Saturday, 25 October 2008

Best Birthday Cake Ever

This cake was created specifically for my dear friend Chris Doyle. You might remember from last year I made him the maple cake for his birthday. The cake is like a giant peanut butter cup but like the good ones with lots of extra peanut goodness on the inside. I was inspired to make this flavor cake for him because we both love milkshakes, especially homemade chocolate peanut-butter milkshakes.

I think it would be a miracle, a sign of the end of the world maybe, if I actually remembered Chris's birthday on time. Chris is one of my dearest friends and we go waaayyy back to the days when he was a greasy haired skater punk and I was a bright-eyed prep-of-sorts. Chris and I met officially in high school in our art and design tech class. He would sit in the corner and sketch these really amazing pictures while I was busy slacking off as much as possible. One day, I said across the table to him, "Those drawings are really great." To which he replied a painful, "Thanks." Hmmm. I tried once more saying, "You are really good at that, can see it?" To which he replied another forced "Thanks" and slowly slid his sketch pad my way. Thus began a friendship that will last a lifetime!

He got over his pretences about me perhaps being an uptight prep, I perhaps became less of an uptight prep and before we knew it we were linked arm in arm skipping to our cars after school. Literally, Chris and I brought back skipping. We have been through a lot together and we've leaned on each other during good and the bad times. He knows I love him dearly, and that is why it is OK that I inevitably forget his birthday every year. This year I wished him a happy birthday (at least 2 weeks late) at his first feature length movie premiere at the Belcourt Theatre here in Nashville. I managed to corner him for a hug and congratulations when I blurted out of nowhere, "Oh! I missed your birthday....ummm, sorry. Happy Birthday!"
Check out his awesome movie!

Chris came over last Saturday and sat at my kitchen table while I made us lunch and cake. It was the perfect day to just relax and catch-up and eat good food. I made us tempeh rueben’s with sweet potato fries for lunch.

Then I got to work on the cake.

First- homemade peanut butter. To do this, simply roast a skillet full of raw peanuts until nice and toasty and fragrant. In a food processor or high powered blender whiz them for several minutes until a creamy butter is formed.

for the cake-

you will need:
2 medium mixing bowls
mixing spoon or electric mixer
2- 8 inch cake pans
microwavable bowl or double boiler for the icing

dry ingredients:

1 1/2 C all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C cane sugar

liquid ingredients:

1 C peanut butter
1/2 C agave nectar
3/4 C soy milk
1/4 C neutral tasting vegetable oil


6-7 ounces of very lovely dark chocolate
dash of coffee flavored liquor (optional)

to assemble:

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 cake pans

-make peanut butter if doing it from scratch, if not, skip to next step

sift together dry ingredients (minus the cane sugar) in a mixing bowl and set aside

cream the liquid ingredients, plus cane sugar, together until completely consistent in texture

pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and mix until just combined

bake for approximately 20 minutes

take out and cool for about 20 minutes before frosting

for the frosting:

melt chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler (or a make-shift double boiler like this....)

until completely smooth and free of lumps. add the liquor if using

set one cake on the plate or serving dish you wish to serve the cake on and poke little holes in the cake with a fork

pour half of the chocolate on the first layer spreading it thin

put the second cake on top and pour the rest of the chocolate on the top and let it drizzle down the sides

pop open a bottle of champagne, cut a piece of cake and enjoy!

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