For a bit of a finale to Chocolate Week I thought I would make a layer cake - they always look impressive and I wanted a celebratory cake. Now whilst I am allergic to tree nuts I am lucky enough to be able to safely eat peanuts (and cashews) but I have never really paired them with chocolate before. I have seen many recipes where the pairing is made though, so thought it was about time I gave it a go (so many combinations of flavours, so little time to try them...).
The chocolate is my favourite standard recipe, with the added depth of muscovado sugar, and the peanut butter chocolate frosting comes courtesy of the Divine Chocolate Cookbook, which is rather appropriate given that Divine chocolate are the main sponsor/partner in Chocolate Week. I adapted the recipe to suit my tastes.
Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
175g softened butter
100g caster sugar
75g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs (with thanks to Suelle!!!)
155g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
a couple of tbsp milk
85g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
125g smooth peanut butter (mine was salted, but with no added sugar)
cocoa powder (2tsp - optional)
icing sugar (to taste - optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease and line two 8"/20cm round cake tins.
- Beat the butter and sugars until soft and light (the colour will change to being much lighter).
- Add the eggs, flour and cocoa powder. Beat until combined.
- If the mixture is too stiff (won't drop off a spoon), add a few tbsp of milk to soften.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed and a cake tester comes out clean.- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- When the cakes are cool, or nearly cool, make the frosting.
- Melt the chocolate gently - either over a pan of simmering/hot water or in the microwave (carefully!).
- When melted, add the peanut butter and butter and beat until smooth.
- Taste the mixture and add cocoa powder and/or icing sugar to taste.
- Spread half of the mixture between the cakes and the other half on the top.
I have to say that this was a bit of a marmite type love/hate cake. Whereas most things I bake are well received this one did split the eater-ship slightly. The cake was universally liked, but the peanut butter frosting was slightly divisive, some liked it, some weren't so keen. I have to confess that I was in the not-so-keen camp, which was a little disappointing. Perhaps it's just a combination of flavours that I need to try again to appreciate more. After all, I love both peanut butter and chocolate, so they should theoretically be even better together! The other thing is that I used neither cocoa powder nor icing sugar in my frosting - it was late at night when I made it and I really didn't fancy tasting it at that point. Perhaps a touch of sugar would have made it much better because I think it was the salt of the peanut butter that perhaps skewed my taste off for this. I'll have to make it again and find out...