Friday, September 21, 2007

Fudge-Glazed Creamy Peanut Butter Cake

Uncle Fats' Tasty Meal of the Week

In honor of my Uncle Fats' birthday, we present:

Fudge-Glazed Creamy Peanut Butter Cake

This spectacular cake features two favorite flavors: chocolate and peanut butter.

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) Instant ClearJel® or cornstarch
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, black cocoa, or Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) water

3/4 cup (7 ounces) peanut butter, creamy or chunky
2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) milk or cream

1 cup (6 ounces) chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour (or grease, then line with parchment, then grease again) an 8" round cake pan. Note: This pan needs to be at least 2" tall; if you have a non-standard, shorter 8" pan, substitute a 9" round pan.

To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 35 to 38 minutes (about 25 minutes if you're using a 9" pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out of the pan to cool completely on a rack.

To make the filling: Beat together the peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla till crumbly, then add the milk or cream, beating till smooth. Add additional milk or cream, if necessary, to make a spreadable filling.

To make the icing: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is hot, and the chocolate soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely, reheating very briefly if necessary. Allow the icing to rest for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until it's thickened enough to be spreadable.

To assemble the cake: Slice the cake in half horizontally, to make two layers. Place one piece, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with the filling. Top with the second piece, cut side down. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the icing. Garnish with chopped peanuts, if desired. Yield: one 8" cake, 8 to 10 servings.

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