Thursday, August 1, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe

Peanut butter is an item usually available at my home and it has attained the same status as butter and kaya (a local coconut spread). When I was younger, I remember having different variations of peanut butter, jars that came with chocolate or jam strips. I had a scale of favourite for these three flavours; chocolate > peanut butter > jam (too sweet). This prompted me to use only certain parts of the peanut butter jar depending on its flavour combi. You can imagine how messy the jar contents are once I'm done with them :p

Over time, tastes evolved and spreads are bought separately - Skippy for peanut butter, Nutella for the chocolate-ly goodness, St. Dalfour for jams. However, the wonderful combination of chocolate and peanut butter never alluded me. In down-times (where you ignore all calories count...), I have devoured pieces of bread each spread with copious amount of Skippy and Nutella.

Pairing chocolate and peanut butter is a breeze. I made a basic fluffy chocolate sponge cake and sandwiched peanut butter mousse in between. To get a really light sponge cake, I used the Chiffon cake egg-separation technique. This ensures that the cake stays soft and fluffy even after storage in the fridge. To learn more about this technique, refer to my previous posts at Basic Sponge Cake Recipe, Chiffon cakes - An Intro and Coffee Chiffon Cake.

Peanut butter is mixed with cream cheese and vanilla essence to give it an extra oomph and lightened with freshly whipped cream. As the highlight of this cake is the peanut butter mousse, I decided not to prepare a chocolate ganache and opted for a light dusting of cocoa powder on the cake top. Trust me, what you have is more than sufficient to give you that "cake high"

(makes a 3 layered 8 inch cake)

For chocolate sponge cake
4 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
50g corn oil
60g milk (I used low-fat fresh milk)
20g cocoa powder
80g cake flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp baking soda

4 egg whites
0.25 tsp ceam of tartar
60g caster sugar

For peanut butter mousse
180g cream cheese (I used block cream cheese, softened at room temperature)
225g peanut butter (I used Skippy creamy peanut butter)
200ml whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
40g icing sugar

1. Prepare the chocolate sponge cake. For step-by-step picture guidance, refer to Basic Sponge Cake Recipe, and Coffee Chiffon Cake. Beat egg yolks and sugar till light and fluffy. There should be an increase in volume. Add in oil, milk and mix well.

2. Sieve cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda together and add into egg yolk mixture.

3. Beat egg whites till frothy and add in cream of tartar. Add in sugar gradually and beat till stiff peaks.

4. Fold beaten egg whites into egg yolk-flour batter in 3 batches. Pour into 8 inch bottom-lined round pan and bake in preheated oven at 170 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cake is ready when tooth-pick inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in oven with oven door slightly ajar. The cake will shrink when cooling.

5. Prepare peanut butter mousse. Beat whipping cream till soft peaks form and leave aside. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence till soft and fluffy for 5 minutes on speed 2-3. The mixture might seem curdled but it will smooth out. Add in whipped cream and mix well.

Smooth creamy peanut butter mousse - very yummy and addictive!

6. To assemble, cut the chocolate sponge cake into three layers. Start by spreading a thin layer of peanut butter mousse on one layer of sponge to seal the crumbs. Place cake in freezer for 2-3 minutes before spreading on more mousse. Add on second layer of sponge and repeat process above, sealing the crumbs first before adding on more mousse. Top of cake with final layer of sponge and chill in fridge for 3-4 hours. Dust some cocoa powder on top before serving.

Make shift turn-table - upside down cake mould topped with a disposable cake board

To get a clean cut for each slice, wipe knife with paper towels every time before you cut a new slice. This will get rid of any crumbs and mousse lingering on the knife.

Feel free to adjust the mousse proportions - if you like a stronger peanut butter taste, add more peanut butter. You can use chunky peanut butter for more bite. Add in more or less icing sugar depending on how sweet you want your mousse to be. It's all about individual preference! Always start with lesser and add more whenever necessary.


Inspired by 
"Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake"  Yvonne Ruperti at seriouseats
"Basic Chocolate Sponge Cake" Sonia at Nasi Lemak Lover

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