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Birthday Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Every year (minus last year), I make myself a special birthday cake.  I try to pick something that’s really captured my imagination, that seems a bit fancy and more complex than I’d usually convince myself to tackle.  Something special.

This year, for reasons I can’t even quite explain to myself, I made a vanilla spice Coca-Cola cake with salted peanut frosting.

Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Frosting

Yes, you read that right.

It’s kind of conceptual…while I’m not a fan myself, boiled peanuts in Coke is considered a Southern delicacy.  Consider this the deconstructed cake version.  But without the weird texture issues.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-sliced

It was really a gameday decision.  I’d pored over my whole Pinterest dessert board and nothing was really jumping out at me.  But then I finally got it into my head that this vanilla spice Coke cake was going to be my base.  I’ve never had a traditional Coca-Cola cake, but my understanding is that it’s almost always chocolate.  When I ran across this recipe from Local Milk, I was intrigued…the way the flavor profile was described so beautifully, and as an interesting transition into fall,I decided it had to happen.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting

But the frosting that went along with it was just way too finicky for my exhausted and busy self to deal with.  I looked at tons of different recipes but nothing really felt right, until I saw this salted peanut frosting.  Since I love all things peanut butter, I was on board right away, and I thought that it would be a fun complement to the cake.  While this was a bit overly sweet for my tastes (or maybe that was because I also ate a gallon of queso, so I felt a bit ill), the flavor was bomb and the cake was insanely moist.

I’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe down the road, and not just for a special occasion—the cake base itself (minus frosting the layers) was super easy and fast.  As you can tell, frosting cakes is not my particular skill set.

So happy birthday to me, and cut yourself a huge slice of cake and pour a Coke!

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-butter-sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F and place the rack in the center.  Grease two 9″ round cake pans (or others about that size if you prefer), line with parchment paper, and then grease again.  Set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until very light and fluffy—for me this was about 5 minutes.  It made kind of weird squeaky sounds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, and keep repeating this through the entire process.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-eggs

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing (on low) each time to incorporate, then add the vanilla.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-dry-ingredients

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-coke

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-coke-batter

Add one cup of flour as well as the baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and mix to combine. Add a third of the Coke and mix. Repeat this with the other cups of flour and rest of the Coke in two batches, alternating and mixing each time.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-batter

Use a rubber scraper to make sure everything is well mixed on the bottom and sides of the bowl before turning your mixer off for the final time.  I thought my batter was going to be too runny while I was mixing everything in, but it ended up feeling like a normal cake batter.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-batter-pans

Divide the batter evenly between your two cake pans and smooth out the tops. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-layers-baked

Allow cakes to cool for at least ten minutes in the pan, then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-peanut-butter

For the frosting, beat the butter and peanut butter together until smooth.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-frosting-done

Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and the pinch of salt and beta everything together. Add as much cream as is necessary for the frosting to become the desired consistency (I had to use at least 2 tablespoons).

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-layer-frosted

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-frosted

Now, this is the point at which you’re going to panic because you don’t have enough frosting.  But everything will be fine.

Put a thin layer of frosting between the two cake layers (you don’t need much), and then frost the outside fully.  Let sit until the icing sets.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-finished

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-slice

I made this the night before and it was insanely moist the next day.  Cover in a cake carrier, and it should keep a few days.  If it will be longer than 2-3 days, I recommend putting it in the fridge.

Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Cake

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • A strong pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of Coke (Mexican if possible)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Frosting

Note, if you like a really thick layer of frosting on the middle and sides, you may want to double this recipe

  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup of soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • Sea salt for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and make sure your rack is roughly in the center.  Grease two 9″ round cake pans (or others about that size if you prefer), line with parchment paper, and then grease again.
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until very light and fluffy—for me this was about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, and keep repeating this through the entire process.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing (on low) each time to incorporate, then add the vanilla.
  4. Add one cup of flour as well as the baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and mix to combine. Add a third of the Coke and mix. Repeat this with the other cups of flour and rest of the Coke in two batches, alternating and mixing each time. Use a rubber scraper to make sure everything is well mixed on the bottom and sides of the bowl before turning your mixer off for the final time.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between your two cake pans and smooth out the tops. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow cakes to cool for at least ten minutes in the pan, then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the frosting, beat the butter and peanut butter together until smooth, then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and the pinch of salt. Add cream until the frosting is the desired consistency (I had to use at least 2 tablespoons).
  8. Put a thin layer of frosting between the two cake layers (you don’t need much), and then frost the outside fully. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough frosting, but it did end up being fine.

Cake recipe from Local Milk, frosting recipe from Nellie Bellie

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