My nephew and I made the best cake ever. You need to understand one thing, Nephew does not cook. Really. He can turn on the oven and bake a frozen pizza, but he can’t cook. He can make toast in the toaster. This guy cannot cook or bake. And yet, one day, about three months ago, he sends me this email with a link to Deb’s website, Smitten Kitchen. Deb is the most fantastic baker on that side of the Mississippi River. Not only can she cook and bake, she has the most delectable photographs to go with. Her recipes are out-smacking-standing! That girl is so good she made a non cooker/baker bake. I now digress.
The link Nephew sent me was for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Oh, not just any chocolate and peanut butter cake. This one was pure pleasure. In his email, with said link, all he wrote was “aunt, we must make this cake. the nephew” I knew which cake he was referring to, as I never miss a Smitten Kitchen episode. I coveted that cake. Can a person really covet a cake? Well, I did.
Well, due to my injury this summer, baking and cooking were rather slowed down. I think, pretty much non existent would be the correct term. I am back in the swing of things in the kitchen, albeit a little slow. Nephew and I decided to bake THE cake for his little Apple Butter’s birthday (my name for her, not his). They came over promptly at ten o’clock yesterday morning and we began the day with cereal, toast, coffee, and Mimosas. I think the food groups were all represented: protein, sugar, alcohol, fruit, caffeine. We were nutritionally ready to begin.
Mr. Wii suggested I supervise and have Nephew do everything. Just like I did for the nieces when they all learned how to make pies. It worked for them, it should work for the Nephew. So that’s what I did. I handled it much like a cooking class. Don’t you drink Mimosas when teaching a cooking class? I thought you did.
With printed off recipe in the other hand (I was holding my Mimosa), all the ingredients lined up, aprons on, oven preheating, we were off and running. He learned how to do it all. Measuring of dry versus wet ingredients. The difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. Why vinegar in the cake. What is Dutch processed cocoa. He learned it all. Not only that, he picked up on technique like he had been born in a kitchen. (Actually, Grasshopper, you were a very good student!) Birthday girl, AB, took the photos while we were baking. She was our documentarian of the day and did a great job.
I don’t know if I was more impressed by the way he crumb coated the cake or when he so carefully made the ganache drizzle for the cake. It may have been when he poured the ganache onto the cake and artfully made the chocolate drape the edges, yet keeping a smooth finish on the top. The Nephew done good.
He was operating the Kitchen Aid mixer for the very first time when making the peanut butter and cream cheese icing for the cake. He handled her with the care of a machinist operating an end mill for the first time. That icing was stand alone good. In fact, it smelled so good in the kitchen at this time, he called the island where he was mixing the icing, “The Peanut Butter Pleasure Station”. A term not soon to be forgotten the next time a jar of Jiff is opened. We were all trying to come up with more ideas for a peanut butter icing delivery system. Graham crackers seemed to be a team favorite. We were worried there may be leftover icing and wanted to be sure none of it would go to waste. There was a little bit left, it is hidden in my refrigerator. Top bidder takes it.
Oh yeah, the cake was well received by everyone. As family members arrived, they were taken out to the garage where the cake was on display in the extra refrigerator. Not only was it delicious, it really was the most beautiful cake. My dinner of homemade manicotti, salad, and bread paled in comparison to that cake! And rightfully so. The cake was served right after the presents were opened. The entire family was in awe, a post Halloween treat.
Please go to this link for info, pictures, description, and recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Deb, at Smitten Kitchen , does a great job describing the cake and giving proper credit to the originator of the recipe. Thank you Deb! Nella