Pages

Monday, June 11, 2007

Birthday Dinner

So, I officially have a teenager in the house. AHHHHH! Yep, my first born turned 13 this week. The funny thing is, it's my 9-year-old who ACTS like a teenager. So far things are quite smooth with the "real" teenager, but I suppose things could change.......

Anyway, my teenager chose a birthday dinner of lasagna and for his birthday cake, a decadent peanut butter and chocolate cake. To the lasagna, I added some homemade garlic bread and a tossed salad. I think I was probably looking forward to this dinner as much as he was! If you favor healthful, low-fat meals, you'll want to run screaming from this post immediately. I did not lighten anything here one little bit - full-fat all the way. So consider yourself warned......

I kept the lasagna quite traditional - just a simple, basic lasagna with sweet Italian sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, a bit of Parmesan, and of course, marinara (I used my own recipe). I didn't have a particular recipe in mind, but as I was beginning to assemble the lasagna, I noticed a very basic recipe on the back of the Barilla lasagna noodles. This recipe calls for adding two beaten eggs to the ricotta, something I really like (it gives the filling a nice, rich texture), but never remember to do, so I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter. Mmm...it turned out very nicely. We're having leftovers tonight for dinner....

Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Nothing much special about the garlic bread or salad - just your typical, basic thing, so on to the cake. If you have a chocolate-peanut butter lover, this is something you'll want to try. When you look at the recipe the first time, it looks quite overwhelming. Don't be intimidated - this cake is actually quite straight forward. It does take a while to make - with all the different layers and the chilling times - and it's one of those cakes that dirties every dish and bowl in the kitchen, but no one part is particularly difficult.

Actually, this cake is really a bit more like a pie. There is one cake layer topped with layer after layer of chocolate and peanut butter deliciousness. The first layer is a rich, moist chocolate cake. Next comes a chocolate-peanut butter crunch layer - much like a Nestle crunch bar, but with peanut butter too. The next two layers are mousse layers, first a chocolate mousse, followed by a peanut butter-cream cheese mousse. Lastly the whole thing is iced with a bittersweet ganache. Oh my!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake

The cake layer gets a little lost under all of the other decadent layers, which is why I really consider this to be more of a pie. You could make a slightly thicker cake layer if you wihs to have more cake with your cake, but you will need to find a different method of constructing this cake. The recipe calls for constructing it in a springform pan - this works very well, but the layers come to the very top of the pan, so if you increase the thickness of the cake layer, you may not be able to use a springform pan.

Whatever you want to call it, it's delicious. Each layer is fabulous in and of itself - combined all in one cake - wow. The amount of ganache is just right - ganache is quite rich, so a thin layer is really all that's needed, in my opinion. The only difficulty I had was getting the whipped cream to combine smoothly into the chocolate and peanut butter mixtures - it took more work to get a smooth consistency than I expected. I think I ended up with a few clumps of chocolate in the chocolate mousse, but, IMO, that's not necessarily a bad thing.....

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake

I actually constructed this cake over 3 days because I was very busy and didn't have an entire day to devote to it - I baked the cake layer on the first day, added the crunch layer on the second day and then did the mousse and ganache layers on the third day. The mousse layers need to freeze for 3 hours before adding the ganache, so if you do these 3 layers on the same day, just be sure to allow for the chilling time. This process actually worked quite well for me - at no time did I feel overwhelmed - by stretching it out over several days, I had plenty of time to concentrate on each step.

I don't even want to THINK about how many calories and fat grams were in that meal! We were all pretty stuffed after the lasagna, so we ate very small portions of the cake, but still! As much as I like to eat healthfully, I have to admit that I really look forward to creating and eating these splurge meals.

Up tomorrow........the low-fat grilled chicken salad we made last night to try to counteract all the fat from this birthday dinner............

11 comments:

  1. Wow - excellent looking cake! Congrats out to the first teenager!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Cake looks delicious! I'll be posting a lasagna recipe soon, too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my gosh, does that look good. Love the way your glass table reflects blue in the back of the picture - pretty shot.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Claire - It IS delicious and almost gone.......

    Cate - Thanks - my son commented on how it looked like water in the background. Totally unplanned - I just happen to like to take pictures outside.....

    ReplyDelete
  5. OMG...must look away quick!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Erika - I warned you. ;)

    Sigh.....it's all gone. Which is a good thing, really, but not........

    ReplyDelete
  7. JennDZ - Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous9:15 PM

    I had a cake similar to this at a restaurant, they made them as small individual cakes so I suspect there would be a little more work involved that way but it made for a nice presentation and you didn't have to worry about cutting it. I'm glad I found your recipe though. Said restaurant has stopped serving the decadent dessert and I've been craving it like mad!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Suzy in Brooklyn3:50 PM

    Thanks for posting the Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake recipe!! I lost my original clipping from Chocolatier, and could never find it anywhere...

    ReplyDelete