The first cake I've made from the lovely Sky High book and it more than lived up to expectations. The book is packed with mouthwatering looking recipes and I have a long list of recipes I want to try and am trying to invent occasions that warrant the time and money investment!
I made this cake for a church lunch and it went down very well and despite being a huge cake, all of the Sky High cakes are by definition as its a triple layer cake book, it vanished. The cake was super moist and almost sticky in texture; to an English mind making the cake felt a little weird as it has large amounts of vegetable oil and white vinegar in which aren't very common and coupled with the sour cream and water it made the batter very liquid. I had a bit of a disaster when I first tried to bake the cakes as the recipe calls for only the bottom of the tins to be lined and my loose bottomed tins meant that the batter started leaking out the bottom in the oven and burning on the bottom. I ended up hurriedly lining the whole tin but didn't have time to do it properly so the cakes turned out slightly odd shapes from where the greaseproof paper wasn't smooth. Once it was trimmed and frosted it was fine though.
The peanut butter frosting was amazing, I actually upped the amount of peanut butter in it as I love the stuff but it was tasty anyway. I very much enjoyed scraping the bowl out once I'd finished frosting the cake. I would like to try making the recipe as chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, I think they'd go down very well.
The final element is the chocolate glaze. The recipe is easy to follow but the texture was a little more solid than the photo in the book looked - more an extra frosting than a runny glaze. I ended up putting a fairly healthy portion on the top which glooped, rather than dripped down the sides but the dark chocolate is a nice contrast to the super sweet frosting. Part of the texture difference was probably because we don't half and half here so I mixed single cream and milk myself to use.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water (I only used about 1 1/4)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces unsalted butter
5 cups icing sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I used 1 cup)
8 ounces dark chocolate (I used 7 ounces)
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 'half and half' (I mixed single cream and milk and used 1/2 cup of this but you could just use single cream)
1. Preheat the ovean to 175 degrees C. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake tins. Line the whole tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk. Add the oil, sour cream and whisk again. Gradually beat in the water, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Make sure the batter is well mixed and divide between the pans.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a sharp knife/cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 20 minutes before leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.
1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Gradually add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time until mixed thoroughly. Beat for 3 more minutes until fluffy.
2. Add the peanut butter and blend thoroughly.
1. Melt the chocolate, peanut butter and golden syrup in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted and smooth.
2. Whisk in the 'half and half' or cream and beat until smooth.
1. Layer the cakes with frosting in between the layers. Frost with a crumb coat (important as the dark cake crumbs really show up in the frosting) and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2. Frost the top and sides of the cake before pouring the glaze over the top of the cake so it runs down the sides. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes minimum, make sure the cake is removed 1 hour before serving.