Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Devils Food Peanut Butter Eclair Cake

So its another busy month of office birthdays, which means I get to bake more fun cakes!  Not as many as July, but there are three.  Which is a lot when we are starting to get in to our busy season in the office.  But hey, its getting to be time for apples and pumpkins and all things fall, who doesn't love this time of year?  The first request was something chocolate and peanut buttery.  The result, thin layers of devils food cake with peanut butter eclair filling between each; then the whole thing is topped with chocolate ganache.  This is a rich one folks, so have a glass of milk ready and some friends to share it with.  It will not slice prettily, but the cake is moist and the filling is light and fluffy and the peanut butter is not over powering.

In other non-cake related news the nation's triathlon is finally this weekend and I think our team is ready to go.  So, healthy food week is ahead to prepare...soo not fun.  Also, turns out life's curve balls can turn one way and then another in no time at all.  I'll keep you posted on whether or not this is a good thing.  I am actually ready for our busy season this fall though, its time to focus on work again, and bake to take my mind off of it when things get a little too stressful.  So here goes nothing.  Happy September! 

Whisking together the wet and dry ingredients.

Cakes ready to go in to the oven.

Preparing the peanut butter eclair filling: milk, pudding and peanut butter.

Gently fold in the Cool Whip.

First layer ready: devils food cake and eclair filling.

Next layer of devils food cake down.

Pouring the first layer of chocolate ganache over the cake.

Cake awaiting the birthday girl. 

Not the prettiest cake when you cut in to it, but pretty darn delicious.

Devil's Food Cake: (adapted from David Lebovitz devil's food cake recipe)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour (1 1/8 cup all purpose flour + 3 tablespoons cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
1/4 cup skim milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray three 9 inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and then line with a parchment paper round in the bottom of the pan.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.  Whisk in vanilla extract and set aside.

3.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour (or all purpose flour & corn starch), cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

4.  Combine coffee and milk in a measuring cup.

5.  Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and coffee-milk mixture to the wet ingredients, mix just until combined. 

6.  Pour into prepared cake pans and bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 16-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans for 10-15 minutes.  Then gently remove the cakes from the pans and let finish cooling on a cooling rack.  Prepare peanut butter eclair filling. 

7.  Layering the Cake: Remove parchment paper from on layer of cake and place cake on cake stand with extra parchment paper around the edges to help keep cake stand clean.  Place the ring of a cheesecake pan around the bottom of layer of cake.  Using a spatula or a large spoon, scoop 1/2 of eclair filling on to the bottom layer of cake.  Add the second layer of cake and then top with remaining filling.  Then place the top layer of cake on and put cake in to the refrigerator and prepare first batch of ganache.  

Peanut Butter Eclair Filling: (recipe from Plain Chicken)
2 (3 1/4 oz) boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups skim milk
1 (8oz) container Cool Whip, thawed

1.  Whisk together vanilla pudding, peanut butter and skim milk until well combined, about 2 minutes.

2.  Gently fold in the Cool Whip.  Store in the refrigerator until cake layers are cooled.

Ganache Frosting:
1-12oz bag semisweet chocolate chips, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream

1.  Heat 1 cup heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium heat until gently simmering.

2.  In a heat safe bowl, pour heavy cream over 1/2 (6oz) of the chopped chocolate chips and stir until well combined. 

3.  Let cool until ganache thickens just a bit (more to the thickness of caramel sauce).  Leave cheesecake pan around cake and pour ganache over cake.  Refrigerate for one hour or until ganache is firm and set. 

4.  Prepare the rest of the ganache.  Gently remove cheesecake pan from around cake.  Carefully pour ganache over cake.  Once ganache is set, carefully remove parchment paper.  Refrigerate cake until ready to serve and Enjoy!

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