Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Cakes

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Is it too early to think about what to dress up for Halloween this year? I was thinking about dressing up as some kind of food... but I don't know. Maybe I'd be taking it a bit far since those that know me understand how I live and breathe anything food related. I could get my husband to join me and dress up as a "couple," just in a food related sense. One idea I had was dressing up as chocolate and peanut butter - they're a great pair, right? Besides, we could go around and say, "Hey! You got peanut butter in my chocolate!"... and "Hey! You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" But I don't think my husband would be into it. (I'm the one with crazy ideas and he keeps me sane - most of the time.) Maybe I could just go solo and playing with the same chocolate/peanut butter idea, I could dress up like this guy:

Wouldn't this be a great costume?
(My husband's response was nothing more than an eye roll - lol)(photo courtesy of Super Punch - a great site of fun stuff!)

I've been enjoying working with chocolate recipes lately and this one is no exception. The one Ina Garten recipe that received the most raves from last week's weekly foodie freebie question was "Beatty's Chocolate Cake." Her recipe involves a chocolate cake batter made with 1 cup each of buttermilk and brewed coffee. Maybe it's an odd combination to some, but I will say that it results in a delicious, tender crumb.

When I decided to make Ina's recipe for Beatty's Chocolate Cake, I wanted to frost it with something other than chocolate frosting (which I'm sure is amazing too.) I've recently combined caramel and Nutella with chocolate... but one combination that seems to be a favorite is chocolate and peanut butter. Preparing Ina's chocolate cake recipe as is, I also used her recipe for "Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing". Rather than making a full cake, I prepared these in my mini bundt pan (which yields six small cakes), which was perfect for giving these to friends. To garnish, I topped these cakes with lightly toasted and salted Viriginia peanuts.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Cakes
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Cooking spray, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Peanut Butter Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your mini bundt pan (or chosen bakeware) with cooking spray. I've found that using cooking spray is enough to prevent the cake from sticking... but if you find flour works best for you, you can flour your pans as well.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed to incorporate.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until a batter comes together.

With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. (It took my mini bundt cakes about 23 minutes in my mini bundt pan so be sure to check your cakes as it bakes depending on what type of bakeware you use.) Cool in the pan(s) for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.


Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Lightly salted & toasted peanuts for garnish

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

You can frost your cake however you'd like. For my mini bundts, I just used my off set spatula to frost the tops and garnished with peanuts.