Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Layer Cake

I had a birthday in July and this is the cake I chose to make to celebrate.  I absolutely love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate and this cake fits the bill.  The peanut butter icing is rich without being too sweet, and would also taste delicious spread over a pan of chocolate brownies.


For the Cake - I used this classic Hershey's recipe that never fails: I made one and a half times the recipe and baked as directed in three 9-inch round pans.

1 cup butter softened

2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons milk, or more as needed
5 cups powdered sugar

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
8 ounces heavy cream
1 teaspoon corn syrup

1. Bake cake and set aside to cool completely.

2. For the icing: Beat butter and peanut butter until creamy.  Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, adding milk as icing becomes stiff. Use more milk if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Beat for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.

3. For the ganache glaze: Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat heavy cream until almost boiling, then pour cream over the chocolate. Let stand for one minute, then whisk until smooth and silky.  Whisk in corn syrup. Set aside to come to room temperature.

4. To assemble: Frost the three layer cake with the peanut butter icing. Place the frosted cake in the refrigerator while the ganache cools. Once ganache comes to room temperature, remove cake from refrigerator.  Pour some of the ganache onto the center of the top of the cake. Gently spread the ganache until it runs down over the sides. Work quickly because the ganache will begin to harden on the cold cake. You may not need to use all of the ganache to get a nice glaze.

5. Store cake in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Strawberry Cream Cake

My husband and I went to a potluck a few weeks ago, so as usual, I volunteered to make dessert.  This recipe turned out to be a nice summer treat, and it makes for a lovely presentation.

FOR THE CAKE:  I used this recipe:  The only changes I made were to bake the cake in a tube pan, and then cut the cake into three layers after it had cooled completely.

1 Yellow Bundt Pound Cake, cut into three layers

2 Quarts strawberries, hulled and cut in half length-wise
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream

1. Set the layers of cake and the hulled and cut strawberries aside.

2. For the cream filling:  In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the heave cream until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until the mixture forms stiff peaks, about 2 to 3 minutes.

3. To assemble:  Place one of the cake layers on a platter. Arrange a ring of strawberry halves around the outside edge of the cake.  Fill in the rest of the layer with strawberry halves. Gently spread one-third of the cream filling (about 1 1/2 cups) over the top of the strawberries.  Repeat with the middle layer, layering cake, strawberries, and cream.  Place the final cake layer on top and spread with the remaining cream filling.  Arrange strawberries on top in a decorative pattern.

4. This is best served right away, but can be refrigerated for up to four hours.  Bring cake to room temperature before serving.