Peanut Butter and I, we are not friends. I dislike its flavour, its texture, and the way it sticks like crazy to the roof of my mouth before eventually working its way slowly down my gullet, leaving my tongue like a strip of sandpaper in the process. But something happens when peanut butter and (my very good friend) chocolate come together, something truly wonderful. The combination of salty and sweet makes my taste buds happy, and the smooth and creamy texture makes me all but forget the unpleasantness of peanut butters’ past. There was a birthday approaching, and part of me (the fat part) really wanted to attempt the Heaven and Hell Cake from Saveur.com. After a little bit of research I discovered that each slice of this decadent dessert sensation contains approximately 1,027 calories and 62g of fat (53% and 94% of your recommended daily allowance of each respectively). EACH SLICE. The fatty inside me put up a good fight but on this occasion I just couldn’t bring myself to make it. However it has firmly secured a place on my list of things to eat before I die. And judging by its fat content, one may be followed closely by the other.
After a brief discussion with the soon-to-be-birthday celebrant I decided to stick with the chocolate ganache, halve the amount of peanut butter mousse, and make a slightly lighter chocolate cake. I chose the Perfect All American Chocolate Butter Cake recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible. It’s much lighter in texture than a devil’s food cake but still has a delicious chocolatey flavour. I chose milk chocolate for the ganache, mainly because I picked up a bar of milk chocolate in the supermarket by mistake, but the result was very tasty and almost caramelly in flavour.
Peanut Butter Mousse Milk Chocolate Ganache
87g Double Cream 170g Milk Chocolate
8oz Smooth Peanut Butter 192g Double Cream
100g Icing Sugar
113g Cream Cheese
Chocolate Butter Cake
63g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Green & Black’s)
236g Boiling Water
3 Large Eggs
2 1/4 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
235g Plain Flour, sifted
300g Granulated Sugar
15g Baking Powder
227g Unsalted Butter
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C (I set mine to around 170C as it is VERY tempramental)
1) Make the ganache. Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl. Heat the cream to boiling point and pour into the bowl of chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Pop in the fridge to cool for a few hours.
2) Prepare two circular 9-inch cake tins. *Very important to do as chocolate cake can be a complete mother to remove from ungreased cake pans*. Grease each tin thoroughly, line bottoms with baking paper, and grease again.
3) In a medium bowl whisk cocoa powder and boiling water together until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
4) In another bowl lightly combine the eggs, 1/4 of the cocoa mixture and the vanilla extract.
5) In a large mixing bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on low-speed for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on low-speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to high-speed and beat for another minute and a half to aerate the mixture.
6) Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for around 20 seconds after each addition.
7) Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes out clean. The cake should spring back when pressed lightly in the centre.
8.) Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks and to prevent splitting reinvert so that the tops are up. Cool completely before filling and frosting.
9) Peanut Butter Mousse; In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and icing sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Put cream into a large bowl and beat on high-speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture; set mousse aside in the fridge until you are ready to fill your cake.
10) Fill, Frost, Slice, and Enjoy!