Chocolate Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze

Simplicity is the name of the game today.

It’s Monday.  We have 5 days of week ahead of us before Friday.  So let’s just pare it down a bit.  Make things easy on ourselves.

Maybe skip the blow dryer.  Make friends with a cute headband.  Forgo the cheekbone highlighter and the eye brightening eyeliner in favor of some pink lipgloss.  Or red.  Whatever floats your boat.

Let’s drink coffee with some milk.  Just say no to the foam and the flavors and the whipped and this and that.  A big mug + coffee + milk is all we need.  (Or tea.  Maybs you just need that instead.) There’s probs some things on your to-do list today that you don’t have to do.  I say don’t do them.  Let’s do the absolute essentials, pat ourselves on the back, then spend some time in the sunshine.  Tuesday is just as good of a day to do things as Monday.

When you come out of the sunshine, and it’s time for chocolate, make this cake.  It requires no piping tips or beaten egg whites.  No room temperature butter.  No trying to get the same amount of batter in every cupcake liner.

You don’t even have to make the glaze if you don’t want to.  I wouldn’t tell anyone if you sliced up this cake while it was still warm and ate it without a fork.  But the glaze is pretty awesome, so if you have some peanut butter, I say go for it.

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday.  Cut it into generous squares, packed it up, and handed it over to the birthday boy.  No one ever complains when you make them chocolate cake this good, even if it was super simple 🙂

Chocolate Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze

Makes one 9×13 inch sheet cake

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa (the recipe calls for Dutch but I only had natural on hand and it turned out great)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
12 TBS unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

For glaze
3/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325F with a rack in the middle position.  Butter a 9×13 inch pan, dust with cocoa powder (or flour) and set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl, and set aside.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and the butter.  Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring mixture between intervals, until melted and combined.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and extracts.  Whisk in buttermilk, then chocolate mixture.  With a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients until combined.  Stir in the peanut butter chips.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.  Let cake cool for a few minutes in pan on a wire rack, then prick all over with a fork.
5. While the cake is baking, make the glaze.  Combine all glaze ingredients in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium-low heat until melted and combined, stirring occasionally.  If necessary, reheat glaze just before using to thin.  (You can add a little more milk if necessary to get a pourable consistency.)
6. While the cake is still hot, and after you’ve pricked it all over, pour the glaze evenly and slowly over the cake.  You don’t have to pour it all on at once.  You want to give the cake a little time to soak up some of the glaze.  Eventually use up all the glaze to evenly cover the cake.  Let the cake cool to room temperature, or even refrigerate it, before serving.  Cake will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 3 days.

Recipe for cake adapted from Baking Illustrated; recipe for glaze adapted from Food.com

Thanks for reading, happy baking!

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