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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ruffle Cake

I made this cake for my mom's birthday.  She is the ultimate peanut butter-chocolate lover.  I remember growing up she had a (not so) secret stash of Reese's cups for emergency purposes.  Unfortunately, this cake was the breaking point for realizing my bake element was gone.  This cake is quite possibly the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted when I've made it before.  But when I baked it, it rose unevenly, and one side of the cake took longer to cook than the other, results in a very ugly inside of the cake and a fairly dry result.  And that's not this cake!!!!!!! This cake recipe is very moist --errr....sorry my niece L, I meant, well-hydrated.  Happy ending, I replaced the bake element and problem solved, $100 later.  Argh....

The kicker for me on this one was the frosting.  It retains a distinctly peanut-buttery flavor without tasting like pure confectioner's sugar.   It was definitely my favorite part of the cake. I made a double batch of it because the ruffles take a lot of frosting.  This was my first time doing ruffles, and they are very forgiving.  They also make up for any errors you make on the side, and the reese's make up for any errors you make on the top!  I'm a big believer in pretty foods, wherever possible.  It's called the "Halo Effect", which basically means if it looks pretty you will perceive it to taste better than if it's ugly!  So it's a great cake for the beginner cake decorator (me).  The Ruffles, of course, belong to Martha Stewart, but I first saw them on Amanda's I Am Baker.

Reese's Peanut Butter cake
flavor combo inspired by Annie's Eats


Rosie's Famous Chocolate Sour-Cream Cake Layers
adapted from Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book

4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar (16 oz)
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (5.5 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee or 5 teaspoons instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 345 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8" (or 9") layer cake pans with vegetable oil or butter, or line them with parchment circles or inserts sprayed with baker's joy.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over simmering water (homemade double boiler, bowl does not touch the water) then turn off the heat.
Sift the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt together into a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend the hot coffee, sour cream, and vegetable oil with a whisk.
 With the mixer on low, add the coffee mixture in a stream to the dry ingredients and mix until blended, about 35 seconds. Stop the mixer to scrape the bowl several times with a rubber spatula.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium-low speed after each addition until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl each time. Add the chocolate and mix until the batter is uniform in color, about 10 seconds more.
 Divide the batter evenly between the prepared plans, preferably by weight (1 lb, 6 oz per pan), and place them on the center rack of the oven.
Bake until the cake springs back to the touch and a tester inserted in the center comes out dry (do not wait for a crust to form), 35 to 38 minutes.
 Remove the cake from the pans after 5 minutes of cooling.  Wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and pop promptly in the freezer until cool or for several days.  This traps in moisture by not letting it evaporate as steam.

For the frosting:

Kathleen's (of Tate's Bake shop) Peanut Butter Icing:
barely adapted from Ina Garten

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

To frost:
Add 1 1/4 cups frosting on top of the cooled cake layer.  Cooling the layers makes them easier to frost.    Add the second layer and put a thin layer of frosting around the whole cake.  Put a #103 tip into a pastry bag, add it half full with peanut butter frosting, and pipe ruffles gently up the side of the cake, with the tip perpendicular to the cake.  Sprinkle crushed dark chocolate reese's cups over the top of the cake.

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