I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’m not sure if it’s a general departure from screens or just me getting older, but I find myself taking more and more pleasure in sitting down and just reading. The cats eventually find their way to my cozy spot on the couch. We snuggle up as I get lost in the pages of my book, and all of a sudden I look at my watch and two hours have passed.
I used to think of this as lost time, but as I begin read more and more I’ve realized how precious these hours are. It’s an exercise for your brain and a departure into a different world.
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple — Her stream-of-consciousness-like writing, coupled with over-anxious, quirky main characters, makes for a hilarious read
Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferriss — Hundreds of interviews of the best people in a variety of fields, from photography to finance to talkshow hosts. Warning: this book may cause you to want to start 5 different ventures. Alex and I are already looking into developing an app, buying an apartment complex, and starting a podcast as a result of this book.
Oh OK you probably also want to know about this chocolate stout cake. I love baking with booze. It’s two fun things in one. This chocolate peanut butter cake would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day (only a month away), or honestly for just because. Like, don’t you wish there were a monthly reason to make cake? I do. Anywho, here are a few things to remember when making this cake:
Choose a basic stout — I would go with a pretty basic stout so that it doesn’t overpower the chocolate/peanut butter combo. Guinness would be perfect.
Add more milk to the frosting, as needed — When making the peanut butter frosting, start by mixing in just 2 tablespoons of milk and then add more as needed. The total amount of milk you’ll need to get the right consistency totally depends on the thickness of your peanut butter.
Use your favorite candy bar(s) on top — I topped my cake with chopped up Snickers and Pretzels for added decoration, but you can easily omit them or swap them out for your favorite candy bar.
Wait back to books. Guys, should we start a monthly Broma bookclub?! Omg….
2–4 tablespoons milk (this will depend on the consistency of your peanut butter. start with 2 and work up)
for the ganache/everything else
1/2 cup bitter- or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
a few large pretzels
1 Snickers bar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine cocoa powder, flour, both sugars, baking soda, and salt, whisking to combine. In a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, eggs, stout, and vanilla extract.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, whisking until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans (about 2 cups of batter each).
Bake cakes for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the peanut butter and unsalted butter together until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add in the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk, then beat for 30 more seconds. If the frosting is too thick, add in 1-2 more tablespoons of milk.
Frost cake by placing first cake layer onto a cake stand and topping with 1 cup frosting. Spread evenly, then repeat with two additional layers. On the top layer, only use 1/2 cup frosting. Then, use the remaining frosting to create a thin layer on the sides of the cake, using a blunt knife to spread evenly. Place into fridge or freezer while you make the ganache.
To make the ganache, heat the cream over a double boiler on low heat. Once the cream is scalding (near boiling but not boiling), remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Remove cake from fridge/freezer and drizzle frosting over the cake’s edges, then over the entire top, again using a blunt knife to smooth things over evenly. Top with some crumbled pretzel pieces and cut up Snickers bar!