Tuesday, October 22, 2013

PB+C Birthday Cake

I made this cake last Friday for my sister in law's birthday. Since she is a choco-holic I knew I had to find something decadent that would fit the bill. This recipe is so incredibly simple, airy and delicious. It uses a little oil and doesn't have any eggs or margarine, so it can even be considered "healthy". I found the recipe on a great cooking site which promised that this will become your go-to chocolate cake and I completely agree it has. The batter is very easy to put together and the ingredients are things you most probably already have in the kitchen. The cake is great on its own, but since it was for a birthday I enhanced it a bit. I made a double recipe and sliced each cake into 2 layers. Between each layer I spread peanut butter frosting and then frosted the outside with chocolate frosting and garnished the sides of the cake with crushed peanuts. Best part of baking birthday cakes instead of buying them? Getting to lick the bowl :) Happy Birthday!

Chocolate cake recipe adapted slightly from Cafe Beaujolais (Ten Speed Press, 1984).

Serves 6 to 8
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbs neutral oil (like corn, canola, or vegetable)
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs cider of white vinegar

Heat oven to 350° F or 175° C.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, oil, vanilla and vinegar.
Whisk together the wet and dry mixtures. If lumpy, whisk until smooth, or pour through strainer in to a bowl and break up lumps, pressing them though.
Pour into a greased 9-inch round cake pan.
Tap the edge of the pan against the edge of the counter, or drop from 6 inches to the counter several times to pop air bubbles.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed gently.
Cool before removing from the pan and dust with confectioner's sugar or top with frosting if desired.

I did not have any vanilla so I used hazelnut liquor instead (hazelnut+chocolate=Nutella yum).
I dissolved one tsp of coffee into the water to help boost the chocolate flavor.
To slice cake evenly into layers I went around the edges with serrated knife then took a long piece of dental floss and pulled it through the cake to make an even slice.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 stick margarine softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp soy milk
1-1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or if you've got a strong arm) beat together margarine and peanut butter until fluffy. Add sugar and stream in soy milk. Add more sugar or milk until it reaches desired consistency.

Chocolate Frosting 
1/2 stick margarine melted
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tbs soy milk
1/2 tsp coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla or hazelnut liquor

Mix together melted margarine, cocoa, coffee and vanilla or liquor. Slowly add in confectioner's sugar and soy milk until it reaches desired consistency.


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