Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Cakes

Take this recipe, run to your kitchen and get baking ASAP- the ultimate indulgence awaits! I have spent some time perfecting this peanut butter frosting formula to result in the smoothest, creamiest covering to compliment the soft chocolatey sponge, so let me know what you think if you give it a go!

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For the chocolate sponge layers, you will need: 200g dark chocolate, 300g butter (softened and cubed), 300g light brown sugar, 300g caster sugar, 180g plain flour, 180g self raising flour, 2tsp baking powder, 80g cocoa powder, 5 eggs, 150ml water, 6tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan) and grease and line three 18cm tins.

Place your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat until melted. Set aside to cool.

Cream together the butter and sugars then add the flours, baking powder, cocoa powder and eggs then whisk until smooth. Add the water and milk then stir slowly together. Add the melted chocolate and mix.

Once the cake batter is smooth, divide between the tins and even out. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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For the decorations you will need 100g dark chocolate

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water then remove from heat and cool slightly. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe patterns onto greaseproof paper. Set in the fridge while you make the peanut butter frosting.

For the peanut butter frosting, you will need: 4 heaped tbsp peanut butter, 200ml double cream, splash milk, 600g icing sugar

Place these ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. You may need to add some milk to create a spreadable and easy-to-use consistency. Use your judgement on this.

Sandwich frosting between the three sponges and coat the outside. Use a palette knife to achieve a neat finish. Take your chocolate decorations from the fridge and use as required.

Enjoy your showstopper!

My Chocolate Show Stopper

Cakes

This chocolate cake might look a little intimidating on first inspection, but it is actually made using several very simple techniques. With my instructions you can’t go far wrong with the methods and once you’ve made it once you’ll have a go-to show stopper for Birthday gatherings and dessert spread centre pieces.

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So, the first component is the fudgy chocolate sponge mix. For this you’ll need:

300 plain flour, 400g caster sugar, 2tsp baking powder, 2tsp bicarbonate of soda, pinch salt, 80g cocoa powder, 3 eggs, 250ml milk, 140ml vegetable oil, 3tsp vanilla extract, 100g dark chocolate (melted), 200ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 170c (fan) then grease and line two 18cm loose bottom cake tins.

In a large bowl, mix together the plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa powder with a wooden spoon.

Put your chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a simmering pan. Meanwhile in a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract.

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and leave to cool slightly. In three additions, add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing well as you go. Once smooth, pour in the melted chocolate and combine. Last of all, slowly pour the boiling water into the bowl and gently stir until smooth (the mix will be very liquid, but this makes the cake deliciously moist and fudgy).

Split the cake mix between your two tins and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Once cooked leave to cool on a rack.

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While your sponges are baking, start on your striped jaconde sponge (this is made up of a decorative chocolate paste and a simple, light brown sponge mix).

For the decorative paste, combine: 60g butter, 60g icing sugar, 2 egg whites, 40g plain flour, 40g cocoa powder

Simply combine these ingredients in a small bowl. Now, here is the tricky bit.

Line a 10x12inch shallow baking tray with baking paper (ensure the baking paper is big enough to line the walls of the tray too). Cut a separate piece of baking paper to the exact size of the bottom of the tray (10×12) and place on top of the larger piece.

Take the 10x12inch rectangle of baking paper and spread your decorative paste all over it in a thin 2-3mm layer, all the way to the edges.

Now, with a chop stick (or similar tool with squared off end) draw diagonal stripes through the paste so you are left with lots of chocolate lines separated by the lines of baking parchment (this creates the stripey effect on the outer edge of the cake).

Put the rectangle with the stripes on back into the lined baking tray and place in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes while you make your jaconde sponge mix.

And for the jaconde sponge you’ll need: 2 egg whites, 5tbsp caster sugar, 40g ground almonds, 60g icing sugar, 2 whole eggs, 20g plain flour, 20g butter (melted)

Up the oven temperature to 220c (fan). Now, in a clean bowl whisk your whites until stiff peaks are formed. Slowly add your caster sugar, still whisking, until a glossy meringue mix is achieved. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk your almonds, icing sugar and whole eggs until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour, then the meringue mix. Finally, pour the melted butter in slowly and very carefully combine. The mix should be light and airy.

Retrieve your baking tray from the fridge. Pour the jaconde sponge mix evenly over the stripes of paste, using a spatula to make sure the gap between each chocolate line is filled. Place in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until pale brown.

Once baked,turn the tray upside down onto a work surface and peel away the baking paper. You should be left with a thin rectangle of jaconde sponge with a pin stripe pattern across it. Leave to cool slightly.

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Finally, for the easy chocolate frosting, you’ll need: 150g softened butter, 400g icing sugar, 200ml double cream, 150g dark chocolate (melted), 4tbsp cocoa powder

Combine the butter and icing sugar, loosening with the double cream as you go along. Add the melted dark chocolate and the cocoa powder then whisk vigorously until smooth and workable.

Now, for the assemblage…

Cut your two chocolate sponges in half and layer on top of each other with a generous spreading of chocolate frosting between ( I only used three layers as I didn’t want to create a huge cake as it’s not for a special occasion!).

Cover the outside of the four layer (or three if you like) cake with frosting and smooth to the desired effect.

Now, cut your jaconde sponge into two long rectangles. Measure your cake to gage the exact dimensions you will need to cover the outside of it. I needed two 4.5x12inch shapes. Don’t worry if you cut your jaconde a little too large, you can always trim it.

Wrap the sponge rectangles around your frosted cake and press onto the sides to secure. Trim if necessary. Now, for a final flourish, pipe little stars of the remaining fudge icing all over the top and scatter with glitter.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Hit of Vitamin C

Cupcakes

Everyone loves a chocolate orange in their stocking at Christmas, so I’ve concocted these rich chocolate orange cupcakes as a baked alternative. Orange spiked chocolate sponge topped with a smooth cream cheese frosting- what’s not to like!?

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To make these Christmas treats you’ll need: 80g butter, 200g caster sugar, 100g soft brown sugar, 2 eggs, a couple of drops of vanilla extract, 240 ml milk, the zest of one orange, 250g plain flour, 50g cocoa powder, pinch salt and 1tbsp baking powder (Makes 12)

First of all, line a muffin tray with cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 190c (fan).

Cream your butter and sugars together until fluffy, then sift in your plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In a jug, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, milk and orange zest then add to the bowl in three additions, carefully mixing between each.

Separate the mix between your cases and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

For the topping you will need: 600g icing sugar, 50g butter, 250g cream cheese, 60g cocoa powder and 2tbsp orange zest.

Mix together your icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter until a crumb-like mix has formed, then add your cream cheese in three additions, mixing vigorously between each. Stir in the zest and use a piping bag to neatly top your cooled sponges (or just spread over with a palette knife, if you like).

Decorate as you wish, I’ve used a little reserved orange zest, some chocolate swirls I set in the fridge, and a Christmassy flourish of glitter!

Enjoy!

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