Sunday, August 31, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bundt Cake

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bundt Cake - made August 24, 2014 from The Little Epicurean
I can call this "what I made when I was woken up so early by a 6.0 earthquake" last week. The epicenter was more than 80 miles from my house and usually I don't wake up for a little tremor but for some reason, I surfaced to consciousness at just the right time to feel the bed shake, think "I bet that was an earthquake" then drift back to sleep. Unfortunately I didn't sleep for very long after that. You just know that had it been a weekday, I could've slept for hours afterwards. But since it was the one day I had to sleep in last weekend, I was wide awake by 5 am. *eye roll*
So I figured I might as well put the time to good use. Normally I bake on Sunday afternoons for work the next day, not Sunday mornings. In the morning, I'm usually pressed for time. I have to get my workout in, shower, get ready for church and rush to get there on time (but I'm almost always late). But hey, when you wake up 2 hours ahead of schedule, that's enough time to make a cake. And, while the cake is baking, vacuum, sweep, change the sheets, tidy up, waste time on the internet and catch up on my blog. When I'm awake, I'm really awake.
Now you might wonder why I keep making stuff with peanut butter when I keep saying I'm indifferent to it. But remember I like it well enough when it's paired with chocolate and, amongst my friends, coworkers and acquaintances, apparently I'm an oddity because I'm surrounded by people who love peanut butter. Just love it. That's enough motivation for me, especially since I typically only eat a small taste test piece and give the rest away. I don't have to exert much willpower to limit my intake for anything with peanut butter.
Anyway, the pictures on The Little Epicurean look so professionally turned out that it was a no-brainer to try out the recipe. Unfortunately, mine didn't turn out as well as hers did. I did end up a little pressed for time after all (the cake took longer to bake than I anticipated) so I inverted it out of the pan while it was still a trifle too warm and too fragile. The cake came out mostly cleanly, meaning a chunk or two stuck to the pan that I had to patchwork over. After I came back home that afternoon, I glazed the fully cooled cake and did the peanut butter carefree (i.e. sloppy) drizzling over it. I was trying to be neat and precise about it but decorating just isn't my thing and I ended up free-forming it just a little too much.
The true test of the Bundt cake's appearance though was how the peanut butter inside turned out. There I made a mistake as well. The chocolate cake batter was less dense than the peanut butter batter. Subsequently, the peanut butter batter sank into the cake. With the inverted Bundt, that means the peanut butter was concentrated at the top. If you make this, I advise layering more than half the chocolate batter on the bottom of the Bundt before adding the peanut butter batter and layering with the rest of the chocolate. That'll give the peanut butter a fighting chance to stay somewhat in the middle.
As for the actual taste and texture of the cake, I loved the texture. Firm, moist, perfect pound cake texture. It wasn't that sweet (my parents would probably like this) so the addition of the chocolate and peanut butter glazes were a nice offset. I did cut back on the espresso powder to 2 tablespoons as I didn't want a strong coffee flavor to compete with the peanut butter or chocolate. A little espresso can enhance the flavor of chocolate but too much can overwhelm it. In hindsight, although it was the right move to cut back on the espresso powder, I should've increased the amount of unsweetened cocoa by the same amount to amp up the chocolate punch. But still, this was a pretty good cake.
Chocolate Cake
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder (can cut to 2 tablespoons if you wish)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (increase to 3 tablespoons if you're going to cut back on the espresso powder)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt

Peanut Butter Cake Filling
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Chocolate Glaze
4 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbsp glucose, or light corn syrup

Peanut Butter Glaze
2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 -3 Tbsp whole milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
  1. Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter a 10-cup bundt pan and set aside. 
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat unsweetened chocolate at half power at 30 second intervals.  Stir often.  Heat until chocolate is melted.  Set aside. 
  3. In a glass measuring cup, stir together instant espresso powder and cocoa powder.  Add enough hot water until liquid mixture measures 1 cup.  Stir until powders are dissolved.  Add milk and let cool.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, making sure egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Scrape down bowl as needed. Add slightly cooled melted chocolate. Continue to mix on medium-low speed until combined. 
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  
  7. With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of milk mixture, then 1/2 of flour mixture.  Repeat, ending with the milk mixture.  Mix until combined. 
  8. Peanut Butter Cake Filling: In a medium bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Add sugar and mix until combined.  Add egg and mix. 
  9. Fold in flour and salt.  Add milk and stir to combine.  Mix until flour is incorporated. 
  10. Cake Assembly: Add half of chocolate batter to prepared bundt pan.  Distribute peanut butter cake filling on top of chocolate layer.  Swirl with knife to spread out peanut butter batter.  Add remaining chocolate batter to cover peanut butter batter. 
  11. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for a couple of minutes before unmolding.  Let cool to room temperature on wire rack.
  12. Chocolate Glaze: Over a double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in glucose.  Pour over cooled bundt cake.
  13. Peanut Butter Glaze: Stir together sifted powdered sugar, peanut butter, and salt.  Add milk and stir until smooth.  Add additional milk if glaze is too dry. If glaze is too thick, add additional sifted powdered sugar.  Drizzle peanut butter glaze over chocolate glazed bundt cake.

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