The moment in The Hours when Laura agonizes over her cake’s imperfections speaks to me. I too can set expectations on a dessert and feel a great let down if all goes wrong. Just the other day a simple apple pie ended in me gouging out holes in the beautifully-goldened crust to scoop out ladlefuls of uncooked apples, slopping them into Tupperware for a future use of some sort, and inevitably drowning them in the disposal days later. But it’s ok; this one is a happy story. After a series of baking fails, I treated myself to a new kitchen toy I’ve had my eye on: an offset spatula. O man it’s worth it. It was such a treat to decorate this cake and watch how smoothly the spatula laid on the frosting.
Sometimes, when you feel like you’re not making great leaps and bounds at anything important, it’s so satisfying to have a product you can look at with pride. And then eat.
Here are the frostings I used: the peanut butter one for filling the layers and the chocolate for the outside. The cake itself was also from Smitten Kitchen. I used three layers and froze the fourth. Because I’m health-conscious.
MILK CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
adapted from Bon Appetit’s Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie filling, Feb 2006
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
4 T powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 T whipping cream
3 T milk
Note: I doubled the original recipe, but can’t for the life of me remember adding 12 T of cream/milk (2 times the suggested 6 T of cream), so I’m pretty sure that in my inattention I thickened the frosting and made it more ganache-like. Oh darn.
-Add chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Heat cream and milk to boil and pour over mixture. Mix until smooth. Cool until ready to frost.
INSTANT FUDGE FROSTING
adapted from a Sky High recipe via Smitten Kitchen
makes 2 1/2 cups; this was enough to frost the outside of a three layer cake
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 C powdered sugar
1-and-a-half sticks salted butter, room temperature
3 T milk
1/2 T vanilla extract
Note: The original recipe calls for unsalted butter, which is what I used, but when I made it this way I wanted the frosting to be a little more salty. But I’m a salt and chocolate person, so it’s up to you.
-Process all ingredients in the food processor until smooth.
It was surely someone‘s birthday.