It's Not Reece's, It's Mine!
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake
With a new series of The Great British Bake Off on the horizon, #TwitterBakeAlong (from The Baking Nanna and Robert Allen) once again features one of Bake Off's illustrious allumni, Nancy Birtwhistle. Taking time out from her 365 Challenge (a new tip or recipe every day for a year!) Nancy set us the challenge of making her incredibly versatile Chocolate Cake.
This is a 'wet mix' so no loose bottomed tins! This recipe also features a couple of rather counter-intuitive moments but, fear not, all will be well in the end. Start by mixing whole milk with lemon juice. The result, almost instantaneously, is thick curdled milk. Despite the classic baking tips aimed at avoiding curdling, this is what you want.
Next it's your chocolate mix. In addition to star anise, coffee, cocoa powder and baking soda, you combine chocolate with oil and boiling water. We all know oil and water don't mix and that chocolate seizes with the slightest hint of moisture and yet, with a brief mix and some crossed fingers, you're left with a glossy fragrant chocolate liquid.
Whisk eggs and sugar before folding in self-raising flour, then add your chocolate and finally your curdled milk. Divide the batter between two tins and bake until they spring back (about 20-25 minutes).
Having seen several pictures of deep and dark sponges we were somewhat disappointed to take out our rather thin offerings. They're light and risen and, to be honest, what you'd expect from a two egg mix with a small amount of flour. After all we'd normally use a three or four egg recipe for our two 8 inch tins. Still, we wonder if smaller tins or scaling up the recipe would be better if you're hoping for more a showstopper...
That said, they smell amazing and we weren't going to let a thinner cake put us off our stride! After cooling completely it was time to fill and decorate. Whilst this recipe would be delicious with Black Forest inspired flavours, we decided to turn our attention across the pond to one of our decadent guilty pleasures, the Reece's Peanut Butter Cup.These little, or large, bites of heaven are simply sweet milk chocolate cups filled with creamy, salty peanut butter.
Whilst you could simply try spreading your cakes with peanut butter (you wouldn't be the first), we think this peanut butter frosting from Two Sisters Crafting is simply the best. Beat peanut butter, butter and a touch of vanilla until smooth. Add icing sugar and a splash of milk and beat until smooth again. Whilst peanut butter is soft, the resulting frosting is stiffer than normal so add milk, as required, to adjust.
Use the butter cream to sandwich your sponges and top your cake. To finish we added a layer of salted peanuts and dark chocolate chips. Our version of this cake definitely needs a health warning. Glorious!