Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

For my first post, I have chosen my mother's belated birthday cake. I saw this cake a couple of months ago on Smitten Kitchen's blog. Because my mum's birthday is only three days after Christmas, it doesn't feel like much of a hardship going without a cake. Anyway, a few days later I decided a cake must be made, as it wouldn't be fair to have an over-a-week-belated birthday cake, and besides, we all wanted some cake. This was when I turned to this recipe.

I edited the recipe only slightly- some of the quantities differ a little, but are mostly the same- and, as I mention below, I reduced the amount of frosting considerably.

The original recipe is a triple layered cake, but I only did a double layered one because it is rather large- and rich, so the serving sizes are relatively small. The recipes I have posted are enough for a triple layered cake; I reduced the ingredients below for the cake by 1/3 and used 2 cake pans. For the frosting, I reduced the ingredients by 1/4, which was a good amount (although it was less than the volume recommended)- though if you're a frosting maniac, you could go for the full amount- roughly 1 1/2 of the listed amounts for a triple layered cake.

I really do recommend making this cake- if you're looking for something deeply chocolatey, this probably will not suffice, so you could use a different recipe for that. But the frosting is great, and very versatile; that, combined with the chocolate cake and topping makes a truly indulgent dessert- therefore it is noteworthy that thin slices are more than enough, and you should probably only do all three layers if there are plenty of mouths to feed. You could even do a single layered cake if you don't think you'll get through more than that-even just make half a batch of chocolate cupcakes topped with the peanut butter frosting. Or, in a bit of a different direction, a vanilla cupcake with jam filling would be pretty cool with this frosting.

As a last point, make sure you freeze the cake before you try to assemble it- it is very fragile.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

280g plain flour
490g sugar
65g cocoa
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp salt
240ml flavourless oil
240ml sour cream
360ml water
2tbsp white vinegar
1tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
Peanut butter frosting:
190g cream cheese
80g unsalted butter

400g icing sugar
100ml smooth peanut butter
Chocolate topping:
75g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate
2tbsp smooth peanut butter
1dsp golden syrup
80ml single cream

1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C/ 350F/Gas 4. Butter and line three 8-inch diameter cake pans.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water, then the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Divide among the three cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack and removing the greaseproof paper to cool completely. Put the cakes back into the re-papered (not buttered) pans, wrap in foil, and place in freezer bags and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up.

4. To frost, spread about one fifth of the frosting on top of the first cake layer, then place another cake layer on top and spread on the same amount of frosting. Top with the final layer and spread a little bit of frosting over the top and sides as a crumb coat before refrigerating for 15 to 30 minutes. Take out of the fridge and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides before returning to the fridge while you make the chocolate topping.

5. Melt the chocolate, peanut butter and golden syrup in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring to blend. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Spoon (while warm- reheat if necessary) over the cake once the frosting has well set and spread around the top of the cake, pushing towards the edges to let the chocolate drip down the sides.

6. Return to the fridge, uncovered for about 30 minutes to allow the chocolate to set, then take the cake out of the fridge and leave for about 30 minutes to take the chill off.

Store in the fridge in a Tupperware. Take out of the Tupperware and leave for about 30 minutes at room temperature to warm up a little.


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