Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.



Bundt Cake Saturday!

Morning: dark, cool
Mood: a little bit tired
Music: my girl Joni, via "Both Sides Now"

Well, good morning.  

Joni's crooning a little "Stormy Weather," the cake is in the oven, and I'm, well, a little heavy-headed.  Not gonna lie - last week's double-whammy streusel extravaganza kind of knocked the wind out of me.  So in planning this week's cake, I sought something easy, mellow, and comfortable; kind of like when you've just broken up with some high-maintenance dandy, the kind who spends more time in front of the mirror than you do and who irons his boxer-briefs and exfoliates with 17 different creams from the beauty section of Saks (does Saks have a beauty section?), and so naturally, in reaction, the next dude you go for is all lumberjack and frontier hygiene who's never seen a razor in his life.  Because he's low-maintenance and plaid-flanneled and comfortable to roll around with.  

Well, this cake is that lumberjack.  He's laid-back and easy-going and deliciously old-school and most definitely doesn't spend more on eye cream than I do.  And he smells good in his old-school simple Old Spice-and-sweat kind of way.  Except that he's made of peanut butter and chocolate, with a secret flourish in the middle.  So walk on down to the lumberyard with me and let's pick up a nice hunk of 

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER CHIP BUNDT

Ahh, yes.  Like an old comfortable pair of shoes after walking up and down Nob Hill in heels all day.  Once again we can thank Bundt Cake Bliss for this quick, easy recipe.  (And now Joni's hit her stride on "Both Sides Now," and my heart stops for a minute as the orchestra swells, and the peanut butter in the oven starts to waft my way across the kitchen, and the lumberjack is in the house).

INGREDIENTS

1 box (18 oz.) devil's food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup water
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan using butter and flour and set aside.  Stir together the cake and the pudding mixes.  Add the water, eggs, and oil and beat on medium for 4 minutes.  Gently stir in the peanut-butter chips.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean.  Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto a wire rack or serving platter to cool completely.



I have to say, this was exactly what I needed in terms of ease. The cake was mixed and in the oven in 10 minutes flat.  That is one easy dude.

Next comes the fun part.  We're going to make a homemade peanut butter frosting to give it a little more peanutty goodness.  Your frosting looks like this:

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teas. vanilla
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons half-and-half

Cream the butter until fluffy.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla and combine thoroughly.  Add the sugar alternating with the half-and-half until light and fluffy.



When the cake is cool, slice it horizontally with a serrated knife.  Aim a little higher than halfway up.  Flip the top half onto a plate.  Spread 1/3 of the frosting on the bottom half, place the top half back on the frosted bottom, and spread the remaining 2/3 of the frosting on top.  Top with shavings of dark chocolate.

I did use my magical electric mixer again, and it made wrangling that gooey devil's food cake much easier than last time (in spite of my massive guns).  It's the key to a creamy frosting, too, as I discovered quickly a few cakes ago when my homemade frosting came out grainy and not quite as smooth as I'd have liked.  Mix that shit up.

~~

Despite the mixing, the frosting still turned out fairly thick and unspreadable.  I'd add more half-and-half next time.  I layered it into the cake and tried to top it, but have to admit, it looked pretty damn sad.  So in a flash of inspiration, I ran to the corner market, bought a dark chocolate bar, and grated it over the top to disguise the ugliness with a heavy layer of chocolate shavings.  Brilliant!

The little bro is en route to SF right now for the weekend, and I think this cake will make for a nice little welcome mat, what with the comfort and ease and great combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  For a girl who's weak-kneed for anything approximating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Peanut Butter M&Ms, or Haagen-Dazs Chocolate PB ice cream, this is a recipe pretty much made in heaven.


So there you have it.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Bundt.  Smells great.  Tastes better.  And your kitchen floor isn't covered in streusel.  It's definitely one of the more humble-looking cakes I've made thus far, but oh well.  That's what you get when you date a lumberjack.

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