Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch Cake

This tray bake is for anyone who really likes peanut butter, just like my boyfriend, who can eat it with a spoon from the jar, instead of lunch, occasionally. The bake has both peanut butter in the cake mixture and also in the contrasting chocolate layering, which will swirl by itself when in the oven. For extra texture, you can scatter some chopped peanuts on the chocolate layer. I used crunchy peanut butter for the filling and smooth for the base mixture. The cake is dense, so better serve with cream or even  ice cream, to take it to the next level.

This recipe is taken from ‘Baked in America’ book, which I found rather good. It is full of exiting recipes that I never heard of, like Pennsylvania Dutch spice loaf or Nutmeg coffee cake. I’m not a massive fan of cheesecakes but the Almond Cherry one caught my attention. And I am intrigued to try the author’s version of Apple Cake which he suggests to serve with lemon curd.

The one thing that slightly concerns me however is that the majority of their recipes have a shocking amount of sugar. For instance, this one required 450g of sugar. I’m afraid I had to cut down more then half and it was just fine.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch cake

PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE CRUNCH CAKE

Ingredients:

For the chocolate/peanut swirl:

150g semi-sweet chocolate

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

For the crumbs & batter:

3 cups plain flour

3/4 cup light brown sugar

200g butter, softened

1 cup smooth peanut butter

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

cream/ice-cream for serving (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a 30 x 23 x 5 cm baking tin and line with the parchment paper.
  2. To make the swirl, in a small pan melt the chocolate and peanut butter over a gentle heat, stirring often until all melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Then, in a big bowl, combine together flour, sugar, butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer until coarse crumbs form. Take away about 3 cups of the mixture and set aside for the crumb topping later.
  4. Then add the eggs to the base batter, one at a time, followed by milk, vanilla, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix well until the batter is smooth.
  5. To assemble the bake, spread half the batter in the prepared tin. Drizzle with the half of the chocolate mixture, then cover it with the remaining batter, followed by the remaining chocolate.  Finish it with the reserved crumb mixture over the top and gently press the crumbs onto the chocolate/peanut butter swirl.
  6. Bake it for 50-60 minutes or until the wooden stick comes out clean from the centre. Let the cake cool in the pan before cutting into squares. Serve it with cream or ice-cream.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch cake

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch cake

 

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Not Quite Usual Banana Cake

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I had an urge for Banana Cake but didn’t want to make the usual Banana Bread (although I love it), then I remember seeing on a blog, Banana Tray Cake and I really liked how it looked. However, I didn’t have all the ingredients and I decided to improvise. The result was better then I expected – the texture of the cake was grainy, nutty and moist at the same time.

BANANA TRAY BAKE

(adapted from Jude Blereau)

Ingredients:

2 bananas, sliced

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup polenta

1/2 cup ground almond

1/2 cup sugar (plus some to sprinkle on top)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 baking powder

1/2 bicarbonate soda

pinch of salt

125g softened butter

2 eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line up with parchment paper 20×20 baking tray.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside. In another bowl beat soft butter, eggs & vanilla extract until creamy and pale, add buttermilk and beat a little more until just combined.

3. Add dry ingredients onto the wet and mix until incorporated evenly (do not over beat). Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top with spatula and arrange the sliced bananas on a top. (The trick is to place the banana slices carefully on top, without ‘dunking’ them into the cake. In this case, when the cake will rise during the baking it should cover them gently, sort of half way and you won’t have soggy bananas in the middle but nicely decorated cake top and better flavour instead).

4. Sprinkle with the sugar on top and place, place in the oven and bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown.

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