Monday, June 14, 2010

Salty sweet and all that chocolate jazz.


Yesterday I decided to make a cake-cake. No cupcakes. NO CUPCAKES?! Well, really, it's all the same, just in different form, right? I decided to make a cake because (1) I want to try to make a layer cake and (2) I thought it'd be easier to prepare a cake than to fill cupcake cups.

I'm not convinced that it's easier to prepare a layer cake than it is to prepare cupcakes and that's mostly because I had myself a time frosting the thing, but I am glad that I tried. I even did a crumb coat! I'll probably try a layer cake again with two pans of cake so it's higher. That'll be a whole lotta frosting I'll need to make then! Hmmm, maybe that's why I like cupcakes; the less Earth Balance margarine and Spectrum shortening the better...that stuff ain't cheap!

Yesterday, my idea was to make something chocolate-banana-peanut butter. Any combination of the three seems like a good idea so I went for it! I made chocolate batter according to the VCTOTW recipe and added half a mashed banana in there. Later in the day I whipped up some VCTOTW peanut butter frosting. That stuff is so nice; salty sweet if you make it that way and fluffy! Moreso than the VCTOTW buttercream, I would say. I went to Earth Fare to pick up some groceries including the peanut butter for the frosting. The recipe says to use creamy peanut butter and not the kind that has the oil separated in the jar. It also calls for a bit of salt to get that salty sweet flavor. I have assumed that the type of "creamy" peanut butter the authors refer to is something along the lines of my favorite mainstream creamy, natural peanut butter by Skippy. The first time I made the frosting, I had the Earth Fare store peanut butter on hand, so I used that; it tasted great! It's the kind you can crank out yourself (though I never have!). It is gritty and oily, I guess, but unlike jar peanut butters that lack added oils, the oil and ground peanuts don't separate.

There wasn't any pre-packaged regular peanut butter from the crank station (or whatever it's called). There were different flavors of PB and I think almond butter. But then I saw it...dark chocolate peanut butter! What?! I had to get that for the cake frosting. More chocolate? Of course!

(I did have the experience of chocolate overload once...)

I can't really taste the difference between the dark chocolate peanut butter and the regular peanut butter in the frosting but that could be due partly to the fact that I covered the whole cake in fine crumbs of Newman's Own Newman-O's in peanut butter (which Amazon doesn't seem to have here). Even more chocolate and peanut butter!

With all of those chocolate-peanut butter textures to the cake, it came out to be something with a POW! of flavor! You know how you sometimes get a huge slice of cake from a restaurant or bakery (so much for portion control but the price reflects the size)? When I do, I am overwhelmed by the size of the cake and when the cake has a strong flavor (usually of chocolate), I often give up before I get halfway! This cake I made was pretty low in height, but an eighth slice was too much for me. It was one pan of cake sliced in half. I made two batches of the VCTOTW peanut butter frosting which is what I needed to fill between the layers and frost the top and sides of the cake but it was also just enough to add what seemed like extra (mmm fluffy) frosting on top. I think that the actual cake took a backseat to the frosting in this cake but with the cookie crumbles, it wasn't too much frosting. And, once more, it was so fluffy and not dense and overwhelming.

Oh, and the banana that I added in the batter? I can't taste it. I only added half a banana and one that had only had brown/black spots for a couple of days. I think I was too afraid to add much because I didn't want the cake texture to be odd or for the cake to take a longer or shorter time to bake without me knowing. But, hey, we're experimenting here, right?!

There was a time when I was told that I was allergic to chocolate and tree nuts. *Tear* That's all over, thank goodness...

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