Thursday, November 10, 2011

Make this cake.

Sometimes the nicest way to renew your affection for home is to go away for a few days. Staying in Boston this weekend for fall break was the most nights I've been away from my room since making my home in the city. It was just what I needed: a vacation with my two favorite people and a chance to renew my mental energy for the rest of the semester. I had three days of visiting friends, shopping, baking, and relaxing with my dad and stepmom. On Tuesday, I took the bus back to campus with a pair of red suede heels, an "I Voted!" sticker (!!I'M SO OLD!!), new speakers for my laptop, and half a three-layer birthday cake.


It took all the will power I possess not to dive in to this peanut butter fantasy with my bare hands on the bus ride home. This gargantuan confection is serious business... I don't even know what to write. The cake says it all.





Listen closely. For me, the cake says, "I'm such a lucky duck, getting the best roomie in the universe. You're absurdly smart and fashionable and just about the sweetest person I've ever met. Happy birthday Asia! Welcome to my crazy family!"


P.S. I was too lazy to lug my camera down from the third floor to the kitchen... but luckily the best photographer at Columbia was right by my side. All the pictures in this post are taken by Shriya. She is the very best. 


Asia looks happy, no? 


Make this cake and eat it. I don't care if you don't like peanut butter, you don't eat gluten, or you don't like chocolate. TRY THIS CAKE.

(Don't die, though. Allergies are serious business.)

This cake was all due to Smitten Kitchen. You're a wonderful lady, Deb.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake
adapted from Smitten Kichen (who got it from Sky High)

1 peanut butter cake layer
2 chocolate cake layers
peanut butter cream cheese frosting
dark chocolate peanut butter glaze

Bake the chocolate and peanut butter layers according to recipes below. After allowing each to cool, wrap in saran wrap and put in the freezer until you have finished making the peanut butter frosting and you are ready to ice your cake with the first frosting.

Place one chocolate layer on the cake plate and spread with 2/3 cup peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Repeat with the peanut butter layer, then the final chocolate layer. Frost top and sides with the rest of the peanut butter frosting. Make sure the sides are beautiful and smooth, but the top is less important because it will be covered with chocolate glaze.

Make the dark chocolate glaze when the rest of the cake is finished. While it is still warm, pour it on to the top of the iced cake. Spread it over the top of the cake, allowing the thick glaze to drip down the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake to allow the glaze and frosting to set. Decorate the top of the cake as desired.

Chocolate Cake Layers
from Hershey's

2 c sugar
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 cocoa
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 t vanilla
1 c boiling water

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
Stir together dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and beat for two minutes. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be strangely thin. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Cake Layer
adapted from myrecipes.com

1 1/4 c cake flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/8 c sugar
1/4 c softened unsalted butter
1/4 c creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1/3 c milk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour one round 9 inch cake pan. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, and peanut butter until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture and milk in alternating batches. The batter will be unusually thick. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting 
from Smitten Kitchen

10 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick softened unsalted butter
5 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (a commercial brand so that the oil doesn't separate out)

Beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar in small batches, beating well after each addition. Beat frosting until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat until blended.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
from Smitten Kitchen

8 oz semisweet chocolate
3 T smooth peanut butter
2 T corn syrup
1/2 c half-and-half or light cream

In the top of a double boiler, combine chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Stir often until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and add the cream. Whisk until it is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
Spread on the cake while still warm.