and fairly foolproof concoction: brown sugar, butter, milk, and confectioners sugar. I’ve pumped up the flavor with some bourbon (and salt, obviously).
The last time I used this frosting in a recipe was for the Bananas Foster layer cake at MeMe’s Diner. That was a combo of banana cake, filled with Bananas Foster jam, covered in rum buttercream, and topped with this caramel frosting. To be clear, it was a sugar bomb of the best sort. Here, it’s just enough sweetness to temper the salt of the peanuts. And a boiled caramel frosting gets the most delicious crust when poured hot over a cake. Allow it to drip down the sides; because even a snack cake deserves a little drama.
Honey Roasted Peanut Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting
For the cake
½ cup honey-roasted peanuts
1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup sour cream
¼ cup canola oil
⅓ cup water
For the frosting
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅔ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
Make the cake
In a food processor, grind the peanuts to the texture of the chunks in chunky peanut butter. Remove half and set aside in a medium bowl. Grind the remaining into fine peanut flour. Combine both in a medium bowl.
To the peanut mixture, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, mix again to combine.
With the mixer running on medium speed, stream in the oil. Add the water and mix until fully incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl, mix again to fully combine.
Grease a 9 inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean.
Let cool in the pan completely before depanning to a serving plate.
Make the frosting
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the brown sugar. Boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, salt, and confectioners sugar until smooth.
Whisk in the bourbon.
Pour the warm frosting over the plated cake, spreading over the top and allowing some to drip over the sides.
If desired, dust with additional peanut flour.
This Ritzy Cheddar Chicken Breast recipe from Eric Kim is sooooo up my alley. I can’t wait to make it. Also, Andrew made Eric’s Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese dupe last weekend while we were visiting MeMe in the Finger Lakes, and it was a huge hit.A post shared by NYT Cooking (@nytcooking)
Elena in Montreal has been a restaurant crush of mine for a few years, sadly from afar. I really hope to make it back to Montreal this year to eat there, and their new sister restaurant Gia Vin & Grill. But back to Elena: how cute is their fourth birthday cake? Those little googly eyes are it.A post shared by Elena (@elenamontreal)
Also, if you have somehow not heard. Edy Massih and I are doing a super cute and delicious Valentine’s Day pop-up collab at Edy’s Grocer in Greenpoint. It’s New York-style steakhouse dinner through Edy’s incredible Middle Eastern point of view. I can’t wait. You better hope there are tickets still available!A post shared by Edy’s Grocer 🍋 (@edysgrocer)
A Piece of Cake is written by Bill Clark and edited by Andrew Spena. Photography by Hunter Abrams. Logo design by Brett LaBauve.
sounds sooo good, and the icing reminds me of one my literal grandmother used to make (“penuche”?)