Friday, November 20, 2009

Pieces Parts

So here is a picture of my "tupperware" drawer.  I probably don't even need to say it, but of course you can tell from this that I am a Virgo.  I mean, who in the world has an organized drawer, or cabinet or whatever of perfectly aligned plastic stuff?  Gulp, that would be me.

And yeah, my spices are organized alphabetically.  Don't pity me, though.  I am perfectly happy in my madness.

Which brings me to the cake marathon.  I had it all organized.  Day by day.  I finally figured out what I wanted to make (hummingbird cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, coconut cake and four dozen assorted cupcakes).  I crafted out what I needed to accomplish each day (including shopping).  I kicked into catering mode.

And then it all went to hell.  Wednesday night.  Henry called me at 4:30 to say he was headed to the ER at a local hospital.  WHAT?????  He had been experiencing severe abdominal pain for a couple of days (unbeknownst to me) and it got the best of him.  He was headed for the hospital.

Of course I met him there immediately, leaving all of my cake-making in the dust.  You don't even want to know what the kitchen looked like.  At the end of the day (that would be the next day, as we didn't get home until 1:30 a.m.), he was basically okay.  Diverticulitis, but he can live with that.  It wasn't anything worse, thank God.  My kitchen was still a mess, though.

So that left me pretty much in the weeds.  Didn't get much done yesterday as I had to deal with what was going on with my sweet husband (he will be happy to read that as he gets tired of my referring to him as "that old, bald man").  I am happy he is okay.  I'm even happier that Eric is showing up tonight and Andy will be here on Monday.  When you can be in the same room with your kids and your husband and breathe the same air - well, it doesn't get better than that.

But back to the cake a perfect world, I would easily make all of these cakes in no time at all, post the recipes and the final (gorgeous) pictures.  My kitchen would be perfectly clean and all my plasticware would be neatly stored away.

That is so not happening .  You're going to get the photos as I take them from my iPhone in any given sequence.  Random pieces, parts.  It's pretty much a hodgepodge.  Wish me luck today as I will be finishing it all off - at least, I hope.  I'm sure there will be some road bumps along the way!


I began by baking off all of my cake layers, starting with the chocolate ones for the Peanut Butter Cake.  This is a moist and dark cake, very tender and soooooo good when loaded up with that peanut butter frosting!  Here's the recipe:

(From "Sky High" by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweeted cocoa powder (I used Droste)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.  Line bottom and sides with parchment and spray again.

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.  Add oil and sour cream and whisk to blend.  Gradually whisk in the water, then the vinegar and vanilla.  Whisk in the eggs and combine until well-blended, scraping down sides of bowl.  Divide batter among the three prepared cake pans (I use a
4 2/3-oz. ice cream scoop for this).

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is done and a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 20 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with peanut butter frosting, then drizzle glaze over top, letting it run down the sides of the cake.  If needed, refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes until glaze and frosting are set.

For the frosting:
10 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
5 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Jiff - you don't want freshly ground for this)

Beat cream cheese and butter in electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, with no lumps remaining.  Gradually add sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bolw often.  Continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

For the glaze:
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

Yield:  1 8-inch triple layer cake

Okay, so here comes the disclaimer.  I figured that if an 8-inch cake was good, a 9-inch one would be even better.  Thus, I made the cake recipe x 1.5.  Since the frosting is my favorite part, I doubled that recipe (you don't have to do that but I would much rather have too much than too little - besides, this way you can lick the bowl or rip off several large spoonfuls and still have enough left to frost the cake).  I only made 1 recipe of the glaze.

I'm about to go and frost the thing right now.  Will let you know how it turns out.  In the meantime, here are a few more photos!

Out of the oven - not bad!

Liz's Baking Factory
9-inch chocolate, 5-inch chocolate and hummingbird,
9-inch hummingbird

Lotta prep!


  1. You go girl!!!! I know you'll get it all done!!!

  2. Give my best to Henry, feel better soon my friend.
    Liz, I too know that you will succeed in baking effort.
    Finally, hi to Eric and Andy.