Oh hello again! How are you doing? I am very happy to be jotting out a blog post for you today and to be lounging in my living room again. How was your February? I hope you had a great last few weeks between posts. I am feeling refreshed after a month away in the Rocky Mountains where I was working on some personal projects. I hate to say it but while I was gone, the Albertan mountains truly won my heart. How unfaithful of me to say as a Vancouverite! What about you, does your heart belong to sea or snow?
I have always called the seashores of Vancouver my home, but after living in Alberta this past February I can truly see myself being happy in a landlocked mountain town. I went berserk for the mountains. Truly and actually. I became a weirdo who started walking around with yaktraks on my shoes. And yes, hiking boots err day every day were the norm!!
There was something so powerful and breathtaking about being surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. It was so uplifting every day to look up at the vast skyline of mountain ridges. Vancouver’s coastal mountains really hardly compare!
Well, back at home at last. Wintry flurries have transformed into gentle west coast drizzles, and I am okay with that. Spring is so near to us here in Vancouver. I am loving all the eager crocuses and cherry blossoms that are starting to blossom. If you’re like me, I bet you’re starting to drum up plans for the summer… I am already aching to get back to the Rockies for some backpacking…How about you, what are you planning up?
In honour of summer dreaming, let’s pay tribute to summer dessert classics— those that come in the form of the sweet-and salty, snackable, laid-back kind of summer treats (the best kinds of course). Say hello to today’s cake– the Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Layer Cake. Woah such a mouthful! The tastiest kind though. ;) Promise me that you will bake this for someone/something/anything this summer? It is so worth it.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzel Cake
Yield: one 3-layer 9 inch cake. Supplies: Three 9-inch cake pans, cake stand (if you wish)
3 cups cake flour 3/4 cups cocoa powder 2 tsp baking powder 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional) 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 4 large eggs, room temperature 1 tbsp vanilla extract 2 cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 F and arrange racks so that they are in the centre and upper third of the oven. Grease and flour three 9 inch round baking pans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, approx 3-4 mins.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 min after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
- Reduce mixer to low, add half of the flour mix and beat until incorporated. Add buttermilk in a slow stream and beat until fully combined.
- Remove bowl from mixer and finish stirring with a spatula. Divide batter among the 3 prepared cake pans, or bake cake in batches! (Takes longer..)
- Bake cake until golden brown on top and a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean, about 20-25 mins. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 20 mins before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
- If you want to wait to frost, cake can be double wrapped in plastic and stored in the freezer for up to 7 days. When ready to frost, remove from freezer, unwrap and frost frozen!
Salted Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
Yield: 4 1/2 cups frosting.
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature 1 1/2 cups smooth all-natural peanut butter 1/2 tsp salt 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 6-7 cups confectioner's sugar (icing sugar) 3-4 tbsp heavy cream 1 cup coarsely crushed mini pretzels 4 oz. 60% cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until softened (1 min). Add the peanut butter, salt and vanilla extract and beat well.
- Add 2 cups of the icing sugar, and beat until well combined. Add another 2 cups of sugar along with 3 tbsp of heavy cream. Add the remaining 2-3 cups of sugar and remaining cream and beat until it is your desired thickness. Beat on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 4 mins.
- To frost cake, place a dab of frosting on your cake plate and spread it out into the rough size of your 1st cake layer. Place the first piece of your cake layeron top of frosting. This will secure the cake in place! Frost the first layer of cake, then sprinkle a handful of the crushed pretzels and chocolate pieces on top. Repeat with remaining layers and then frost the cake sealed with the remaining buttercream.
- Decorate cake exterior with mini pretzels, aligning them in rows so that cake-cutting is a piece-of-cake! ;)
- ENJOY the most DELICIOUS sweet and salty cake of your dreams. xoxo
Recipe Credit and thanks to the glorious Joy the Baker. Recipe from her cookbook “Homemade Decadence.” <– You should pick up a copy!!
I don’t think I could rave enough about this recipe. I baked it for my future brother-in-law’s 29th birthday because I knew that he would go crazy for its delicious peanut-butter/chocolate flavours of awesomeness.
The cake was a bit of a showstopper since it was completely out of place at the hawaiian tiki-themed birthday bash (albeit the pretzels were rather tiki-retro and reminiscent of my grandmother’s bridge mix). Most importantly however, people were huge fans of this cake at least so far as I could tell while they were stuffing their faces with its glory. The triple-decker cake sliced into stunning gargantuan-sized pieces that were easily divvied up to a large crowd. It’s an absolute guarantee that I will be baking this big beauty again!!
But all cake-raving aside, what are your plans this weekend? I am excited to throw a birthday party for my cat on Sunday (haha, she is going to hate it) and then get out to Mount Pleasant to do some bridesmaid dress shopping for my sister’s wedding this July! :) I hope you have a wonderful month ahead full of summer dreamin’ as well.
PS: The Vancouver Scout List (great reasons to get off your couch this week).
PPS: All Vancouverites officially need to have this accessory.
PPPS: 100% the next cake that I am going to bake. (obsessed with this instagram account!).