Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Snack Cake and the WNBR Protest

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Today was a truly bizarre, died and gone to heaven kind of day. The Silver Fox and I had planned to pick strawberries at a local farm, but heavy rain last evening had battered the crop so badly that it made no sense to slog through muddy fields for badly bruised berries. Unfortunately, that conclusion was reached in the middle of a field where we stood knee deep in mud. Having determined that berry picking would have to be postponed for another week, we decided to drive through the Lorane Valley, which is beautiful at this time of year. We had a late, but lovely, lunch at King Estates and started home. That's when things got really strange. Now, the Fox and I live in a community that fosters free spirits and cherishes individuality. Demonstrations are commonplace here and it takes a lot to raise eyebrows. We encountered a demonstration as we headed home that would have raised my eyebrows to my hairline had I not been laughing so hard. We got caught in a traffic jam caused by the World Naked Bike Ride protest, which,while new to me, apparently is a yearly event here. And yes, most of them, about a hundred strong, were buck naked except for the helmets on their heads. These modern day Godivas ride naked through the street to remind drivers that cyclists are vulnerable when sharing the road with automobiles. Noble, huh? Local police are not particularly concerned with the annual WNBR protest because the group is peaceful and law abiding and there are certainly no concealed weapons to arouse concern. Photos of the event from prior years can be seen, here. We Oregonians are a peaceful lot, though we tend to view laws as suggestions rather than fiat, so, if ever you have the urge to ride your bike au natural, join us for the convention next year. Pack a fig leaf and I might even feed you.

I had planned to make strawberry shortcake for dessert tonight, but had no berries to work with. I decided to try a recipe that I had found in Bon Appetit magazine. It combines a dense chocolate cake with a peanut butter buttercream frosting. The combination is hard to beat and the cake did not disappoint. The cake layer is very similar to the Wacky Cake of WWII, but the buttercream, an Italian meringue, is in a class of deliciousness that is all its own. I urge you try this when you have some time. You won't be sorry. Here's how it is made.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Snack Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Charlotte Druckman via Bon Appetit magazine 

Chocolate Cake
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (3-1/2 ounces)
Peanut Butter Buttercream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (about 1 3/4 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan with nonstick spray; line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
2) To make cake: Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Add oil, vanilla, and 1-1/4 cups water; whisk until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 35–40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
3) To make peanut butter buttercream: Combine sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat; using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until cool and thick, 5–6 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. With mixer running, add butter a few pieces at a time, beating to blend between additions. Season with salt.
4) To finish: Run a thin knife around pan to release cake. Invert cake onto a serving plate. Spread peanut butter buttercream over top. Garnish with chopped chocolate and peanuts. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Cut into 2-inch squares. Yield: 16 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Poulet Saute aux Herbs de Provence

Two Years Ago Today: Gobi Manchurian - Indo-Chinese Fritters

Three Years Ago Today: Savory Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart


Ginny Hartzler said...

O.K., now just WHERE was your camera??? I think if you got just the right angle, some would be postable!

Chiara said...

Lovely cake ! have a good Sunday Mary, blessings...

Alicia Foodycat said...

I hope they ride very, very carefully! Can you imagine the gravel rash if they fell?

The cake looks lovely - what an amazing recipe though. Does it really work without eggs?

Sparkly Jules said...

Hi Mary,

What size pan is this? Is it an 8x8 or a 9x13? I'd really like to make this.

Thank you,


lubnakarim06 said...

Love it....perfect cake....peanut butter snack with crunchy peanut topping sounds delish....


I love your recipes and anything that is chocolate and peanut butter, has my name all over it.

But even more I love your stories and this is a great one.

Unknown said...

this recipe I'll make surely It's delicious blessing simmy

Ana Regalado said...

I read about this WNBR before ! I hastily scrolled this post thinking you posted some photos of them ! lol

Mmmmmm That cake looks really good ! I just love the peanut butter buttercream :)

Gaijina said...

OH MY GOD I've got to make this!! i LOVE PEANUT BUTTER AND WITH CHOCOLATE... WELL... who doesn't know? great recipe! Thank you!

From the Kitchen said...

Thanks for the invitation for next year. A fig leaf (or two) would be easy to pack and I'd love to be fed by your. It's on the calendar.


kitchen flavours said...

Oh my goodness, the link to the protest is unbelievable! I agree with Foodycat, I sure hope none of them fell off! Thanks for sharing, Mary!
Your snack cake looks delicious, this is something that I would love to have a slice or two with a cup of black coffee. Lovely! Wish you a wonderful week ahead!

Arlene Delloro said...

I am ROTFLMAO! What a great post,Mary. Oh, the cake looks delicious as well, lol

Ellen B Cookery said...

OMG ... Don't know how I would handle the view of all those bike riders. Too funny!

Nice recipe too!

Comfy cuisine said...

I made this cake Mary. The buttercream frosting was the best I've ever made!

scrambledhenfruit said...

The cake is fabulous- that icing sounds dreamy. :) But the bike ride? How uncomfortable that must be! ;/

June said...

Oh you made us laugh with this one. Truly ...made in Oregon. LOL PS - we hope to be on the coast next year. I'd help you cook and Big Guy's volunteering to serve.

Kim said...

This is a great cake to nibble on and to please our sweet tooth!

Jane said...

Wow, that is crazy! The cake looks so so good! Have a great day!

Baking Addict said...

Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic favourite combination. This looks delicious!! Yes please.

sara said...

What a day! My husband is from Portland and I have enjoyed visiting that part of the country. This cake looks delicious; I can't wait to try it.

What's next said...

Think I might be trying this tonight! Sounds like the annual bike ride would be good intertainment!

freerangegirl said...

Hilarious! My neighbour saw the same sight in London - it totally made their day out! But where do they keep their keys?

D said...

good grief, Mary, you should have called; we love a peaceful protest. ;) Wonder what our neighbors would think if we decided to do that?

Today has been an absolutely delightful day: sun, cool breeze, 68... and now all I can think about is chocolate and peanut butter, wonderful combination.

Joanne said...

Well it seems like your muddy day ended up for the best! This cake looks so delicious...can't go wrong with chocolate and pB!

tender b. said...

My friends got stuck in that in San Francisco. They assumed it was a normal thing.

Monica Adriana said...

wow, this cake looks divine. who can resist chocolate and peanut butter altogether? :)

Salsa Verde said...

It looks absolutely divine and so delicious!!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Oh, just too funny about the naked bike riders! I read something about that and here YOU got to see them up close and personal!!! The cake looks absolutely heavenly, Mary.

Jo-Lyn said...

Oh boy! Ima have to make this! Yummy!

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