Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Peanut Butter n Jam Sandwich Cake!
Ingredients: 500g butter, 300g smooth peanut butter, 8 eggs, 400g caster sugar, 300g natural yoghurt, 400g self-raising flour, 450g icing sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 4-6 tablespoons milk, a jar of fruit jam, & 100g salted peanuts.
Time taken: 3 hours

Hi readers,
What an eventful start to the week! Here in Newcastle there’s been glorious sunshine for the past few days… not that any of the geographers have seen it because they’ve been locked away in the library making final dissertation edits, ahead of our deadline tomorrow!!
I can report, with a big sigh of relief, that mine is finally handed in. And the battle is over.
It’s been a long road since we handed in our project proposals, which was this time last year, but at last I’ve written everything up and then chopped it to smithereens, and then edited it and handed in two bound copies of my work. No more.
And finishing such a big piece of work (the biggest I’ll maybe ever write!) feels… WEIRD. So, so weird. It makes me realise how much the dissertation’s become a part of my day. As sad as that is, I’ve worked on it most days of my life for a long time now. And today the dissertation is gone – so how do I fill my time?
The answer is… WITH FUN. Today, me and a good few of the geography chums are planning to head to the seaside, we are. We’re allowed to do that now! The girls and me are going to brave March temperatures at the coast of north-east England (brrrr) for some fresh sea air and lashings of fish n chips! And I cannot wait.
Yesterday, I was hungover and I think largely in shock about handing in my dissertation. It was a very strange and confusing day. But it’s been Dr Davies birthday in the house (Happy 21st missus!!) so we all went bowling and had some slightly-competitive fun. Dr Davies WHOOPED US ALL in the game and claimed victory… but I did come second. And slurped a CocoFudge Milkshake, which was heaven. So good.
And the fun agenda, really, was launched on Monday with an afternoon-long baking session in the ChefBeHere kitchen. This was in preparation for a birthday party and night out that we held in honour of the tremendously old Dr Davies.
BIRTHDAY FUN TIMES. It was a lovely night! Of what I remember, the Birthday Girl and friends got to drink real champagne and I believe we did some seriously good boogying out around Newcastle. You can’t beat it!
So, today really is Day 3 on the Fun Agenda. Whatever will come next?? Who knows! So long as it’s funfunfun. If I’m well enough to drink again soon then maybe there’s a cocktail on the horizon. I do hope that there is. And I hope you all, readers, are having some fun wherever in the world you may be this week!
If not… go get your fun on! What’s one sure fire way to fun up your week? Surprise everyone and bake something CRAZY. Literally, don’t hold back… just go for it!! If you’re up for a challenge, then this blog post today talks you through how to bake up a mammoth Peanut Butter n Jam Sandwich Cake, like I did for Dr Davies on Monday. I’m not kidding. This cake is possible and it’s do-able and it tastes SO GOOD. Like aaaaaaaaaah kind of good.
I recommend this cake for those of you, readers, who…
1. Are not on a diet.
2. Like to eat peanut butter n jam sandwiches.
3. Also, like to eat cake.
4. Have at least 3 hours to spare.
5. Are feeling frivolous with regards to ingredients money.
6. Maybe have some kind of occasion to celebrate?
AND 7. Want a challenge.
IF THIS IS YOU then here is how to bake up a storm and craft one Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich Cake, which you will not regret, in just 22 fun-filled steps…
1.       Heat your oven to 180˚C. Grease a square cake tin and line with baking paper.
2.       In a large mixing bowl, add: 400g butter, 6 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter, 8 eggs, 400g caster sugar and 300g natural yoghurt.
3.       Mix it up! Beat together until smooth and creamy.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: As there was so much mix and it was difficult to stir, I got out our electric hand blender and had a little help from technology, in order to get this mix to be smooth. If you have an electric blender too then there’s no shame in getting it out. If you don’t have one then prepare for an arm workout!
4.       Fold in 400g self-raising flour. Don’t worry if this makes your mix a little lumpy – just try to beat out any big lumps. Then pour half of the mix into your baking tin.
5.       Bake in the oven for half an hour until your cake is well risen and golden, and a knife jabbed in its middle comes out clean.
6.       When it’s ready, remove your cake from the oven and leave to cool in its tin for ten minutes.
7.       Then, run a sharp knife around the edge of your cake to loosen it from the tin and tip out onto a wire cooling rack, to cool completely.
8.       Quickly wash your cake tin, then grease again and re-line with baking paper.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I forgot baking paper here for the second bake and this meant that my cake broke a little when it came out of the tin later. So no forgetting.
9.       Pour the second half of your mix into the tin and bake in the oven for half an hour.
10.   As with the last sponge, when it’s ready, remove your cake from the oven and leave to cool in its tin for ten minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and tip onto a wire cooling rack to cool.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: OBVIOUSLY if you have 2 large, square cake tins then you can save time and bake both sponges at once. Just remember switch them around in the oven half way through baking so that they change oven shelves. This way they should bake evenly.
11.   Meanwhile, turn your oven up to 200˚C.
12.   In a small bowl, mix 100g salted peanuts with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and a small splash of water, until well coated and claggy.
13.   Spread over a baking tray and pop this into the oven. Roast your nuts for 10 minutes, tossing them a couple of times until golden and coated in a shiny caramel.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Remember to keep checking on your nuts. If any marshmallow-like froth appears on your tray in the oven, then just spoon this off into the bin before it has time to burn. Once roasted, tip your nuts onto a lightly buttered plate, so that they don’t stick!
14.   Using a large sharp knife, cut both of your sponges diagonally so that you now have 4 triangles of cake.
15.   Cover a large chopping board with tin foil. This will be your cake presentation board.
16.   In a large mixing bowl, beat together 50g butter and 150g smooth peanut butter.
17.   Add 400g icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add 4-6 tablespoons of milk until you achieve a spreading consistency for your cake frosting.
18.   Arrange 2 of your cake triangles on your presentation chopping board, so that they are slightly apart and look like 2 halves of a sandwich.
19.   Spread the tops of both sponges liberally with jam and use a butter knife to spread the 3 sides of each sponge with frosting.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Your sponges should be completely covered!
20.   Then, coat the sides and tops of your remaining 2 cake triangles with frosting.
21.   Very carefully, place your second 2 triangles of cake on top of the first 2, so that the jam sticks your sponges together
ChefBeHere Top Tip: These sponges should also be completely covered! No cake on show!
22.   Wipe any spilt jam or frosting from your cake presentation board. Use your hands to break apart your caramelised peanuts and scatter your cakes with the nuts. YOU’VE DONE IT!
Here’s how your cake might look at the end…
And that… is it. That’s how to bake a Peanut Butter n Jam Sandwich Cake. I mashed a lot of recipes together here and upped the quantities of everything as I didn’t want a cake that was too small for a birthday party (not an issue). And in the end this cake turned out pretty decent, I have to say. I think it’s very tasty myself – I can’t stop eating it – and everyone that’s tried some has been really nice and complimentary to me about it, too. About the idea, the taste and the sort of unconventional sandwich design take of this cake. Overall, this recipe has been a ChefBeHere success story!
I can report that the peanut butter comes through subtly in the taste of the sponge. And then like a hammer in the frosting, which is incredibly rich to eat! The jam, of course, balances all of this peanut butter with the age-old PB&J taste sensation. Then you have caramelised peanuts thrown on top for good measure, which work a treat. I’ve never caramelised anything before or eaten any nuts of this kind, but they’re SO LUSH. As it happens, caramelised peanuts turn out to be a really easy, sweet decoration to make for a cake. These nuts are something which I’ll definitely be repeating in the ChefBeHere kitchen. Just you wait and see.
Sooooo this bake is long and, mostly likely, quite stressful. But very worth your effort! A PB&J Sandwich Cake is a real show-stopper and I’d love to see some of you have a go at pulling one together. Would you consider giving this recipe a try?? Do you think you’d follow it to the letter or would you make tweaks? Can you imagine you’d like the taste of this crazy cake? Do you think it has the funfunfun factor??
Readers… be inspired. Go bake something spectacular and be sure to share with me how you get on. I wish you all the best of luck and, while you’re breaking ground in the kitchen, I intend to sit myself down and have a thorough post-hand in relax, I do. Nothing more.
Have fun safely,

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