Piqued by technique.
There is an old African proverb that says knowledge is like a garden – if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested. These little words of wisdom serve to remind us that by learning new things and expanding our horizons we might become a little more dynamic. So recently I have been trying to extend my skill set in the kitchen. Baking is still my passion, but if I’ve seen something else that piques my curiosity I’ve thought to myself: try it – you might like it. So there have been home-made sweets. Attempts at old-fashioned chilled desserts using gelatin. I’ve even tried my hand at preserving. It was like the polar opposite of baking. It wasn’t that my attempts were not successful (though I did once manage to make a batch of chocolate and pear jam turn into hard toffee by over boiling). It just wasn’t for me. High pressured and precision timed with all the enjoyment sucked out. When I’m baking I like to take my time and savour the moment. So this blitz bread didn’t exactly sing to my soul. You basically put all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz them together. I imagined that it would make the cake as tough as old boots but I was sufficiently interested to see how it turned out. So I decided to give it a whirl.
Better bitta butter batter.
I love peanut butter cakes but they can be a tad on the dry side. I’ve found that can be especially true if the recipe is American. Over here we only have two sorts of peanut butter as a rule, smooth and crunchy. Across the pond they are spoiled for choice. There are varieties of peanut butter with jam already added. Differently flavoured peanut butter such as white chocolate, maple syrup or with fiery spices. You can even get powdered peanut butter. I presume that’s for the peanut butter addicts who perhaps prefer to get their fix a bit quicker by snorting. I could manage perfectly well without any of these things but the one kind of peanut butter I really want to see more of here in Blighty is CREAMY. I’ve noticed that many of the recipes over there use creamy peanut butter for baking. I’m sure this would make a difference to the consistency and the texture of a peanut butter cake. I can’t tell you how many times I have made cakes with our normal English smooth peanut butter only for it to turn out dry. Not so much dessert as desert.
The nutty processor.
I had guests coming round for a brew the other day and no cake in the caddy. I didn’t really have much spare time to set about baking so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out this all-in-one blitz bread. As promised, the cake came together in seconds. The only thing to say about the preparation is that this was not the thin cake batter I thought it would be. It was so thick and gloopy. My old food processor has seen better days so the motor was struggling to cope a little bit. I think that given a few more seconds it might have burned out completely. Also, while being very tasty peanut-wise, the finished cake was not overly sweet. So don’t be tempted to skip the glaze because you really need it for the extra sweetness. It gives a delicious extra hit of peanut too. But best of all, if you get distracted – like what I did. If the cake is in the oven a smidge too long – like what mine was. If it starts to look a bit singed around the edges – like what mine did. Then maybe. Just maybe. The icing might cover up your mistake. Fingers crossed.
A tin to bake it in.
This is another recipe for the 1kg loaf tin. The resulting cake was a bit of a beast. It rose high in the air and developed a rather pleasing crack almost its entire length. It also turned out much better than I expected. Blitzing the ingredients didn’t make the cake tough at all and it was much more moist than some of my previous peanut butter cakes. Having said that, if I made this again I would most likely go back to using my trusty stand mixer. Partly because it’s a bit more powerful but mostly because it suits me better to be pottering about the kitchen at my own pace. I should think that anyone who likes peanut butter will get a kick out of this recipe. You could say it’s a real nut cracker sweet. Now here’s that recipe… Enjoy.
Peanut Butter Blitz Bread.
- 200g Granulated Sugar.
- 2 Large Eggs.
- 270g Smooth Peanut Butter.
- 250ml Whole Milk.
- 250g Self Raising Flour.
- ½ tsp Salt.
- 30g Chopped Peanuts.
- 100g Icing Sugar.
- 30g Smooth Peanut Butter.
- 30ml Whole Milk.
- Place a shelf in the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour a 1kg loaf tin.
- Place the sugar, eggs, peanut butter, milk, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
- Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Pour into the prepared loaf tin and level the surface. I left a dip in the middle to help the cake rise evenly but it didn’t help much in this case.
- Scatter the chopped peanuts over the surface.
- Bake for 50 minutes. Cover loosely with tin foil and bake for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the peanut butter glaze: Using a fork, beat together the icing sugar and peanut butter with just enough milk to form a fairly thick icing. Do not add too much milk. The glaze should not be too runny.
- Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled cake, allowing some to run down the sides a little.