Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Buckeye Cake

You know how you sometimes try a new recipe and think, Well, that one's not a keeper?  That's disappointing.  Then there are the times you think, How did I survive this long without having this?  That's what I thought after biting into this cake.  My friends Christopher and Elizabeth had me over for another fabulous dinner, and this was my contribution. (Note: Friendship is good.  Friendship with those who can cook is really good.  I'm still dreaming about Elizabeth's potatoes...)  After gorging ourselves on food and drink, dessert was vital. Forget the "let it settle" mentality.  Forget the "wipe that extra peanut butter off the plate before taking a picture for the blog" mentality.  How about the "this will pair well with red wine" mentality?  Embrace that, and then embrace this cake.

Buckeye Cake

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Layer
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease 9-inch-round cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; grease.

Cake: Combine eggs and sugar in large bowl. Stir in flour, melted butter, melted chocolate, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake; cool for an additional 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving platter. Remove pan and parchment; cool completely.

Peanut Butter Layer: Beat peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in medium mixer bowl until combined. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Spread mixture on cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Ganache: Heat cream in small saucepan to boiling; remove from heat. Add semi-sweet morsels; let stand 5 minutes. Stir; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until mixture is spreadable. Spread chocolate on top and sides of cake.

Melt peanut butter chips in resealable plastic bag on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 30 seconds. Knead bag to mix. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals until melted. Cut a small hole from corner of bag; squeeze to drizzle over cake. Store in refrigerator. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

There's nothing quite like starting a new recipe.  Maybe I'm easily amused, but I love the feeling of lining things up, cracking that first egg, and knowing I'm diving in.  Speaking of cracking that first egg, notice my eggs are in separate bowls here.  The first went directly into a Stainless Mixing Bowl, but I'll break the second into a Prep Bowl to ensure good egg-ness.  I've only had a couple of bad eggs in all of my baking, but they were bad.  Anyway, butter and chocolate are in the 1.5-Qt. Saucepan from the Executive Cookware Collection, and a Quikut Paring Knife rounds things out.  All of this rests on the Large Cutting Board.

I can't stress the importance of proper ingredient measures when baking.  Flour and sugar must be spooned into a measuring cup and then leveled off.  Fortunately, the Measuring Cup Set includes a leveling tool.  Here you can also see the Adjustable Measuring Spoons and the Measuring Spoon Set being used.  Lots of measurements... lots of fun tools!

Properly lining a pan is the first step to ensuring cakes come out without incident.  Follow the instructions above, and you'll have no worries.  Pampered Chef Parchment Paper is wonderful... and kosher.

Look at the Cake Pan's handles - so handy!  The batter is now ready for the chocolate/butter mixture.  I'll scrape it from the pan using the Skinny Scraper, and then I'll give everything a good stir with the Stainless Whisk.  I feel now is a good time to tell you this chocolate looks delicious but isn't.  Unsweetened chocolate is gross, so just make sure you get it all out of the pan.  Don't ask how I know, but ugh...

Perfection! When a cake requires a pricey ingredient list and several steps, it's nice to see it turn out so well.

Hello, peanut butter layer!  If you don't have a Measure-All Cup, you need to get one.  This isn't me being a salesperson; this is me being a friend.  Push it to the measurement you want, fill it up, and pop it out like a syringe.  Liquids can be done on the other side, too!  That's my heirloom sifter in a Classic Batter Bowl in the background.  No, my sifter is not available for purchase.

Here's why it's important to sift powdered sugar, especially if you've had it in the cabinet a little while.  These chunks will make your icing/filling/whatever gritty.  Take the time to sift.

Is it fair for me to show you this picture?  Some would argue it's unkind, but I think it provides extra incentive for you to hit the store, but some ingredients, and get to baking.  You're welcome.

Ganache is the final step.  The method is ridiculously simple as well as reliable.  Chocolate chips and cream are measured in Easy Read Measuring Cups, and peanut butter chips (which I ended up skipping) are in a cup from the Measuring Cup Set.  The Mini Mix 'n Scraper pairs perfectly with the 1.5-Qt. Saucepan, and the Cutting Board provides a clean surface for all these ingredients.

This cake is rich.  It's dense.  It's perfect.  The pieces in the first picture were way too large because of the richness, but that doesn't mean they weren't consumed in their entirety.  This is adult chocolate dessert at its best, so make it for your adult friends.  They will thank you and extend more invitations into their homes... trust me.

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