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RED PANDA CAKE

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing makes 2 9-inch layers or the 4 shapes required for a red panda cake
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season

Equipment

Ingredients

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder [preferably dutch processed]
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk [or sour milk]
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c smooth peanut butter [we use no name 25% less sugar]
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

[Chocolate] Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing [Makes about 4.25 cups]

  • 1.25 c light cream cheese
  • .5 c butter
  • 5 c icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c smooth peanut butter [we used no-name with 25% less-sugar]
  • [5 ounces bittersweet chocolate melted & 3 tbs coffee]

Additional Needs Specific to the Red Panda Cake

  • Gel icing colours: Copper Red, Black, White-White [Optional]
  • 1 mini peanut butter cup
  • 2 chocolate covered nuts
  • Black Licorice Laces [or a tube of black pre-made icing or Chocolate peanut butter cream cheese icing placed in a piping bag]
  • A picture of a favourite red panda face to use as a guide.

Instructions

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • If you are using them, mold the 2 disposable aluminum pot-pie pans into triangular ear shapes, raising the edges of the pans up [think of it as lifting up a collar] so that they will be as tall as your other pans and hold more batter.
  • Spray each baking pan with baking spray.
  • Line the bottoms of each pan with parchment paper cut to size.
  • [Trace around the bottoms of the pan with a pencil to create a guide.]
  • Spray the tops of the parchment with a bit of baking spray.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer using a sifter or a wire-mesh strainer.
  • Add salt and sugar to the bowl, and with the mixer set to low speed, beat for 30 seconds or so until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
  • With the mixer set to low, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and blend until just combined.
  • Place the peanut buter in a large measuring cup and pour coffee over top.
  • Whisk tihs mixture until the peanut butter is melted and fully blended with the coffee.
  • Beat the coffee & peanut butter mixture into the cake batter until fully incorporated.
  • You will have about 6 generous cups of batter when completed.
  • Pour about 3-3.5 cups of batter into the largest pan, 1-2 cups of batter into the smaller pan, and less than 1 cup of batter into each of the small tins for the ears.
  • Look to see that the level of batter is even in each of the pans. Adjust accordingly.
  • Set the filled pans in the middle rack of your oven.
  • Bake cakes for a total of about 30 minutes, until a butter knife inserted into the centres of the cakes comes out clean.
  • [Today, our smaller cakes took 28 minutes, and our larger cake took 32 minutes.]
  • Cool the cakes in their pans on top of wire racks for at least 30 minutes.
  • Then, invert the cakes on the wire racks, remove the parchment circles, and cool completely.

[Chocolate] Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing

  • In a mixer, blend the cream cheese and the butter.
  • Add the vanilla and the peanut butter and combine until fluffy.
  • Scrape sides of bowl occasionally.
  • Slowly add the icing sugar until well combined.
  • [For the chocolate version, add the melted chocolate and coffee and stir.]

RED PANDA CAKE CONSTRUCTION

  • Prepare 1 recipe of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Divide the Batch into 1 small bowl (about .5 c) and 3 larger bowls (about 1.25 c each)
  • To the smaller bowl, add copper icing gel
  • Leave one large bowl of icing beige or add white-white icing drops to brighten it a bit
  • Add Copper, Red and Black Icing Gel to achieve a reddish brown colour in another large bowl.
  • To the final large bowl, add 2 oz melted bittersweet chocolate and 1 tbs coffee and combine well, adding an additional dot or two of black icing gel if so desired.
  • Remove the parchment from the cake bottoms and trim the tops of the cakes if so desired.
  • Lay the large cake trimmed side down on a large serving platter.
  • Using the heart- (or small circle) shaped parchment you removed from the small cake as a guide or outline, spread the chocolate flavoured icing in an upside-down heart-shape towards the centre bottom of the of the 11 in cake.
  • Place the smaller heart (or circle) cake trimmed side down upon the icing.
  • Use chocolate flavoured icing to attach the ears, trimmed sides down, at the 2 and 10 o'clock points on the 11 in cake.
  • Use the icings to decorate the cake as you please:
  • It may seem counter-productive, but I began with the white icing and the copper icings as highlight colours, adding the darker reddish-brown colour afterwards.
  • I placed the peanut butter cup as a nose and the chocolate covered nuts as eyes about half-way through the icing process in order to use them as guides for further icing and decoration.
  • Finish by icing the outside edges or sides of the cake with the chocolate flavoured icing.
  • Cut a few lengths of thin black licorice laces to use as whiskers.