Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Flour Peanut Butter Frosting

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My motto for this cake was “go big or go home”. I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to add zucchini and applesauce to the cake, but I resisted because some times call for copious amounts of peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache, and 21st birthdays are one of those times.

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My favorite component of this is the peanut butter frosting, which I created with a technique that I’ve been using for the past five or so years. The frosting uses a flour, milk, and sugar roux which is cooled and then whipped with butter to create an incredibly fluffy and flavorful frosting.

I prefer this technique over traditional buttercream frostings which I find to be overly sweet, and swiss meringue frostings which I find to be overly buttery. Flour frosting combines the best aspects of both. I’m normally pretty iffy about frosting, but I could eat this frosting by the spoonfuls. It’s that good.

Chocolate cake recipe: this chocolate cake recipe

Ganache recipe: this recipe for ganache

Peanut Butter Flour Frosting 

Makes enough to frost 1 small 5 inch cake. Double the recipe for full-sized cakes.

In a medium saucepan combine:

  • 2 tbs flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup 2% or whole milk

Bring the mixture to a bowl, stirring constantly, and then cook for 1 minute. The mixture should be thick and slightly translucent. Scoop the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap to the surface of the roux.

Place the bowl in the fridge until cold.

In a medium bowl, cream with an electric mixer:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Add the frosting roux and continue whipping until a thick and fluffy frosting forms.

Add:

  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I used processed peanut butter because that’s the smoothest kind that exists. I’m not sure how natural peanut butter would fair.)

Whip until the peanut butter is fully whipped in. Now, eat a giant spoonful to “quality test”. Continue “quality testing” periodically.

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Hummingbird Cupcakes

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Baking in college is surprisingly convenient.

If I’m at home and and I realize I’m out of butter, I have to either get up and go to the store myself (and I’m much too lazy for that) or call my mom to pick up some and wait until she has time.

Here, I can scoop up butterballs at our dining hall and store them in the kitchen until I need them.

Out of eggs? I just have to ask (although I still try to buy eggs when I can). 8 ounces of cream cheese is 8 little portion cups, and milk and yogurt is plentiful.

I only really need to buy cocoa, flour, baking soda/powder, chocolate chips, and vanilla to make mostly anything.

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Obtaining ingredients is the easy part, actually cooking is harder.

For one, we have approximately one whisk and one mixing bowl in our entire kitchen. Also, I’ve seen approximately 2 measuring cups (and lately I’ve only found 1).

Also, it’s hard to find enough cake pans. But hey, when I can’t find large cupcake trays I can always make mini cupcakes, and those are arguably even better.

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I made these cupcakes last saturday morning because I woke up and wanted to bake something. I really had no reason other than an impulsive need to make something – anything, and at breakfast there was canned pineapples so I settled on hummingbird cupcakes.

These are fun little cupcakes, made with applesauce, cinnamon, pineapples and bananas, and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (I still have some I have to use up in the fridge ahhh).

They’re really easy to make, though I do advise you don’t be like me and do it to avoid actual responsibilities like homework, because you’ll probably regret it (like I did) later. Still, it’s hard to feel much regret when you have plates of cupcakes in your room.

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Oh, and another great part of college? Always someone willing to lend a hand and eat baked goods. It’s great because at home there are inevitably some leftovers that go in the trash, but here that’s not a problem.

Anyway, I should probably go and finish my essay at some point…

Hummingbird Cupcakes 

Recipe here.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon  salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup natural applesauce
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 cup pecans (I omited because nut allergies)
  • 2 large bananas, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast pecans in oven for 5 minutes, then remove and chop into small pieces.

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

In another bowl, mix the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until no streaks of flour remain (be careful not to overmix).

Add pineapple, chopped pecans, and banana pieces and gently stir.

Pour batter into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for large cupcakes and around 10-15 minutes for mini cupcakes.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ c. (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • powdered sugar, to taste
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Whip cream cheese and butter together. Add sour cream and whip until fluffy.

Gradually beat in powdered sugar to taste, then add vanilla and cinnamon.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake (gf)

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Ever since my lens stopped working (a nicer way of saying I think I might have broken it when my camera fell of the couch), I haven’t made much food. Occasionally I’ll whip up a batch of cookies, but without a way to document what I make, baking is somehow less rewarding.

Photography is something I do instinctively, how I record and remember my life. Unlike memories which fade and contort over time, pictures are constants. I can try to remember things long past, but human memory is fallible. Pictures are reminders of what has existed, how I revisit the past.

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I’m not a very sentimental person despite how sappy I might sound right now, but as my high school graduation rapidly approaches and as I anticipate being uprooted, torn away from the people I have spent so many years with, I can’t help but flip (scroll) through old pictures and reminisce. Try as I might, I cannot fathom a life any different than the one I have now.

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Food might not have the emotional significance of friends, but cooking has become an integral part of my life and I like to remember what I make. I’ve been using my phone’s camera since my f/1.4 lens broke, and it works fine for casual pictures (I like how candid phone pictures look), but my iPhone doesn’t do justice to food.

My fingers itching to practice food photography once more, I ordered a f/1.8 lens from Amazon last week, and though it’s was a hundred dollars, finally I have the ability to take DSLR pictures. My other lens is at the store being evaluated at the moment, but for now this lens will do.

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This chocolate cake is probably my favorite ever. I know I’ve called this the “ultimate” chocolate cake, and I even have another gluten free chocolate cake recipe here, but this cake, this cake exceeds them all.

I use my friends as Guinea pigs for my gluten free foods especially (aren’t I a sweetheart?), and this one cake was received very, very well. One friend who claims to have discerning tastebuds scoffed when I announced the cake was gluten free, said it was good but kind of “empty,” then proceeded to finish her slice. The next day she ate another slice, and the day after had another. (Moral of the story: I think she’s just doesn’t like the idea of gluten free foods.)

My mom said she couldn’t even tell the cake was gluten free, and I agree with that assessment. The cake is moist, tender, and chocolatey – and has made up two out of my three meals today…oops. (I was almost going to see whether I could go an entire day on only chocolate cake, but I relented.)

A bit of advice, though: blend the quinoa mixture well. If not the cake will have a sort of corn meal texture, but it’s not a bad thing (I like it!), just different.

Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Found here.

  • 2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and parchment paper two 9 (or 8) inch cake pans.
  2. Rinse the quinoa under cold water. (I forgot to do this and didn’t encounter any problems, but the quinoa can impart the cake with a bitterness if not done in some cases.)
  3. Add the water to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  4. In a blender combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Add the quinoa and butter and blend until smooth.
  6. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Pour in the liquid ingredients and fold together until smooth.
  8. Divide the batter among the two pans. Bake for around 25 minutes (35 minutes for 8 inch pans) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Let the cakes cool then frost.

Chocolate Frosting

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Stir in the cocoa, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Beat in enough milk to get desired consistency. I didn’t add much and ending up with a soft, fudge-like product.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten free)

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These cupcakes are like eating a cloud of fluffy chocolate brownie cake frosted with the inside of Lindor truffles.

My dad has been sneaking into the kitchen and taking two at a time, and he usually only nibbles at the desserts I make. I can’t blame him though; I’ve lost count of how many I’ve eaten.

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These cupcakes are super chocolatey, and not too sweet (though a extra quarter cup of sugar or a few drops of stevia can fix that if sweeter desserts float your boat) and the frosting tastes like the inside of lindor truffles. Really, it does!

The cake is more creamy and dense than traditional chocolate cake and it reminds me somewhat of brownies, but that’s the only distinction I can make. There’s no bean taste whatsoever.

If you’re feeling particularly healthy, you could replace the eggs with egg whites and sugar with erythritol, but these aren’t bad as is. So relax, and eat a couple (or ten).

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup sugar (increase to ¾ cup if you like sweeter desserts)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor, blender, or with a hand emersion blender until smooth. The batter should be very creamy and thick – like chocolate pudding.
  2. Divide into 30 mini cupcake liners.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-13 minutes.
  4. Frost, or eat plain!

Inside of Lindor Chocolate Truffles Frosting

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  1. Combine and microwave until melted.
  2. Let sit at room temperature until spreadable, or speed up the process using an ice bath.
  3. Frost the cupcakes!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

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Happy almost New Years everyone! I can’t believe 2011 is almost over :O

I probably should make a list of resolutions for the New Year, but if I do, I doubt I’ll end up following through anyways.  It’s worth a try though, I suppose!!!

Next year I will:

  1. Keep baking!
  2. Bake different styles of food! (aka. gluten free, vegan, raw, ect.)
  3. Improve my food photography.
  4. CONTINUE POSTING ON CHOMPSOFLIFE. (emphasized so I don’t get lazy, hee hee)
  5. Read and draw more.
  6. Learn a new skill.
  7. Do steps one to five, and repeat!

To celebrate this new year, what’s a better treat than chocolate cake? A luxuriously moist yet fluffy one at that! Top it with this Nutella frosting and you’ll opt out of New Years fireworks, choosing instead to stay with the cake.  A brilliant decision I might add.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  1. Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso power in a large bowl.
  2. Add the milk, sour cream, eggs, oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients, and whisk together for a minute, or until homogenous.
  3. Pour in the boiling water, and whisk until smooth.  Batter will be quite runny.
  4. Pour into 2 greased 9 inch cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted without any crumbs. Cool completely.