Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ridiculous Cake

I'm typically pretty confident when it comes to cooking and baking ... but for some reason, cake seems to be one thing that always gets me worried. Yet, I somehow never seem to be able to resist trying a cake recipe that sounds like it would be tasty.

So, yeah. You can imagine how I felt when I found out about this chocolate/peanut butter cake from Bakerella via a tweet from Jess Greco (@jessicagreco on Twitter).

I waited all of two days to attempt it.

Now, this may be sacrilege, but I dared to make a recipe a bit differently than Bakerella posted it. Just a little bit differently. Why? Partly because I thought the quantity of peanut butter cups on the outside of the cake was a bit excessive, especially if you want people to feel like they can eat a slice without immediately getting on a treadmill ... and partly because the good folks at Hershey's have given us an easier way to put Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in things by coming out with Reese's Minis. While the mini peanut butter cups are meant for snacking, they also are perfect for baking. If you're wondering, four king size bags (2.5 oz. each) of the minis equal the
two cups of cups that the recipe calls for in the cake batter. (NOTE: My local Walgreens was sold out of the standard 8 oz. bags, which would've provided the two cups with plenty left over for decorating.)

Oh, and I also used canola oil instead of vegetable oil. I don't even keep vegetable oil in my kitchen.

So ... the cake. I baked my two layers in 8" metal cake pans (that's what I own), but at the end of 30 minutes, neither cake was done. One had to go 34 minutes, and one had to go 38. Might've just been my oven ... or my pans ... or even the weather. But of course, having to bake the layers longer than the recipe called for made me nervous that the cake would be dry. And, when you're dealing with cake, you really have no idea how it turned out until you cut the first piece.

I flipped over the flatter/smaller of the two layers to make it the bottom layer. I hate slicing the top off of a cake. I never seem to be able to get it even (I need a cake saw ...), and it makes a mess. However, I clearly had to do it to the top layer, which was taller and a little more done on top. It was almost a disaster, but the nice dark chocolate/peanut butter frosting helped hold it all together. It was a little crooked, but I was just glad it all stayed together!

Once the cake was frosted, it was time for decoration. I cut a regular-sized peanut butter cup into quarters. One was a little ugly, so I used the three good pieces as the centerpiece on the cake. And I ended up using one additional king size bag of the minis to decorate the rest of the top of the
cake. It looked nice enough, and it definitely felt more reasonable, calorically, than coating the whole cake with candy.

The cake went to work with me on Valentine's Day. I put the "I'm afraid it might be dry" disclaimer out there before anybody had a piece (I think it's better to put it out there when you think it truly might be possible), but I was relieved to get word that the cake was "fabulous."

It's amazing how a baked good can simultaneously earn you friends and enemies ... and this cake definitely falls into that category.

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