Simple cakes can be dazzling. The trick is to stick to tried-and-true flavours.
Case in point, this one-bowl, moist and light chocolate cake with a rich, creamy peanut butter icing. How can anyone possibly go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter?
For the cake:
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 200g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp coffee oil (opt.)
- 1/2 cup single/whipping cream (or full-cream milk, if that’s more convenient)
- 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 115g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup freshly boiled water
For the peanut butter icing:
- 50g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 125g icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk, to thin
Makes a double-layered 7-inch cake.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and line two 7-inch round cake tins.
Step 2: Truth be told, you could dump all the ingredients for the cake in a large bowl and mix like mad and you’d certainly get away with it. If you prefer a little more of a process, first mix together the first seven ingredients until well combined. Then, sift in the cocoa, flour, baking powder and baking soda and stir in. Finally, pour in the hot water and stir to finish your batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two tins and bake for 35 minutes. Cool before icing.
Step 3: To make the icing, beat the butter, peanut butter and vanilla together until combined and slightly aerated. Sift in the icing sugar and mix in thoroughly. Finally, stir in enough milk to thin the icing to a spreadable consistency.
Step 4: To assemble the cake, begin by first levelling the cake layers if they have too much of a dome. Put one layer on your serving board, spread half the icing on it, add the second layer on top, and spread the remaining icing over.
To decorate this cake as you see in the photograph, I added some chocolate shavings (made by running a knife over the flat side of a cold chocolate bar) and some crushed up peanut brittle.