Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Blissful Baking! (Chocolate Peanut Butter Passion Cake)

Happy Birthday to Blissful Baking! It has been exactly one year since I embarked on this fabulous journey. Thank you thank you for venturing into my little corner of the world. It has been thrilling to share with you the many culinary adventures that go on in my teeny kitchen each day. 
My heart leaps every time I see a hike in page views, read a comment, or hear from one of you. Thank you for your love and support! And a special thanks to my husband who has done an ungodly amount of dishes in the past year. 
I'm full of gratitude for this opportunity to share and expand my talents in such a fun and fulfilling way. If I could, I would send you all a fat slab or this  devastatingly delicious peanut butter chocolate cake. Instead, I challenge you to make it! Then you won't have to settle for just a slice. ;)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Passion Cake. If you aren't drooling, you don't like peanut butter. And if you don't like peanut butter, I'm at a loss for words. In short, I'm not sure that we can be friends. 
This cake needs not a lengthy introduction. It starts with a luscious homemade chocolate cake. My favorite recipe, I might add! It's filled with a deep, dark chocolate ganache and slathered with a positively addicting peanut butter frosting. It requires serious willpower not to wolf this stuff down by the spatula-full. Willpower that quite frankly, I am unable to muster. And it's topped with more ganache the indisputably best candy known to mankind, Reese's peanut butter cups. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Passion Cake

My Favorite Chocolate Cake:
Adapted from: I Am Baker
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder (plus more to dust pans)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large or extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling hot water (or freshly-brewed coffee if you prefer)
Start by baking the chocolate cake. I like to use 8 inch pans because it makes for a higher cake. I like my cakes high and mighty. But 9 in works beautifully as well.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare you cake pans by greasing them and then dusting well with cocoa powder. For extra security, I always grease, dust and then cut out wax paper circles for the bottom of each pan, then grease and dust them as well. Sounds like a lot of work but it only takes a couple of minutes! And it provides me great piece of mind that my cakes will pop out like champs.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and stir to combine. 

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the hot water and stir just to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Filling (ganache): 
  • 8oz semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 8oz heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Reese's peanut butter cups, roughly chopped

Place chocolate in a medium bow. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Pour it over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate melts. Then whisk in the peanut butter until it's incorporated and smooth. Set aside 1/4 of the ganache for the first layer of frosting. Cool the other 3/4 completely, then gently stir in the peanut butter cups.
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter and peanut butter with a pastry blender. Add the vanilla, then the sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. 
Place one 8 or 9-inch round on a cake stand or plate. Cover the top in the peanut butter fudge filling. Place the second 9-inch round on top. Using the reserved filling, spread a thin layer on the outside of the cake. Refrigerate until the fudge is set and firm to the touch. Slather the whole thing in the peanut butter frosting. Decorate with peanut butter cups.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Please don't be offended by my obsession with sweet potatoes. I know this is the starch's second debut in a row, but I only do it because Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and I want you to have in your possession the most fabulous sweet potato side known to man!

Sweet potatoes are gifts from heaven. But when candied with brown sugar and sprinkled with nuts and cayenne pepper? I can barely stand how delicious these are. I am salivating just thinking on it. And check out that gorgeous orange hue! It would complement your Thanksgiving spread so beautifully! Will you pretty please be sure to share these delightful gems with your guests this lovely holiday? You'll be thankful that you did!

Candied Sweet Potatoes
Inspired by Martha Stewart
Serves 6-8

  • 5 lbs sweet potatoes 
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt (I like sea salt)
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. pecan pieces
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes, halve lengthwise and cut into little half moon shapes, about ½ inch thick. Toss with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil until coated. Season with salt.

Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning once or twice. Sprinkle as evenly as you can with bits of butter, brown sugar, pecan pieces and cayenne pepper. Bake until sugar is caramelized and hardening, about 10 minutes. Toss gently and serve immediately.