Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overload Cake

My fave professor from grad school liked me so much as a student that he decided to follow me to Texas. I kid I kid.. but seriously.. shortly after I started working in Texas a position opened up within the organization and my professor actually started looking into the job (he was ready for a change and he was having a hard time dealing with the loss of such a great student). And then, a few short months after relocating from Georgia to Texas, Metz followed suit! It is actually very entertaining working with someone that was basically a mentor-esque figure to me all through grad school and no one can get mad if I don't know something because I can just blame it on him :)

This June 2, 2010, marked the 16th Anniversary of Metzler's 21st Birthday. Is that not the greatest way of keeping track of the years?? I mean, when you think about it.. what is good about anything after 21? Just more responsibility and wrinkle lines!

In honor of his birth Metzler asked for something chocolate-y and peanut buttery and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Overload Cake was the answer!
(I apologize for the not very good was late... I promise the taste of the cake makes up for it!) 

 Chocolate Layer Cake
 Recipe from Southern Living Magazine
Oven: 350 Bake time: 45 min
Fills 3 8-inch round pans or 2 9-inch pans

1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 8oz container of sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. 
Melt chocolate in microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
Beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract and then add melted chocolate, beating until blended.
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture, alternating with sour cream (remember to begin and end with flour!) Beat after every addition until well blended. 
Slowly pour in hot water in a steady stream at low until batter is smooth.
*The batter is going to look extremely thin, but it's OK I promise!
Pour into prepared cake pans.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 
Remove from oven and transfer to cooling racks. After about 30 minutes remove from pans and continue cooling for at least an hour.

Creamiest Peanut Butter Icing Ever
 1/2 cup white sugar
2 large egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
12 TBS butter, softened and cubed
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, egg whites and salt in bowl and place over simmering water (I used the bowl of my stand mixer or just a heat proof bowl deep enough for beating after). Whisk gently, but constantly and heat mixture until slightly thickened and instant read thermometer registers at 350 (about 3 minutes). 
Place bowl back on stand mixer fitted with whisk. Beat mixture at medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled- about 2 minutes. Add butter one piece at a time and beat until smooth and creamy. Once all butter is added, add peanut butter and vanilla. Beat on high until light and fluffy. I usually put mine in the fridge for a few minutes so it will thicken up.

Chocolate Ganache
 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 TBS butter

In a small sauce pan heat whipping cream over medium heat. After about 2 minutes add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add butter and continue to whisk until smooth and creamy.
*To cover the cake use the ganache while it is still warm- it makes it easier to pout this way.

 Place first layer on cake board or serving platter. Fill cake with peanut butter icing (leave some for decoration) and top with cake layer- repeat process depending on how many layers of cake you're working with.

Before pouring ganache over the cake, arrange parchment paper or wax paper around and under the sides of the cake- this is to catch the ganache that pours down the sides so that you don't end up with a messy display.

Pour ganache generously on the top of the cake and near the edges so it falls down the sides- you can help this along by pushing the ganache over the edges with a cake spatula. Once you have a good layer on the top and around the sides, smooth out with a cake spatula. If you're ganache is very runny pour one layer over the cake and let it sit for a while before pouring another layer over top for a smooth finish.

Garnish with crushed peanut butter morsels or crushed Reeses peanut butter cups and decorate with remaining peanut butter icing.

Happy Birthday Metz!
Happy Baking!!