10 March 2014

Eats: Mr. P's chocolate hazelnut toffee peanut butter birthday cake

Guess what everyone. It’s my mom’s birthday! Happy birthday to her! It’s actually a special-number birthday but I won’t tell which (I’ll just leave you guessing as to how my mom had me while she was still in a single-digit age herself).

So yeah, it is SO birthday season around here. And in that spirit, I thought I’d share another cake with you today. “Already?!” Yes. I’ve been making sweets like crazy lately – between my birthday, Mr. P’s birthday, a workmate’s birthday, and another colleague who lost her mother (and thus needed a Sympathy Pie), I’m gonna need a sugar detox soon.

But not today! Today we make a cake (for Mr. P’s birthday, actually) that was inspired by THIS:

That outrageous amazeballs cake was made by a childhood friend for her husband’s birthday, and I’ve been wanting to replicate it as soon as I saw it. I ended up adapting it quite a lot, so you should definitely check out the original recipe (her step-by-step is excellent!). Instead of her version, I made one that reminds me of how Mr. P approaches a froyo bar. Here, let him explain what I mean:

So that was my inspiration for a three-layer chocolate cake with nutella and toffee filling and peanut butter whipped cream buttercream icing topped with toffee and Reese’s. I mean really. Let’s do this!

Once again, I relied on good ol’ Duncan Hines boxed cake mix (in Devil’s Food flavor):

When you’re going to put a near-obscene amount of other sugary delights on this cake, believe me, the effort to bake a cake from scratch is simply not worth it.

I prepared the cake mix as directed by the box EXCEPT: I decided to make a three-layer cake instead of two. I only have two pans, so I just separated the batter into the two pans and an extra bowl in half-cup-fuls until it was basically evenly distributed.

Then I baked them as Becca directed, about seventeen minutes per layer. I didn’t even bother with parchment paper this time, as it’s not served me well in the past.

While the cakes bake, it’s frosting time! Or is it icing? I’m not enough of a baker to know the difference. Either way, I halved the buttercream amount from the source and used 1.5 sticks of (salted) butter with about 9 ounces of creamy peanut butter. That gets creamed together, then throw a cup of powdered sugar in there:

And mix on high until super fluffy!

I actually texted that photo of the peanut butter buttercream to Mr. P (who was away working all day) just so his mouth could water as much as mine. But hold on, because it’s about to get better.

Because I only have the one mixing bowl, I scraped the buttercream into a different bowl, wiped the mixing bowl clean, and beat a cup of whipping cream with a quarter-cup of powdered sugar. After running the stand mixer for a few minutes, I had fresh whipped cream! I folded it into the buttercream:

You may note (if you’re following the source closely) that I halved the buttercream ingredients but left the whipped cream the same. I can’t say this was entirely intentional, but it worked well for a cake of this size, and ended up keeping the whole shebang nice and fluffy!

Okay, by now, the cake are probably baked and hopefully cool. Time to start assembling! On the first layer, I put a glob of nutella (not quite half of a small jar), spread it out, and covered it in toffee (Heath toffee bits, to be specific).

To keep the nutella contained within the cake layers, I took Becca’s tip of piping the frosting around the outside edge of each cake layer. And to pipe it, I used THIS:

I received that as a gift from my sister-in-law over Christmas, and you guys, it’s rare that I am so intimidated by a kitchen gadget. There are entire cake-decorating classes dedicated to proper piping! But rather than quake in fear of piping frosting with a fancy gadget, I decided to give it a (very messy) go:

It wasn’t a complete disaster, although I did wonder a few times if I’d have to submit this creation to Cake Wrecks.

Then I repeated the nutella, toffee, and frosting-piping to stack the remaining layers:

And finally, I used the remainder of the frosting all over the outside of the cake! I’m not going to give you any frosting tips because I clearly have NONE. I even thought I’d get creative and pipe a decorative edge around the bottom, but that turned out... well... sad. Oh well. I’ll just have to practice with it, which means making MORE CAKES. SO UNFORTUNATE.

But to disguise my poor frosting techniques, I covered the top in chopped Reese’s cups and more toffee. That sure distracts from a messy frosting job! Mmmm.

This cake sounds ridiculous, when you describe it, and it looks pretty ridiculous too. Fortunately it tastes just as ridiculous – ridiculously indulgent and celebratory and near-belly-aching and delicious. It’s definitely a special-occasion cake, so it’d be perfect for your next birthday season! Enjoy!

Finally, here’s this week’s I-bought-a-bunch-of-avocados-and-then-Mr.-P-received-Chipotle-coupons meal plan:

Sunday: rosemary chicken, roasted broccoli, and parmesan risotto (I made it on the stovetop this time, but you can bake it too!)

Monday: burrito bowls, bumped from last week (like salsa chicken, just shredded up in a bowl – a burrito sans tortilla!)

Tuesday: Christmas pasta

Wednesday: Chipotle burritos for our impromptu Burrito Week

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: spinach tortellini

Saturday: chicken enchiladas, which are NOT burritos so they are ok. I’ll share my recipe for those soon!

Have a wonderful week, dear readers! Enjoy the extra sunshine and warmth!


Christal said...

how on earth were you intimidated by the frosting device? It looks basically exactly like a pipet, no? :-)

Sarah said...

@Christal, you'd think so (and Mr. P said the same thing)! But the main differences are 1) you never pipette anything as viscous as buttercream icing (even glycerol doesn't come close), and more importantly, 2) you don't care what it looks like when it comes out of the pipette! I totally get why there are entire classes devoted to frosting cakes now.

Tina said...

Oh, pooh! It's so much easier than you think... Don't know if this technique is correct, but it ends up so very similar looking, who cares? Using the same tip, you squeeze .5 - .75 and push back; repeat until you meet the beginning. I learned this after my first attempt looked exactly like yours...
I have the same piping set and on first usage was too intimidated to think any technique out. Courage ate up my all my reasoning brain cells.
And to think this on this milestone b'day I'm only 40!!! Wow.

Tina said...
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Betty Becca said...

OMG! I'm so honored to be featured here. Your cake looks delish!