As you might imagine, I already have a pretty substantial cookbook collection so I try really, really hard not to buy new ones since space and money is limited and some self control has to be exercised!! But sometimes they call out to me and no matter how hard I try to restrain myself, they somehow wind up in my bookcase. Grandbaby Cakes by Jocelyn Delk Adams is one of those books and I couldn't be happier to have this beautiful baking cookbook filled with both family-heirloom recipes and more modern creations in my possession. I was originally going to share her show-stopping Real Deal Caramel Cake and I promise to post it soon, but a few days ago I made her Snickers Cake for my brothers-in-laws birthdays and it was such a hit and would be ultra-perfect to make for any Super Bowl shindig, so this gooey, rich, chocolatey-peanut-nougat concoction, won out. If Snickers satisfies, this Famous Fridays is for you!!!
It goes without saying that the cake recipes in this book, which range from traditional layer cakes to pound cakes to cupcakes and to celebration cakes that defy categorization, are amazing--I've tried several and I can't wait for more cake-necessary occasions so that I can try out more, but part of the lure of the book are the wonderful stories about Jocelyn's childhood, especially her trips from Chicago to Mississippi where she'd get to bake with her grandma, Big Mama, who created and/or was the inspiration for many of the cakes in the book. I'm a sucker for those family food stories--in any case, the book is a fun read and makes you want to run to the kitchen to test out all the tempting offerings you see in the glossy photos!
And speaking of baking, don't let the long list of ingredients for this cake intimidate you. Yes, there are four layers--the brownie-like bottom cake layer, the nougat, the peanut-caramel filling and the chocolate ganache topping (aren't you DYING to make this RIGHT NOW?!!!), but each one takes very little time and only the bottom layer requires any actual baking. All the rest come together on top of the stove in minutes. You just need chilling time between the layers.
And my, oh, my is every bite worth it!!! The leftovers from the party are in my fridge and I have to forcibly will myself away from the kitchen to not sneak little bites!! It's gooey and decadent and absolutely irresistible. Worlds better than any Snickers bar I've ever had!! As long as your partygoers can have peanuts, I promise that this will be a huge hit. It's not neat and it's not pretty--kinda messy like I'm sure the football will be--but who cares when there are glorious gobs of nougat and caramel and brownie and fudgy topping?!! Almost makes up for the fact that we have to watch football--no, just kidding--I'm looking forward to it--especially the commercials, which have been getting a lot of buzz. Anyway, enough of my drivel--make this very celebratory cake and I guarantee YOU will get some of the loudest cheers!! Have a great weekend everybody!!!
Grandbaby Cakes' Snickers Cake-Famous Fridays
Makes at least 18 servings
Prep Time for Cake layer: 12-15 minutes; Bake Time for Cake: 12-16 minutes; Prep Time for Nougat layer: 10 minutes; Prep Time for Peanut-Caramel layer: 12 minutes; Prep Time for Chocolate Ganache layer: 5 minutes, plus chilling time; Assembly: takes just minutes but you need to allow for chilling time between layers
For the cake
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sifted unbleached, all-purpose flour (sift first, then measure)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the Nougat
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1 2/3 cup marshmallow fluff
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (not the natural kind)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Peanut-Caramel layer
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dash of salt
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet--you could also chop up a bar of chocolate)
1. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the butter, water and oil to boil over high heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and set aside.
3. If you have a stand mixer use the whisk attachment, if you have a handheld mixer that will work fine too. On low speed, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt. Slowly add the melted butter mixture and then increase to medium speed. Add in the egg and mix well, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add in the buttermilk and baking soda and mix just until combined. You don't want to over mix.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smooth out the top and bake for 12-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. When cool, cover with foil and chill for several hours or up to one day.
5. To make the Nougat layer: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the sugar and evaporated milk until thoroughly incorporated. Let it boil for 3 minutes and then turn the heat to low. Whisk in the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter and vanilla until well incorporated and remove from the heat. The mixture will be very gooey and sticky. Remove the cake from the fridge and carefully pour the mixture over the cold cake, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Cover the cake again and return it to the fridge
6. To make the Peanut-Caramel layer: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and bring it to a boil. Whisk in the cream and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture cook for another 10 minutes, bubbling away and stirring now and then, until it thickens and really coats the back of a spoon.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts, vanilla and salt. Remove the cake from the fridge and pour over the nougat layer, using a spatula to evenly spread out the mixture. Cover the cake again and return to the fridge.
8. To make the Ganache: Melt the cream and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking a bit, until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Pour it into a bowl, let it come to room temperature and then chill the mixture for 30 minutes.
9. When the ganache is cool, pour the ganache over the top of the cake, smoothing it out evenly and let it sit for 10 minutes to set a bit. Then cover the cake again, without pressing down on the top and place it in the freezer for 1 hour until things have firmed up. Return the cake to the fridge and serve when ready. You can definitely make this a day ahead of time.
Note: Recipe adapted from Grandbaby Cakes by Jocelyn Delk Adams.