Monday, April 8, 2013

Sunday Funday & Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Another crazy busy weekend, and another Birthday Cake to share with you!

We recently had a wee glimpse of spring in Calgary, and then were sent back into cold temperatures and snow this weekend. 
Cruel, cruel, mother nature.  We spent allot of this weekend inside when we weren't running here there and everywhere.  And the kids found a fun indoor activity to amuse themselves while I was in the kitchen.   They've both been enrolled in a gymnastics program for the winter at a local community center, and together (no fighting!!) they created a gymnastics routine/competition, and even made little score cards for me and Cory to grade them with!  Adorable

I discovered that I can still do a handstand!... aaaand then Presley killed my back when getting a cowboy ride that included wrestling moves.  ow.

But let me tell you about this cake.  It is not very often that I make the same cake, using the same recipe more than once.  If you are a person who loves to bake, and experiment with new recipes,  you'll understand this.   You ask someone what kind of cake they would like for their birthday (already knowing what you want to bake) know that one you made last year...and then you have to try and sell the idea of this latest cake that you've been waiting for the opportunity to bake!

But this cake. Oh this cake.  Comprised of 3 cake rounds, I cut each layer into two, so it is an impressive 6 layers.  It is a show stopper! A crowd pleaser!  And it is so, so intense. I've probably made this cake about 5 or 6 times, which is saying allot.  It never fails to impress, and is best made for a potluck, or a dinner with a lot of people, so it can get eaten all up.  Cut in the thinnest possible of slices, to share with many and leave with your hostess, or make take home slices. You don't want to be left alone with this cake it is so dangerous.  If it is your home it will call to you from the depths of the fridge, and you will be tempted to go into the kitchen at 3 in the morning, or 2 in the afternoon, and eat more!  'Cuz it will call to you. true story.

I wish I got more pictures of the cake, but we had to leave about 5 minutes after I finished it, and all my pics turned out blurry because I was in such a rush.  Aaaand then I didn't manage to get any pictures of the cake at the birthday party once it was cut. Sorry!  But believe me this is a cake you need to try, and make sure you have vanilla ice cream or a big 'ol glass of milk to serve with it!

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Recipe adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans, and then shake cocoa powder around the pan for good measure.  Add 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, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended.  Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, I use a toothpick inserted in the center, and make sure it 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. After they've cooled place in the fridge to firm up, they are extremely soft cakes, and will be impossible to frost if you do not do this!

I make this cake even bigger than the original, I cut each round in two very carefully, and frost between each layer, so I have a six-layer cake.  You can opt not to cut the rounds so you have an 8-inch triple-layer cake! 
To frost the cake, place one round on a cake stand or large serving plate. Carefully spread the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top, repeat with the next layer, etc. For the last layer, frost the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer to act as a "crumb coat", then return cake to fridge and let it chill for another 15 to 30 minutes until firm.  Use the remainder of the frosting to create the smooth, hopefully crumb-free final coating. Return again to the fridge to chill, which helps you get the best result  in your drip of the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 brick cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
5 cups icing sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar, mixing thoroughly after each addition, add peanut butter and vanilla, and continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

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

I don't have a double boiler, I just use a stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water. I use a mix of dark and semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use all 8 ounces of either type according to your preference. Add the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.
Make sure you are using a large plate, or baking sheet, to catch any drips. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using a 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 about 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely.


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