Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Reese's Revenge - chocolate and peanut butter cake revisited


Back in July the theme for the Runcorn and Widnes Clandestine Cake Club was Independence Day Delights - I absolutely love Americana bakes so this was perfect for me, and the venue was brilliant - an American diner in Runcorn! Who knew such a thing existed?! Certainly not me, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked in to Rockwell's. Hidden away above a pub (I think?) it's packed full of in your face all American style with a pool table, pinball machines, statues, a car coming out of the wall and a couple of booth tables being made out of old Waltzers. Amazing!



I decided to revisit a cake that is something of a 'classic' in my baking history - the chocolate and peanut butter cake. I've busted it out a fair few times now - first created for my best friend's 30th birthday, it also appeared at Nic's Notebook's 30th, a food festival cake-off, and as a random commission for someone at my best friend's work. It had been a while though so I thought it was time to give it another outing.  That, and I am now something of a peanut butter fiend - in cakes and sweet things only though, brandish it at me on toast and I am likely to run a mile! Yuck.


It was basically the same deal as the other ones - chocolate sponge with peanut butter frosting, but I thought I had better try and jazz it up a bit with the addition of Reese's Pieces - sprinkled on top and also lurking in between the sponge layers, ready to surprise you with a crunchy PB hit! The rather military type circle of Reese's cups around the outside were a last minute panic - I usually cover the sides of the cake with the buttercream too, and then do a ring of halved cups around the bottom to finish it off (read: hide my sloppy frosting). For some reason this batch of frosting didn't seem to be stretching very far and I couldn't risk only being able to cover half the sides! I quite liked them though, I liked to think of them as a band of PB cup soldiers, with their fancy buttercream blob hats, protecting the Cake Castle from intruders!


Anyway, they didn't do a very good job of it, clearly....


It was a great cake club in a brilliant venue - check out the write up here to see all of the awesome cakes that were made. And yes, that Oreo Cookies & Cream cake was as crazily amazing as it looks! Can't wait to go back to Rockwell's and try the food now!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Rhubarb crumble muffins

So I know we've just come out of a heatwave and 'something hot with custard' is probably the very last thing on anyone's minds, but in the (slightly amended) words of Queen - the blog must go on!

For Father's Day I cooked Sunday lunch for my Dad and no Sunday lunch would be complete without dessert. The only vague request I had from Dad was 'strawberries' so I started to hunt out a good strawberry showcasing dessert. I know that it was June and my mind should have been going to cheesecakes and tarts but I do love a crumble (who doesn't?) and I came across a recipe for Strawberry and Rhubarb crumble on the BBC Good Food website that I couldn't resist.


I only managed to snap a quick shot of the crumble on my phone, here it is in all it's glory. I have to say, the pine nuts were delicious sprinkled on top, they really added some extra flavour to the crumble. I'd never heard of strawberries in crumble before but it definitely worked and gave a lovely sweet balance to the tangy rhubarb.


I was left with a solitary stick of rhubarb and there was NO WAY I was letting that bad boy go to waste - for some reason, I'm hit with panic when I need to make a rhubarb recipe as I become convinced that I'm not going to be able to find any. I think there was some kind of Great Rhubarb Shortage in the summer of 2010 and I haven't been able to shake that panicked feeling ever since! So this also means I cannot throw any away.

There have been lots of gorgeous looking rhubarby recipes floating around recently (Rhubarb Custard Crumble cake from Baking Addict and Classic Victoria sponge with rhubarb and custard from Fold in the Flour caught my eye) but I eventually settled on these Rhubarb Crumble muffins that I saw on A Baked Thesis.



Close up crumble topping..mmm

They were so easy to make and absolutely divine! I love cakes/muffins that don't require any decoration once they've cooled because it cuts down the oven-to-stomach time considerably! We had ours with custard and it was a match made in heaven!


Patiently awaiting a custard soaking
Arrrr yeahhhh

Any leftover rhubarb in future is likely to find its way into these again I should think - it's a great one to use because it only requires about one stick which is often what you end up being left with. Hell, I may even buy some especially! It would be well worth it.
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