Monday, May 5, 2008

Monster Cake

Put on your aprons and smear your face with flour, cause it's time to go to baking school, kids.

I am not a baker. Let me correct that. I was not a baker.

I just couldn't get excited about a cooking technique that required precise measurements, lots of dirty bowls and utensils, long prep and cooking times and a need to read the whole recipe multiple times to ensure the addition of X ingredient at the exact appropriate time so you don't screw up your whole exhausting effort.

I fear the oven NO MORE, my friends. After deciding to bake Andy a cake from scratch for his birthday, I found a recipe on epicurious and devoted my weekend to the construction of his Peanut Butter Chocolate cake with Cream Cheese icing.

Realizing that something so incredibly delicious could be produced from this "baking", has completely changed my thinking.

The only thing that had me worried once I started to assemble the cake was the size and weight.

Um... is 6 inches tall and approximately 25 lbs normal cake size? It was bigger than Andy's head which is my official measure of "huge". As opposed to bigger than anyone else's head in my family which qualifies as "enormous". (Sorry y'all, but you know I speak the truth.)

So I had a huge cake. So what? At least it was pretty.

Pretty freakin' awesomely delicious!

It took us all week to work through that bad boy, but I'm pretty sure it was the best week of my life.

The recipe is below if you dare attempt it.

2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup old-fashioned (natural) chunky peanut butter

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup old-fashioned (natural) chunky peanut butter
1 pound golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For filling:
Bring cream and sugar to simmer in saucepan, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; let stand 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in peanut butter. Chill uncovered overnight.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl until blended. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. At low speed, beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions.

Divide batter among pans and spread evenly. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes 5 minutes. Turn out onto racks; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.

For Frosting:
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Place 1 cake layer, bottom side up. Spread with half of filling. Place another layer, bottom side up, on work surface. Spread with remaining filling; place atop first layer. Top with remaining cake layer, bottom side up.

Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before continuing.) Crumble Butterfinger candy and press into top of cake.


Katie said...

SERIOUSLY! That cake looks amazing!!!!! Will you make my birthday cake??

Keith said...

I want a 25lb cake, that looks amazing! Andy is very lucky to have such a great baker for a roomie. Have fun running the 623 miles it will take to work that off.

Kristin said...

It's cool. When Milo and I got locked out of the apartment yesterday, we went on 623 mile walk, so it all works out.

Katie, I will of COURSE bake your birthday cake. The only catch is that you have to come to Chicago to claim it. ;)