Peanut Buttercream Frosted Milk Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Jam, Caramelised Peanuts & Dark Ch
PEANUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTED MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH RASPBERRY JAM, CARAMELISED PEANUTS & DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE DRIZZLE
(aka ‘FAT ELVIS’)
My love of peanut butter has only been a recent acquisition.
For most of my adult life I was not keen on the old p.b., as I had a negative association with the sound of my little sister eating white bread and peanut butter sandwiches during our childhood. That sound. We all know it. That sticking and unsticking sound as the gooey glob tries to superglue the tongue to the roof of the mouth. I was more of a Vegemite sandwich girl.
I’d filed these memories in the ‘gross and never to be opened again’ filing draw of my mind. But I decided I was a grown up now, and I needed to move on. So I’ve removed the file, revisited peanut butter, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I actually love the flavour of peanut butter, in both savoury (think satay) and sweet applications. I’m still not a peanut butter sandwich lover though.
This cake is definitely about the sweet. If you’re not a sweet tooth, or are thinking about making this cake for someone who prefers dark chocolate, I would suggest you move on right now. This one is not for you.
I can’t help but think USA when I think of peanut butter, it’s such a popular flavour there. I actually created a knockout peanut butter-cup chocolate when I returned from spending a couple of weeks in Chicaco, on my first real visit to the United States, as somewhat of a homage. I had made a dessert that won me a trip to study at a chocolate Academy in Chicago, and I as a result, I decided I should make a high a quality peanut butter chocolate to add to our collection instore, as a bit of a nod to the States.
Chicago pleasantly surprised me. It was not like an American sitcom, which was pretty much where my idea of American modern city culture had come from. The architecture was amazing, the food was inspiring (thank you Grant Achetz/Alinea and Charlie Trotters who are at the top of my inspiring restaurants list, followed by deep dish pizza and Hot Doug’s) and the people were great. But their idea of a peanut butter chocolate was underwhelming to say the least. Our creamy, melt in the mouth PB cup chocolate is made with loads of beautiful cocoa butter, is light and whipped and without a hint of waxy palm oil in the ingredients, and is now one of our best sellers.
But using peanut butter as an indulgent ingredient in something larger than a little chocolate, fills me with a feeling of giggly guilty pleasure, as though I’m doing something naughty. Something that a sophisticated ‘foodie’ would roll their eyes at, and suggest I grow up. Which makes me want to do it even more. And then I think of Elvis.
I’ve read that the King was eating 100,000 calories a day before his death. The deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches are well known, but how about a whole loaf of Italian bread, hollowed out and filled with an entire jar of peanut butter, an entire jar of jelly (jam) and a pound of fried bacon!! Whoa baby!!
I’ve visited Graceland, and it was fascinating. It was not the giant sprawling mansion I was expecting, and actually had a warm, homely feeling, albeit with an abundance of shag pile carpet, even seen on walls. I was surprised, in a nice kind of way. I guess I thought it would be huge and glitzy, like his jumpsuits. What I also found surprising was the kitchen was cosy, and no larger than my home kitchen, which is certainly not a grand scale. We stayed in, and actually sought out, an ordinary little motel near Graceland, primarily because it had a guitar shaped swimming pool. How could we not?
Two strange things happened right there at that motel. Firstly, at breakfast on the tables were clear squeezy bottles, filled with a yellow liquid, that were simply labelled ‘butter’. Liquid butter. They had been decanted from a plastic drum labeled with plenty of E-numbers we later found on the floor in a corner. I did not know such a thing existed. I still grapple with this. Would you like a squeeze of butter on your toast?
Secondly, as we were packing up to leave, and loading the car, a cleaning maid poked her head in the room and said (in a tone I would have thought too low for a woman) "y'all be careful out there on the roads today, bad weather’s s a comin'." Chills travelled down my spine, and I was pretty sure we had been transported into a horror movie scene. The weather had been fine. But I’ve never forgotten her prophesizing voice. Because that evening, in the dark, after we had visited Graceland following a service where we had been preached at by the Rev. Al Green, we left Memphis and I drove for 2 1/2 hours to Nashville through the edge of tornadoes being pounded by relentless wild rain storms like I've never experienced, and I seriously thought there was a very good chance I was about to kill my entire family.
So, after escaping death for what seems like the millionth time, I’ve decided life is too short to think I’m not allowed to make a cake with peanut butter frosting. I wouldn’t suggest you eat this every day, as part of your 100,000 calorie a day diet (which I also wouldn’t recommend), but as an occasional deliciously sweet treat, I say go for it! This would also make a great celebration cake for a chocolate and peanut butter fan. So without any further ado, let me introduce you to my cake … affectionately named ‘Fat Elvis’. This name is by no means meant in an offensive way. Elvis clearly had a skinny phase, and also a fat phase during his life, and I think during the latter, he would have loved this cake.
PEANUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTED MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH RASPBERRY JAM, CARAMELISED PEANUTS
& DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE DRIZZLE
(aka ‘FAT ELVIS’)
Serves 1 greedy guts, or up to 24 sensible eaters.
(ingredients can be scaled down to make a smaller cake of course)
For a print friendly recipe, click here!
600g milk couverture chocolate in small uniform sized pieces
500g unsalted butter, chopped
600g caster sugar
12 large free range eggs, room temperature
220g plain flour, sieved
375g unsalted butter
375g smooth peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (620g) pure icing sugar, sieved
½ tsp sea salt flakes
½ cup berry jam (jelly) of choice
(I make my own raspberry/strawberry/vanilla bean jam)
CHOCOLATE GANACHE DRIZZLE
175g dark couverture chocolate
65g unsalted butter
2 tblsp thickened cream
40g liquid glucose (not essential, but will give more ‘drizzle’)
¼ cup water
Combine chocolate and butter in large microwave safe bowl, and melt on high heat, stirring every minute until melted (around 3mins) (or melt in bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring).
With a whisk, into the completely melted chocolate butter mix:
stir in sugar til combined.
stir in lightly beaten eggs til combined.
fold in flour.
Portion cake mix into 3 equal quantities in baking paper lined cake tins (I used 20cm dia in the picture).
Bake at 160 deg C, until cooked (skewer comes out with some sticky crumbs on it when poked into centre, but not liquid). This might take an hour or more or less, but will depend on your oven.
Let cool in tins.
PEANUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Beat very softened (but not melted) butter briefly, til creamy
add peanut butter and beat until combined and smooth
add icing sugar ½ cup at a time, and beat well between each addition, to avoid graininess
add sea salt flakes
Place all ingredients in microwave safe bowl and heat until melted, stir to combine. Or in a bowl over a simmering saucepan of water.
Heat water and sugar over medium high heat until dark amber colour, stirring only at start to combine sugar with liquid, then just letting the liquid bubble
Pour over peanuts, that have been spread over a baking tray that has been sprayed with a neutral flavoured oil like canola oil
When set and cool, blend in food processor until fine crumbs are achieved
Place 1 ½ cups of peanut butter frosting on the first cake (measure this amount of peanut buttercream in measuring cups, for accuracy, so the filled levels of the cake will be even). Smooth with palette knife until level.
Spread ¼ cup of jam (jelly) on top of frosting.
Place the second cake on top, press down lightly and evenly.
Spread a further 1 ½ cups of peanut butter frosting on the cake.
Spread remaining ¼ cup of jam on top of frosting.
Place final cake on top, upside down (so the flat bottom of the final cake becomes the top of the whole 3 x layer cake.
Spread remaining peanut buttercream frosting over cake completely covering top and sides.
Refrigerate cake until set and cool.
Press caramelised peanut dust around sides of cake at base, to around 2cm high, pressing in with the back of a spoon or your hands.
Top with and drizzle down sides, warm, but not too hot, ganache.
Refrigerate until set.
Cut cake using a hot knife. Run the knife from top to bottom, and slide the knife out the bottom of the cake (rather than lifting it back up the top, and messing up the ganache).
Bring cake to room temperature before eating.
Sprinkle each piece with more powdered caramelised peanuts when serving for extra crunch, as the ones around the base in the fridge will go sticky and less crunchy fairly quickly.
SWITCH IT UP
Peanut Buttercup-cakes: Make mini cakes, and pipe frosting on top with patterned piping tip. Sprinkle with caramelised peanuts and ganache drizzles.
Go nuts: The caramelised peanuts are delicious on their own. Rather than placing in the food processor to make the powder, break pieces of the praline/toffee and nuts to add garnishes to cakes, or seal in an airtight bag with a ribbon as a gift. Note: the toffee will become sticky because of moisture in the air (and especially the refrigerator). Sealing in an air tight container, and glad wrapping the container as well, will keep them usable for a few days. The powdered nuts are amazing over ice-cream, for an ice-cream sundae.