Monday, December 20, 2010

Baked Double Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread

So I have been holding onto this recipe for a long time and waiting for a "special" occasion to make it. Really, I was waiting for someone else to come over so it wouldn't just be Alex and I inhaling our way through an entire cake. I got the recipe from a Tasting Table email, but it was from one of the Baked cookbooks so I was super excited for it. I just knew it was going to be delicious. Not only do I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but it was a Baked recipe and after baking and loving the Baked Brownies, I had utter faith in this recipe.

Sadly, I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong - the recipe isn't bad. I just felt like it was a little off. For instance, the cake to frosting ratio is just way off. I'm not one who generally likes a ton of frosting on my cakes or cupcakes, but this cake was so dense and dry that it really needed more frosting. The cake was really deeply and intensely chocolaty (which you would expect given the amount of cocoa powder and dark chocolate that went into the cake), but forkfuls of plain cake were just lacking something. The cake was almost more of a brownie than a cake. And given that there was buttermilk, oil and eggs in the cake I just expected it to be a little more moist. Instead it was bordering on dry and crumbly. Actually, it was so crumbly that I literally couldn't get a piece of it to take a picture of because every piece I tried to cut basically exploded into a pile of crumbs with frosting on top. I tasted the batter so I knew that it wouldn't be a very sweet cake, but I expected the addition of the chocolate chunks and the frosting to make all of the difference. I think that if I make this cake again in the future I will turn it into cupcakes. And I will double the amount of frosting. And add more buttermilk so that the cake is far moister. I will also consider either substituting semi-sweet chocolate for the dark chocolate in the cake, or adding more sugar to the frosting to sweeten that up. I will probably do one, but not both. Our friends who were over last night recommended perhaps turning the cake into a layer cake (with frosting between the layers), so I guess that could work too. So I'm a little sad that the recipe that I have been saving and holding onto with such faith in its utter awesomeness turned out to be a little less awesome than expected. But given a few tweaks, I still have faith that it can become utterly awesome. It's just not quite there yet.

Recipe after the jump!
Tasting Table

Baked Double Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese SpreadAdapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts ReinventedAvailable on

For the Double-Chocolate Loaf: 
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona),
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped

For the Peanut-Butter-Cream-Cheese Spread:
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° and position the rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour, knocking out the excess flour.

Place the brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Press out any lumps
with the back of a large spoon. Add the cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until blended, then add the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; whisk
until combined. Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing until just combined. Stir in the dark chocolate chunks by hand.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1
hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and the peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.

Serve the loaf plain or toasted, topped with the peanutbutter-cream-cheese spread.

Note: The loaf can be placed in an airtight container or wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. The spread can be covered with plastic and refrigerated for up to three days.

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