Thursday, November 8, 2007
Crunchy Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake
I immediately noticed this Nancy Olson recipe in the latest issue of Food and Wine. According to the article it's "the brilliant marriage of her mother's chocolate, peanut butter, and Rice Krispie-topped brownie...and Pierre Herme's 'sweet pleasure'."
Sometimes I think Pierre Herme's Plaisir Sucre is the ultimate baking challenge as so many bloggers have attempted it.
I don't really feel like trying; it seems like the kind of pastry that can be amazing and memorable in a patisserie but stressful and not worth the expense/effort at home. Still, I love all things crunchy and i've often fantasized about making a dessert involving some sort of feuilletine or rice crispie layer.
This cake recipe takes a little time, but you can definitely finish it in one sitting. It was a very satisfying evening project and i'm extremely happy with the results. It's very rich and texturally interesting. I'd definitely make it again.
Anyway, i'm going on a short tour with my band this weekend. We're hitting South Haven, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and somewhere in Indiana. Hopefully i'll take some fun photos on the road.
Crunch Milk-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake
2 cups + 2 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 oz milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup rice krispies
1 1/4 pounds milk chocolate
1 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp heavy cream, warmed
1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9x13 cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk in the boiling water. Pour the batter (it will be thin) into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
2. Invert the cake onto a work surface. Working carefully, slice the cake horizontally. Reduce the oven temperature to 325.
3. Make the filling: Trace a 9x13 rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper and lay it on a large baking sheet. In a food processor, pulse the almonds with the confectioners sugar until they're finely ground. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the whites are stiff and glossy- about 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the almond mixture. Spread the meringue on the parchment to fill the rectangle. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and firm. Let cool.
4. In a medium bowl, set in a saucepan of simmering water, heat the peanut butter with the butter and milk chocolate, stirring constantly, until smooth and melted. Remove from the heat and fold in the Rice Krispies. Spread the mixture all over the meringue rectangle. Transfer to the freezer and let cool completely.
5. Make the ganache: In a medium bowl set in a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Whisk in the warm cream until smooth. Remove from the heat and refrigerate for one hour, whisking occasionally until thick enough to spread.
6. Assemble the cake: Place the bottom cake layer cut side up on a large board. Spread 1/3 of the ganache over the cake. Invert the filling onto the cake and peel off the paper. Spread half the remaining ganache over the filling, then top with the second cake layer. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour. Using a serrated knife, trim the edges. Spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the cake and refrigerate to set. Cut and serve.
at 2:49 PM