The Best Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

I pretty much always wish I had a reason to make a cake.  The more I think about it, it’s one of the reasons I love weddings, because I think wedding cakes are amazing.  Tonight I had a conversation with some ladies about wedding media.  Wedding sites, blogs, shows magazines are all geared at woman.  The wedding is portrayed as entirely about the woman, which to me seems a little unfair, given that the woman is only one half of the equation.

But in the conversation, one of the things I pointed out is that part of my fascination with wedding media is the aesthetic.  I think weddings are beautiful.  I think cakes are beautiful.  That’s probably why I love food blogs too, because I think the photography is pretty.

Most of the time when I see a beautiful cake my first thought is I want to make that, then second, I want to eat that.  For me, making cakes is fun.  I love making them look beautiful, but I also love making them taste good.

ChocolatePBCake1

Because really, isn’t a layer cake just one of the prettiest things out there?

While I always want to make cakes, there isn’t always an occasion to make a cake.  I originally made this cake for a birthday/going away party for friends.  But it was so popular and pretty that I wanted to make it again and photograph it.  

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  I think it just means I appreciate aesthetics. So if you want to make a cake for a special ocassion or no reason at all other than to please yourself… please do! ChocolatePBCake3

And as a bonus, it’s amazingly delicious and the perfect 6-inch cake.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

For Cake (adapted from Hershey’s Chocolate Cake):

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

For Filling:

2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup whipping cream

For Frosting:

2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 big pinch of cream of tartar*
1 pinch of salt

For Chocolate Ganache:

3 oz bitter sweet chocolate chips
1/4 heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Make Cake.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line with parchment paper 2 (6-inch) cake pans, set aside.  In a stand mixer bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Add eggs, oil, milk and vanilla.  Beat together.   Add boiling water and beat until combined.  Pour batter evenly between both 6-inch cake pans.  Bake 25-30 minutes (this might vary based on your oven so start checking for readiness after 20 minutes, especially if using a convection oven) or until cooked through (i.e. do the toothpick test: insert toothpick, once it comes out clean, it’s ready).

Allow to cool completely.

In the meantime, make the filling.  Beat together cream cheese, condensed milk and peanut butter.  In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream into firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture, refrigerate until ready to use.

Next make your frosting.

Place a glass bowl over a sauce pan that has about 1 inch of water in it, make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl (aka build a double boiler).  Add egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt.  Mix together.  Heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are warm when you touch them.

Transfer egg white mixture to a stand mixer and attach whisk attachment.  Stir on low and turn up the speed every 15 seconds or so until it’s on high speed.  Beat 5-7 minutes or until glossy, stiff peaks form.

Now assemble the cake.  Level your layers and slice in half, so you have 4 layers (you’ll notice in my photo I only had 3 layers, you can accidentally drop one on the floor and have 3 layers as well… that’s allowed, but not advised).  Place your first layer on your cake circle or cake dish of choice. Lay some filling on top of the first layer and spread evenly, press on second layer, it’s ok if it overflows a bit.  Repeat until all layers are complete.

Next, frost with a generous layer of frosting.

Place in the fridge while you make your ganache.  Place chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.  In a small sauce pan, heat heavy cream and vanilla stirring constantly until it comes to a light boil.  Pour cream over chocolate chips.  Let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.  Pour over cake and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Allow to cool completely, then slice and serve.

ChocolatePBCake2

I had hopes and dreams of making a beautiful vide to go along with this blog post, but I’m still working on perfect my video making skills… but in case you’re curious… here’s my first attempt:

 

Not the prettiest video, but I’ll take it for a first try!  We can’t expect to make gorgeous creations the first time around, and I’m cool with that.

 

So tell me, are you a fan of layer cakes, weddings and pretty things?  Are you overloaded with wedding stuff? Don’t even see it?  Is a cake just a cake for you?  

 

Advertisements

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting

I’ve been a little bit out of control with my sugar intake this week.  But that’s totally ok.  Monday will start a new week and we’ll be good to go with some more clean eating.  But before that, let’s talk cupcakes.

BananaCupcakeswchochazelnutfrosting2

A few weeks ago, Nocciolata sent me some samples of their tasty chocolate hazelnut spread to try. It’s seriously amazing and is certified organic, which cool! I really like that this has actual recognizable ingredients in it. Now, you might remember that I loooooove chocolate hazelnut spread (aka I went crazy with Nutella when I lived in Rome and gained 15lbs, no joke) and my favorite combo by far is chocolate/hazelnut + banana.

So with these samples sitting in my house, I tested out a few recipes for chocolate hazelnut frosting.  I failed 3 times and finally went back to the basics: buttercream.  Buttercream is delicious and always pleasing.  And I knew that the frosting I created would go perfectly with banana cupcakes.  So that brings us to these guys:

BananaCupcakeswchochazelnutfrosting1

Lately, the world has gotten ridiculous on the cupcake frosting front (myself included), but sometimes you just want to have a cupcake that looks homemade.  You know, like spread with a knife.  No fancy piping bags necessary.

Something familiar, comforting and tasty (like chocolate hazelnut spread).  Let’s concentrate on flavor, not on looks, because that’s really what this spread is all about: Great Taste.

BananaCupcakeswchochazelnutfrosting4

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting

For Cupcakes:
1 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup sugar, heaping
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
3-4 cups powdered sugar

Make cupcakes.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.  In a bowl combine flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).  Add egg and beat for another minute. Add mashed bananas and beat for another minute.  Add remaining wet ingredients then start to add dry ingredients.  Beat until combined.

Fill lined cupcake pan with 1/4 cup of batter each (or until each cupcake slot is about 3/4 the way full).  Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden and cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely. This recipe will yield about 13-14 cupcakes.

Next make the frosting.  Beat together butter and chocolate hazelnut spread.  Gradually add powered sugar until it gets a thick spreadable consistency.  If it’s too thick, thin out with a bit of milk.  Spread frosting on cupcakes.  Top with sprinkles if you like, then serve!  (P.S. You can totally add more Chocolate Hazelnut spread to this frosting have it be even more flavorful, you just might have to adjust the powdered sugar amount.  I would have added more but I ran out of samples with my many fails).

BananaCupcakeswchochazelnutfrosting3

I’m definitely a fan of the chocolate-hazelnut + banana combo!  What’s your favorite thing to combine with chocolate-hazelnut spread? 

Thanks to Nocciolata for the samples!  Be sure to check them out.

Easy Marshmallow Frosting

I’m going to ask you to brace yourself, because I can already tell that what I recently discovered is going to cause a whirlwind over here at Foodologie.

Marshmallow Frosting

MarshmallowFrosting3



Why hadn’t I tried making this before? Oh I know why… it seemed too complicated and not worth my time.

Well, let me just tell you.  It’s totally worth it and not nearly as difficult or time consuming as I thought it would be.  All the recipes I read required 8-10 egg whites, too much cracking… corn syrup, um no.  But finally I found one without corn syrup that was easily to scale down and gave it a try.  Thank you, Martha Stewart, for introducing me to marshmallow frosting.

MarshmallowFrosting4

Easy Marshmallow Frosting

from Martha Stewart

2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 big pinch of cream of tartar*
1 pinch of salt

Place a glass bowl over a sauce pan that has about 1 inch of water in it, make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl (aka build a double boiler).  Add egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt.  Mix together.  Heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are warm when you touch them.

Transfer egg white mixture to a stand mixer and attach whisk attachment.  Stir on low and turn up the speed every 15 seconds or so until it’s on high speed.  Beat 5-7 minutes or until glossy, stiff peaks form.

MarshmallowFrosting1



Frost cupcakes and serve! Refrigerate if you’re not using it right away.  This recipe will make enough to frost about 8-10 cupcakes using a lot of frosting per cupcake (as I did in this photo), or 1 small 6 inch cake.   I would probably double the recipe if you are doing a larger cake or 2 dozen cupcakes. *Note: the original recipe called for 8 egg whites, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar, so when I scaled it down I just did a big pinch.  If you double this recipe, use 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. marshmallfrosting

I’m seriously amazed at how delicious and easy it was to make this marshmallow frosting.  I already have a million ideas for variations on this type of frosting.   What I really loved about it is that it’s super light and NOT sickeningly sweet like other frostings I’ve had.  I almost want to say I’d add more sugar next time, but I think this would be the perfect frosting for an already sweet cake.

MarshmallowFrosting2


So be prepared for lots of cupcakes to come!

What’s your favorite type of frosting?   I usually love chocolate ganache or just plain whipped cream, but this marshmallow frosting is going to be on the top of my list now.

P.S. Two days left to enter the Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams Giveaway!  Head over to Facebook to enter! Click the Giveaway tab! Make sure to tell your friends and get extra entries daily by tweeting about the giveaway.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake + A Giveaway!

I love peanut butter.  We all know this.  I eat it by the spoonful.  It’s a problem I’m working on.

Last year, Allison and I threw a Peanut Butter Throwdown (aka an awesome party where we made crazy peanut butter sandwiches sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co.).  So to say I’m a fan of Peanut Butter & Co. is kind of an understatement.  A few weeks ago, they sent me and a few bloggers their new 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream cookbook, full of recipes featuring Dark Chocolate Dreams.

So after having the cookbook for a few weeks, eating spoonfuls of Dark Chocolate Dreams and mulling over which recipe to make, I finally decided on the flourless chocolate cake.

flourlesschocolatecakewtext

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this is the perfect treat for you special peanut-butter-loving someone.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake

from 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream

Nonstick Cooking Spray
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
1/4 tsp salt 1 (12 oz) bag Semisweet Chocolate Chips
8 large eggs, at room temperature

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Generously spray 10 inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Make a double boiled by filling a medium-sized saucepan half way with water and placing a large glass bowl on the top of the pan.  Bring the water to ta boil and add the butter, peanut butter, and salt to the bowl.  Mix until well incorporated and turn off the heat.  Add chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Remove the glass bowl from the double boiler.

Use an electric mixer to whisk eggs for 3-5 minutes or until the volume doubles.  Fold 1/3 of whipped eggs into the chocolate-peanut butter mixture and gradually add the rest of the eggs until mixture is well combined.

Pour mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the cake separate from the pan and the center is springy.  Cut and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

flourlesschocolatecake

So in real life, I halved this recipe and put it in a 6 inch cake pan.  I still baked it for 20 minutes, and it turned out perfect.  I topped it with whipped cream and a cherry, because cherries make everything a little more special.  So if you’re looking to downsize this recipe, that’s a great option!

Ok so are you ready to try this now?

Peanut Butter and Co. is being super awesome and giving away a 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dreams Cookbook and a 28oz Jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams to a Foodologie reader!

To enter, head over to Facebook and enter the giveaway on my Facebook page click the Giveaway tab at the top.  The giveaway is open to US Residents and will end on February 14th at midnight!

You can enter by:

You know you want some free peanut butter, especially to make this cake, because it’s delicious.  Head over to Facebook now and enter. You’ve got nothing to lose 🙂

First Birthday Cake

Today is my nephew’s first birthday! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since he was born.  The kid just keeps getting cuter.

1404789_10153514358980462_1038614502_o

This past week I’ve been agonizing over the fact that I was going to make him a birthday cake.  I started feeling extremely guilty that I was going to make a 1 year old a mini birthday cake full of sugar and fat, because at this point he’s too little to actually know he wants it. Earlier this week, my guilt got the best of me and I decided I was going to make a (refined) sugar-free cake.

I tried out a recipe, and it was a flop.  The next day I discussed it with the baby-daddy (aka my brother-in-law) and he made a good point: It’s his birthday.  He’s NEVER eaten cake. He probably won’t again until his next birthday.  It’s ok for him to have cake on his birthday.

That’s when I decided to make a regular cake.  Despite the fact that I felt like I was killing his little insides and firing up a sugar addiction, the reality is, that’s probably not true.

Graham is getting this cake.

firstbdaycake

It’s the Little Banana Cake with some whipped cream as filling and icing.  I made this a few months ago, but this time even littler.  I think it’s kinda cute and I can’t wait to see him dig into it.

What do you think? Should we give One-Year-Olds a regular cake or a lower sugar version?

P.S. Obviously I don’t have kids and am not an expert. I’m just a loving aunt who doesn’t want her nephew to develop a sugar addiction.  So feel free to comment regardless of whether or not you have kids.

P.P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAHAM!

2013 Highlights

I hate to be that person, but I’m going to say it: I can’t believe 2013 is coming to a close.  Seriously, where did the year go?

I remember when I was in college, my friend Hazel would laugh at me because I recounted my days through my meals.  So in traditional Karla (Foodologie) fashion, let me recount my year by favorite things I made/ate.

In January, I was all sorts of awesome (modest, right?).  I made two of my favorite things:

BourbonBananaPie3

Bourbon Banana Pie

orangepistachiobiscotti1

Orange-Pistachio Biscotti

Seriously, those are probably my two favorite sweets I made all year.  So much so that I made them for Christmas.  After January, I had clearly eaten too much pie and biscotti so I felt the need to do a crazy thing: a 30 day paleo challenge.

30daypaleochallenge

It was a shit storm, for lack of better words.  If you want to relive that (I don’t, but that’s cool), check out these posts:

Paleo Challenge: Day 1
Paleo Challenge:
Day 2
Paleo Challenge: Day 3 & 4
Paleo Challenge: Day  5, 6, & 7
Paleo Challenge: Day 8 (Plus 1 Week Thoughts)
Paleo Challenge: Day 9 & 10
Paleo Challenge: Day 11
Paleo Challenge: Day 13 (apparently 12 doesn’t exist?)
Paleo Challenge: Ending Early  <— spoiler I quit!
Life After the Paleo Challenge

But after Paleo, I became a semi-normal person again.  I tried to make healthy things

buffalochickenspaghettisquash2

Like Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

eggplantrollstext

and Eggplant Rolls to balance out my ridiculous desire to ALWAYS eat cake

StrawberryShortcakeinaJar4

This year, I also made awesome blogger friends.  Now I can say Allison from Sweet Potato Bites and Samantha from Little Ferraro Kitchen are real life friends, which is cool!  Who wants to be real life friends next year?

(photo stolen from Sweet Potato Bites)

This year I also decided food parties were a good idea. So I started with a Fried Chicken and Waffles party.

chickenandwaffles1

Because I had never fried chicken and that seemed like a good idea.  It was.

Then Allison and I teamed up with Peanut Butter & Co and threw a Peanut Butter Party.

pbthrowdown

That was all sorts of fun.  Next year, I’d like to do a pancake party, a cocktail party and, if we get crazy, a tamale making party, because why not?

Then let’s not forget how in 2013 I became obsessed with protein powders.  And it continues because I keep putting protein powder in everything, like these pancakes

pumpkinproteinpancakes4But the highlight of the year for me was our trip to Peru

IMG_6610

We hiked, we ate guinea pig, saw llamas, walked everywhere and had a great time.  It was amazing.  I only wish it could have been longer.

Now that 2013 is almost over, I’m excited for 2014.  I hope you’ll follow me along next year as I continue to make sweets and healthy things to cut the guilt.  I promise I’ll keep the crossfit talk to a minimum and I’ll keep taking pictures of myself in dressing rooms and sharing those, like this shirt I bought yesterday…shirt

Just kidding! Well, actually, no I’ll probably still do that, but I promise one day I’ll get over that habit.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve filled with Champagne, goodies, friends and family! I wish you the best in the New Year and thank you for following my blog in 2013!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Persimmon Crumb Cake

Hi Everyone! I’m in Peru probably avoiding altitude sickness is Cusco and on my way to Machu Picchu, but before I left, I made something to share with you.

I have some pretty awesome co-workers.  Once brought me a bag with 15 persimmons.  Isn’t that amazing? I love persimmons but $$$ and let’s be honest… the rent is too damn high to be eating persimmons all the time.

First, I used the persimmons for pancake topping.

Pancakes with Persimmon4

But sadly, he gave me persimmons just before I left for Peru so I figured a great way to give back (and use up the persimmons) was to make a delicious treat with them. If you’re looking for a wonderful afternoon tea fall crumb cake… this is the one.

Persimmon Crumb Cake1

Simple and delicious.  And I have to confess, that I ate two pieces of this when I brought it to work.  It was great with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.

Persimmon Crumb Cake3

Persimmon Crumb Cake

adapted from Real Simple Sandi Rose’s Blackberry Crumb Cake

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup (heaping) sugar
2 tbsp butter

For Cake:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
4-5 persimmons, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Make crumble topping by combining all ingredients.  Use your fingers to work it together til it becomes the texture of coarse crumbs.  Set aside.

Next make the cake batter.  Beat together oil and sugar.  Continue to beat and add eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each egg.  Add dry ingredients as you’re beating in the dry ingredients, stir in the milk.

Pour batter into a 9inch square pan (I actually used a 9inch deep pie dish, because that’s all I had).   Sprinkle with chopped persimmons then the crumble topping. Note: some of the persimmons might sink because the batter is pretty watery, but that’s ok!

Bake 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Allow to cool completely, dust with powdered sugar (optional). Slice and serve!

Persimmon Crumb Cake4
Definitely a winner. Perfect for afternoon tea or when you have guests.  And the best part, if you don’t have persimmons you can pretty much sub out any fruit: apples, pears, peaches, berries, even probably bananas?

Either way, make this and have it with a large cup of coffee or tea.  I did.  It was amazing. Do it.

Persimmon Crumb Cake2

So while I’m in Peru, I don’t have time to share all this goodness with the social media world.  Do me a favor.  Tweet it. Pin it. Facebook it. Tell the world about the magic of persimmon cake!  In the meantime, I’m going to hike a mountain and eat some guinea pig (well… we’ll see)…

Also don’t forget The Refugee Auction is ending soon! Don’t miss out on your chance to bid on some Foodologie treats just for you!  Check it out here!