Posts Tagged 'peanut butter'

Pipe Dream #53: To Take Real Pictures of the Best Thing EVER, Revisited – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Ok so I told you about this cake before. And I warned you that the description was horribly inadequate. And so it was. I hope this post clears that all up. Yes, it is a repost; no, I don’t mind in the slightest, and neither will you once you make this, eat it and die a blissfully chocolated death.

I made this cake for the students. All the British people make fun of the North Americans for loving peanut butter so much. And it is true. Ever since coming here, all anyone ever talks about is peanut butter and when they can buy another jar at Tesco’s, the small town chain grocery. We spread it on our toast; we spread it on our fruit; we spread it on our fingers so we can lick it off during lecture. We love it more than Nutella, which is the staple sweet spread. That last statement is a considerable one. Think about how good Nutella is!

Point of the story, the kitchen does not make enough with peanut butter. Actually, I don’t know that they have made anything with peanut butter. They just sit back and watch us wallow in peanut butterless misery. Obviously, given my own peanut butterless misery Messiah complex, I decided to remedy the situation with a cake that has proven to be a winner with all nations, classes, and denominations.

Enter, chocolate peanut butter cake with chocolate peanut butter glaze.

I had this sweet idea to make long rectangular layer cakes for 150 people. Despite a bit of difficulty manuevering the unintentionally super thin layers out of the cake pans without parchment paper (read: the dumbest idea of my life), the cakes came together in the end. And the frosting was even better than I remembered.

Smashing,

L

Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s version from Sky-High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes, her notes follow below, and her pictures are better than mine, as per usual :]

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

For the peanut butter frosting:
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

For the chocolate peanut butter glaze:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Pipe Dream #53: To Take Real Pictures Of The Best Thing EVER – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

It is really so sad that I don’t have proper pictures of this cake for you. I’m serious, it is probably the best cake I have ever made. Ever. Although similar to the Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake, I think this cake is better. And pretty easy, compared to some layer cakes.

The cream cheese peanut butter frosting alone is good enough to make and eat. All at once. Up on my roof. For the world to see.

Display my penchant for frosting so openly and honestly? So unashamed? It’s like standing in the Mall at the U and yelling about how Jesus loves me and you too. I would do it if I thought it would make you believe it.

And if swallowing my pride and eating this frosting on the roof would make you bake, assemble and frost this cake immediately, I would do that too. But for both of these issues, you only have my word and these shoddy pictures, as of now.

Please go make this cake. I’m not being bossy. Just earnest.

Earnestly desiring the fulfillment of your deepest desires,

Lauren

Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s version from Sky-High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes, her notes follow below, and her pictures are better than mine, as per usual :]

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

For the peanut butter frosting:
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

For the chocolate peanut butter glaze:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Pipe Dream #9: To Try All 10,000 Chex Mix Flavors – Lemon Puppy Chow

I’m not going to pretend I’m too good for puppy chow. Just because I make ganache-covered cheesecakes and cupcakes with flavorful frosting does not mean that I am going to stand here and tell you that puppy chow is for amateurs (I am one.) And besides, has other things going for it besides its classic roots and addictive crunch.

Puppy Chow is a powerful tool in the Midwest. People at parties flock to puppy chow like vultures to a carcass, circling round and round, intent on finding the ever-elusive “double.”

I have been to social events where the atmosphere would probably have been ruined by people transfixed by the puppy chow bowl. Luckily, I am able to save these situations in most cases by distracting everyone with my boss dance moves and witty dialogue.

Do you believe me?

Ok good, me neither. But still, puppy chow is the real deal. And super easy to make. Just beware of the social repercussions of sharing it.

All you do is nuke chocolate, butter and peanut butter, pour it over Chex cereal (or generic brand, it’s cool), plant your feet, and shakeshakeshake it like a Polaroid picture.

Ahem. Again we witness the social repercussions of puppy chow.

(Sidenote: I believe the official name of puppy chow is “Chex Muddy Buddies,” to which I say, “Whatever, Chex, I go with what I know. In this case, “puppy chow.” Just to clear up any confusion about the naming of things. By the way, have you heard of Andrew Bird? That rhymed. He is exceptionally talented.)

One day when I was looking up the recipe for regular puppy chow online, I came across Chex’s goldmine website of Chex Mix recipes. I guess they felt they should run with a good idea. Anyway, I perused for a little while and decided I couldn’t live my entire life without trying some of the more interestingly named flavors like:

Chex Moroccan Crunch (Seriously, how do you make something taste like Morocco? Like dust? That is all my uncultured mind can imagine. Forgive me for being ignorant about Mideastern culture and geography; it is one of my many failings.)

Lemon Rosemary Chex Mix

Party Hardy Chex Mix

and my personal favorite,

White Candy Fantasy Clusters (What the heck? Who comes up with these?)

I recently tried the recipe for Chex Lemon Buddies. I nicked my fingers with a microplaner. The chow was pretty decent and quite lemony, though due to long years of exclusive exposure to the original recipe, I feel that my loyalty still lies with the classic peanut butter and chocolate combo. So I gave the rest of it to my neighbors on the corner.

9,998 left to go,

L

Lemon Puppy Chow

Adapted from Chex.com

9 cups Rice Chex® cereal

1 1/4 cups white vanilla baking chips

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In a 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High for one minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring evenly until coated. Pour into 2-gallon Ziploc, or a bowl with a lid, like moi.

Add the powdered sugar. Seal bag, and shake until well coated. Spread on wax paper or foil to cool. Store in an airtight container.


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