Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake

peanut-butter-chocolate

It was National Chocolate Cake Day on Friday so I made this little beauty. I thought it had been a while since I’d posted a recipe so I’m sharing it on this week’s blog.

Arcade heroes

Back from another weekend in East Anglia, this time to see my best mate Ross. Ross (pictured with me above) and I did our A-Levels together so have been friends for nearly 25 years and he’s awesome. As he’s a Hamilton and I’m a Burr, we’ve always vaguely known about the Hamilton vs Burr duel in US history. Obviously Hamilton the Musical has made this duel much more famous, with Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr the main characters in the show. We’ve been lucky enough to buy tickets to see Hamilton when it comes to London’s West End. Tickets go on general release tomorrow but my wife Sarah had registered for the pre-sale tickets released two weeks ago. I’ve never known such anticipation about a musical but the show’s been a phenomenon, winning pretty much every award going on Broadway. We’ll be going on the same night as some of my Bake Off buddies, Andrew & Tom from last year, so definitely a GBBO night out to look forward to. While Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s music is the main draw in the show, it’s also come at a time when US politics really matters to all of us, globally, particularly in the past few weeks. I’ve been reading rolling news all weekend and it can be pretty exhausting and disheartening, so often I’ll bake just to take myself off social media for a few hours.

marina-di-venezia

The rain and cold weather this weekend has had me looking for a bit of holiday escapism. I did a demo at the Janfest2017 caravan and motorhome show today, compared by their excellent MD Neil Greentree. I showed how to make bread on a camping stove, which always goes down well. We try to go camping/campervanning every year these days as the kids enjoy it so much, and we do too. We’re hoping to get away in a trailer tent later this year and we’ve booked a trip with Eurocamp in the summer, where I’ll be taking over their Instagram account while I’m away. I read this really good article yesterday, detailing the 20 best campsites in Europe. I’ve bookmarked this article to act as a bit of a checklist for future holidays and I was really delighted to see the site we’re going to near Venice make the cut. I’m working on lots more recipes to make outside on camping stoves and barbecues and look forward to sharing them when the weather improves. Someone asked me today if I’d ever made a cake on a camping stove so that will probably be a future experiment!

cake-slice

This week’s cake was my eldest daughter’s idea. She eats pretty much every food and has developed a good palate as a result, and she really fancied chocolate and peanut butter. I bought some Whole Earth Foods peanut butter to make this as it didn’t have added sugar, and I wanted to experiment using a plain peanut butter in this recipe. The Whole Earth peanut butter is delicious but the cake would still work fine with standard peanut butter if that’s all you can get hold of. I also bought my favourite chocolate for the ganache: 70% Lindt dark chocolate. Again, you can use any dark chocolate but this is the one I tend to bake with the most. I used Reese’s mini peanut cups to decorate the cake, though quite a few got eaten during the making of the cake – bit of an operational hazard. And I’m so lucky that my pals at Homepride have been keeping me in plain flour and their new bread flour recently, as I get through tons of the stuff. I absolutely love peanut butter so this cake was a real treat. If you give it a go, let me know…

peanut-butter-chocolate
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

For 2 x 7″ sponges

  • 200g plain flour
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 50g peanut butter
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2tsp baking powder

For the buttercream

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 150g peanut butter
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the ganache & finish

  • 300ml double cream
  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 50g peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • packet of Reese’s mini peanut butter cups

Method

  1. N.B. I have made this cake using 7″ round tins but it would work with 6″ or 8″ tins too – you may just have to adjust the cooking time
  2. Grease and line your tins with baking parchment
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180oC  / fan 160oC  / gas mark 4
  4. For the sponges, cream together the butter, peanut butter and caster sugar with an electric hand whisk
  5. Beat the eggs into the mix
  6. Mix the baking powder and cocoa powder into the plain flour – you’ll need to sieve these together, as the cocoa powder and baking powder can clump together
  7. Fold these dry ingredients into the mix with a silicone spatula
  8. Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins (about 440g in each if you’re weighing your tins) and smooth the surface with an offset palette knife
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until a cocktail stick poked into the centre comes out clean
  10. Allow the sponges to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before taking them out and putting them on a cooling rack
  11. To make the buttercream, add the butter, peanut butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat slowly with an electric hand whisk until you have a smooth mix – you may need to add a little milk to get a smooth enough consistency to spread
  12. Meanwhile, make the ganache by breaking the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a saucepan and heat until just before it starts to simmer. As soon as it’s reached this point, tip the cream into the chocolate and mix. If it starts to split (i.e. go greasy and bitty-looking) then add around 2tbsp of warm milk and this should bring it back. As the ganache cools it will begin to thicken up, making it easier to apply
  13. I used my cake cutter to cut each sponge in half horizontally so that there were four thin layers in the cake. If you don’t have a cake cutter, you can use a large bread knife (watch your fingers!) or just have two layers instead
  14. Build the cake by spreading layers of buttercream between each of the four sponges with an offset palette knife
  15. Coat the cake with ganache and smooth with a palette knife. If the ganache starts to split as you’re spreading just put your palette knife in very hot water, dry it and continue smoothing
  16. Gently heat 50g of smooth peanut butter on the hob and drizzle this over the ganache on top of the cake. Use a cocktail stick to swirl the peanut butter and ganache together, creating a marbled effect
  17. Decorate the sides of the cake with Reese’s mini peanut cups (or other sweets of your choice) and make a peanut butter lover very, very happy!

Until next week, Happy Baking!

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