I've recently finished reading My Life in France a book about Julia Child and her life and love of food and how it came to be. My friend Alexis lent me the book and I can't help but want to give her a big kiss for doing so. I think instead I'll give her some cookies.
In any case, during my feverish devouring of the words, I started to think about returning to my earlier baking roots. Back when, in the sweltering heat of the Tropic of Cancer, I'd make stews, cream-filled cakes and other items that normally would be better suited for a cooler climate. Back then, I was cooking to cope with the homesickness I was feeling and escaping into complicated recipes. The results weren't always on point, but the process was so much fun. Something that I remembered while reading Julia Child's memoirs.
In any case, something that I've been wanting to do recently is to make a proper cake. I've noticed a trend towards cookies and cupcakes, and smaller dessert items. I think one of the reason could be that people are actually thinking of what they put in their mouth (I could be completely wrong with the amount of fast food commercials that tempt me with sauce-drenched batter-fried chicken). So I picked up my Cake Bible and made an All-American Chocolate Cake.
The result was a rich and chocolaty cake, without being too fudgey. I filled it with her recipe for stabilized whipped cream and frosted it with a simple Peanut Butter Frosting that I swear tastes like the filling of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup®.
I am not going to reproduce the cake recipe here because I do feel that every baker should have The Cake Bible on their cookbook shelf, but the frosting is something that I feel compelled to leave here.
Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting (courtesy of Allrecipes.com)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.
Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and easy to spread.
Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.
Notes: Once you fill and frost the cake, it keeps on the counter-top for at least 3 days. If it lasts longer than that (yeah, right), put it in the fridge to keep the stabilized whip cream filling from spoiling.