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.
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 I originally made this cake for a birthday/going away party for friends.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!
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
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
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
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.
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?