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peanut butter chocolate cake.

happy birthday to me. today i reach the grand old age of 26 and intend on eating lots of cake and drinking more cocktails than usual. 

it seems that on your birthday in britain you're supposed to bring in cake, sweets and treats to work. or in my office sometimes even a box of samosas. although i begrudge the tradition of the birthday girl or boy having to cough up the goods (just shower me in gifts already!) i secretly love this time of year for the very excuse to get my bake on. 

this fudgy chocolate brownie cake with peanut buttercream was the very cake i took in this week, before irritatingly announcing it was my friday and escaping the office for long weekend of fun.

shopping list. 
for the chocolate cake, based on this happy birthday chocolate cake
♥ 175g plain chocolate 
♥ 175g soft unsalted butter 
♥ 175 caster sugar 
♥ four eggs, with egg yolks and egg whites separated 
♥ 100g ground almonds 
♥ 90g sifted plain flour

for the chocolate ganache

♥ 75g dark chocolate
♥ 75ml double cream

for the peanut butter buttercream

♥ 150g butter, softened at room temperature
♥ 300g icing sugar 
♥ 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
♥ a dash of milk, if needed
♥ peanut chocolate bar for topping, such as kitkat peanut or reece's pieces.

equipment needed; electric whisk, two 8" cake tins.

preheat your oven to 180 degrees, gas mark four.

step one. separate your eggs yolks and whites ready. set aside.

step two. cream together the butter, sugar and beat in the egg yolks.

step three. melt the chocolate in a bain marie or over a low heat in a saucepan.

step four. add the melted chocolate, flour and ground almonds to the creamed butter, sugar and egg.

step five. whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer or electric hand mixer.

step six. carefully add the whipped egg white meringue mix to the chocolate mixture. it will be quite a thick and grainy batter due to the ground almonds, with quite a light brown colour which will get darker when baked.

step seven. weight out evenly between the tins or cases - they should be about 500g per cake. bake for 25-30 minutes. allow to cool before removing from the tin.

step eight. make the ganache by combining 75g of melted dark chocolate and 75ml double cream. i whipped this with my mixer so it was essentially a thick chocolate whipped cream.

step nine. when the cake is totally cool, smooth the chocolate ganache on one layer and place the other on top. set aside whilst you make the peanut butter buttercream,

step ten. make the buttercream by beating together the butter and icing sugar. i did this again in my stand mixer. add the peanut butter and continue to beat. you may need a little dash of milk to help the mix come together. i also added some sugarflair autumn leaves colouring to this mix to make it an especially creamy coffee colour.

step eleven. crush the peanut chocolate bar and scatter on top. 

step twelve. sing happy birthday and serve yourself up a slice. or two.

what is your favourite birthday cake?