Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hello friends :-)

It's been a really, really long time since I've posted a recipe on this space - the last one was in January! That's nearly a whole year, but it's not because I've stopped baking or anything (my Instagram speaks otherwise) but perhaps my own standards just became higher and I decided I should post a recipe only if it's something I'm truly proud of, and would love people to try. This year, I became really conscious of sharing my bakes with others because my own family continually criticizes every single thing I bake, not caring about how I felt at all. Constructive criticism is alright, but they simply tell me to "stop baking", "it's horrible" and other such things when I don't actually think it's all that bad. My confidence in baking just plummeted, which is probably exactly what they wanted because I have a feeling they said all that to make sure I wasn't going to pursue a career in baking in future. 

While it definitely did bother me and I ended up throwing a lot of my bakes away which is a typical response from an angst teenage girl, I realized it wasn't the right thing to do at all and I was being sorely immature. Why should I allow myself to be easily stopped from doing what I love? And so I continued baking, and I think their "feedback" actually made me continually strive to improve my baking, and I really wanted to prove my own family wrong. 

It was #GivingTuesday five days ago, and I wanted to do something for strangers but I was unwell and couldn't go outside. So, I baked a cake and cut slices of it to give to my neighbours and it was a lovely experience. One of them even exclaimed "oh my, it looks so professional!" which made my day, considering all the criticism I've been receiving. My parents were quite surprised I was confident enough to give the cake to others, and so they tried it and they actually liked it, not without saying I made a wrong decision to combine chocolate and peanut butter because the flavours didn't work together. Then again, chocolate and peanut butter are flavours that match perfectly, evident by the popularity of peanut butter chocolate cups - what's there not to love? They are just nitpicking in my opinion. And with that, I bring to you the recipe I adapted from Brown Eyed Baker for a: 


Ingredients (for the chocolate cake itself):
1. 200g all purpose flour
2. 130g cake flour (or you can just use all 330g all purpose) 
3. 450g granulated sugar (original recipe called for 600g but that's way too much)
4. 130g cocoa powder 
5. 1 tablespoon baking soda 
6. 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
7. 1.5 teaspoons salt 
8. 3 eggs, room temperature 
9. 355ml buttermilk, room temperature (I didn't want to get buttermilk specially so I just combined 355ml of regular milk with 1.5 tablespoons of white vinegar and let it stand for 5-10 minutes before using it, it'll create the same reaction you need with the baking soda for fluffy cake) 
10. 355ml strong black coffee, hot
11. 180ml vegetable oil 
12. 4.5 teaspoons vanilla extract 

This chocolate cake is by far the best and my favourite chocolate cake recipe - the cakes are super moist, the chocolate flavour really stands out because of the coffee added but don't worry there isn't any coffee taste at all and it's just an all around brilliant recipe. It's insanely simple as well; just wet ingredients in one bowl, dry ingredients in another, combine it all together and pop it in the oven! 

1. Preheat your oven to 175 degree Celcius. 

2. Combine all your dry ingredients in one bowl (basically the first seven ingredients as listed above - flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt) 

3. In a separate bowl, mix all your wet ingredients together 

4.. That would be your next five ingredients - eggs, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla extract


5. Combine your dry ingredients with your wet ones 

My bowl was way too small, so I took out a gigantic pot to properly mix everything together

It would be good to use an electric mixer at this point for a really smooth batter 

6. Grease three cake tins (or if you're like me, grease one and do this two more times later on) and pour your batter (make sure it's evenly separated into three portions) and bake each cake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes - mine took 32 minutes. At the 20minute mark, rotate the tray in the oven and bake till the end. 

7. Pop them out and let them cool on a wire rack - mine turned out cracked which was strange because all my ingredients are room temperature, but that's fine because they'll be covered in frosting anyway 

Ingredients (for the peanut butter frosting):
1. 200g powdered sugar 
2. 375g peanut butter (I used chunky)
3. 7.5 tablespoons butter (I like using salted, because it balances out the sugar) 
4. 1 teaspoon milk/ vanilla extract 
5. 50ml heavy cream 

1. Whip the butter till its light and fluffy 

2. Add the peanut butter, milk, and powdered sugar and whip it more

3. Add the heavy cream and yes you guessed it, whip it but don't overbeat or it might split 

And finally, the last component of the cake before assembling the entire thing together - the chocolate ganache! 

Ingredients (for the chocolate ganache):
1. 150ml heavy cream 
2. 3 handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips - I didn't measure at all, it's not very necessary 

1. Heat up the heavy cream to a light simmer 

2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring it 

Mmm smooth ganache

And now for the fun (or tedious, depends on the kind of person you are) part! :-) The assembling process - it's pretty self-explanatory through the photos so I won't give specific steps  

Trim off the domes 



Pour the ganache directly over the top, or you can choose to do what I did, which was to pour it into a ziplock before snipping a small hole and dripping it carefully at the sides for a more detailed effect 

Then fill the top in!

And there you have it - a chocolate peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache over the top. I'm not a master decorator and in fact I find it very difficult to properly frost cakes - cupcakes are the easiest - so I like how the ganache covers up the uneven parts and yet makes it look quite impressive. 

Yum yum yum 

So glad my slices came out pretty cleanly, and the three layers are super evident! It made me super happy :-) 

And the slices went into boxes to distribute to neighbours! :-) 

I love how this cake isn't super sweet and the sponge itself is actually light, balanced out with the rich and creamy (and slightly salty) peanut butter frosting and super smooth chocolate ganache. This was truly something I was proud of baking and I do hope everyone tries it - it takes a bit of time and patience but the recipe is essentially still a simple one and the result is definitely worth it - level of satisfaction is really high and the cake is also photogenic. 

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