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.
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.
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!