Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Even new mothers love cake. Before she went on maternity leave, Good Day's Lauren Przybyl learned some "Cake Magic" from cookbook author Caroline Wright.

Cake Magic! Cake Mix

Makes 4 cups (enough for one 8- or 9-inch Two-layer cake, one 13 x 9-inch sheet cake, One 10-inch Bundt cake, or 24 cupcakes)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt (see Note)

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine. Whisk the mix again before measuring.

Note: It's important to use table salt in the cake mix; other types will eventually settle out of the mix.

Peanut Butter Cake

Makes one 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake (or one 10-inch Bundt cake, one 13 x 9-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes)

Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pans
All-purpose flour, for dusting the pans
4 cups dry Cake Magic! Cake Mix (page 142), whisked well before measuring
¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt, see page 126)
½ cup smooth peanut butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and side of the pan(s). Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess. (If making cupcakes, use liners instead of greasing and coating the tins.)

Place the cake mix in a large bowl. Whisk together the yogurt, peanut butter and eggs in a small bowl. Add the peanut butter mixture, butter and water to the cake mix and stir until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake until the layers are domed and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 32 to 36 minutes (40 to 50 minutes for a Bundt, 25 to 35 minutes for a 13 by 9-inch cake, and 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes). (At this point, coat the layers with syrup and let them cool completely in the pans.)

Chocolate Syrup

GF  V Makes 1 cup

½ cup sugar
½ cup water
Pinch of salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine the sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for about 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the cocoa and remove from the heat. Set aside to cool. Use the syrup warm or let it stand, covered, until it reaches room temperature.

Chocolate Syrup will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week. Reheat it in a small saucepan over low heat before using.

Malted Milk Chocolate Frosting

Makes 4 cups

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup malted milk powder
Pinch of salt
4 cups (one 16-ounce box) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled (see page 125)

Combine the butter, malted milk powder, salt and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. In a slow, steady stream, drizzle in the chocolate and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Malted Milk Chocolate Frosting will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 1 week. Before using, bring it back to room temperature and stir it vigorously or beat it again for best results.

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