Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Listen Very Carefully

Work began on our kitchen yesterday and there is a backdrop of banging, crashing and drilling all accompanied by loud pop radio... Not really conducive to the work I was planning to get done this week. After trying to struggle to think all morning I've given in and have settled down with a cuppa to write out the recipe I promised instead. 

Chocolate and Peanut butter layer cake

This is a cake of three parts... The chocolate sponge, peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache. I have adapted a chocolate cake recipe from one in Nigella Lawson's book Nigella Bites, mostly because it is so easy and despite the large quantity of sugar it doesn't actually taste too sweet, which is what you need. Of course you can substitute your own favourite chocolate cake recipe and make more than two layers (next time I'm planning three)... But this is what I used. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients as it really is easy.

Chocolate sponge
400g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
250g golden caster sugar
100g caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
150ml creme fraiche
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter, melted
125ml vegetable oil
300 ml water

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F, Gas 4) and grease and line two 20 cm sandwich tins. Combine all the dry ingredients by sifting them into a large bowl. In a large jug whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche and vanilla. In another large bowl, or the bowl of a free standing mixer, whisk together the butter, oil and water. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and oil mixture  and whisk in well, finally adding the egg mixture and whisking again until everything is well combined. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 50 to 55 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut butter frosting
110g unsalted butter, softened
250g smooth peanut butter
250g icing sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons milk

Beat together the butter and peanut butter until well combined. Gradually beat in the sugar with the milk and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Set aside a small amount of the frosting to use as decoration and then use the rest to sandwich the cakes together and to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Ganache
70g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken into pieces
30g unsalted butter
25 ml double cream

Combine all three ingredients in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and combined. Stir well until smooth and glossy and set aside to cool. Meanwhile put the cake in the fridge to allow the frosting to chill a little. When the ganache has started to thicken, remove the cake from the fridge and pour the ganache into the centre of the cake allowing it to cover the top and drip down the sides. Allow the ganache to set ( you can pop the cake back in the fridge) and then use the reserved frosting to decorate the top, along with some Reese's Pieces peanut butter cups cut in half.

Then all that is left is to eat it... And enjoy. I'm not even going to mention calories.

Well, they have now finished in our kitchen for today... And this is the current state of play. Our fitter is still saying he will be finished by early next week! I'm not convinced and I'm getting baking withdrawal symptoms!

Luckily there is plenty to take our mind off things as the curtain goes up on our play this week. Last night we had a photo call for the local press. Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once... yes, the red head is me!


  1. It is a good job that I have already baked for this week - apple spice cake and Halloween biscuits - otherwise I would be off to the kitchen right now!! Delicious!!!!! It is so funny seeing an empty kitchen isn't it, kind of like an archaeological site of the history of your kitchen, paint colours, flooring, where tiles were, pipes moved. That is what I think of anyway! I hope that you are back up and running again with your wonderful new kitchen very soon!! xx

  2. Sounds like a good start to your journey to have a new kitchen!
    The cake looks good. I will just take the peanut butter cups, though!
    Sandy in the UK
    Hope the play goes well!

  3. It would be nice to see a play, I haven't seen one in ages (apart from school nativities.). Have fun! x

  4. I think being a red-head suits you.

    I remembered the other day that when I had my new kitchen, I was running my own business making and decorating cakes, in the days of sugar shortage. Your cake looks good but is not one that I would attempt nowadays.

  5. I could feel my cholesterol level rising as I read that scrumptious recipe!
    We are only having the hall, stairs and landing decorated but it seems to affect all sorts of activities.
    You are almost unrecognisable in the red wig. You must all be having so much fun.

  6. And what a lovely redhead you are!!! That cake looks divine -- thanks for the recipe!!!

  7. Gina, even with the gift of your recipe, and helpful info, I do not think that I'd ever be able to create that truly remarkable cake. Promising ot let you know if I ever do actually make an attempt.

    Your kitchen space is cleared for the reno. May your builders be as skilled in their chosen profession as you are in the art of baking...amongst your other talents.

    Oh I wish I could see that theatre production. I was a bit late in being attracted to Hallo, etc., but once hooked, loved it. You've definitely got the key role, and look marvelous in the red hair and trenchcoat.


  8. What a gorgeous redhead you make! Have lots of fun.
    Why do tradesmen always need to work with pop music at blaring volume? They seem to be the same all round the world.

    Your cake recipe sounds delicious. I am trying to decide what golden sugar equates to in Australia - probably raw sugar. Perhaps I need to think of our weight and not bake it at all though. Cheers

  9. Oh my SAINTED EYES. Look at it! It's a confection of great beauty.

    Hmm...I do hope you're going to apply for GBBO for the coming season.....

  10. At least now it's all ripped out, it will soon start to take shape - and will be worth it when it's done. And guess what - I baked yesterday too - I made a cheesecake for Mum's birthday today. Xx

  11. Oh my - that cake! I am actually salivating - the only question is 'when' to make it, there is no 'if'.

  12. Thank you for my dose of calorie porn. I really can taste it from here. Work men's radios: the one thing that really drives me nuts. All that yacking drivel and repetitive music. Thank goodness for good headphones, an audio book and sewing projects.

  13. Stunning cake! Hope the play ... and the kitchen makeover go well :)

  14. Oh my! That cake looks like something off Bake-Off! I'm going to make it a Christmas as an alternative to a traditional Christmas cake. The red hair suits you! Good luck with the play and the kitchen! xCathy

  15. What a wonderful performance you gave! The whole show was excellent and the audience loved it. I am astonished at your capabilities ( as always!)

  16. Reading Annie's comment, I'm so glad your play was a great success!! Now whose idea was it to rip up your kitchen right when you got into this professional baking?! I hope there is quick progress in getting that all put back together again. Your cake looks absolutely amazing and sounds like heaven! You're a genius Annie. Enjoy your week!


I love getting your comments and I love to read what you have to say so thank you for taking the time! I reply when I can by email... or if you are a no reply blogger, then I sometimes post a reply in the comments.