That Feeling When Your Cooking Show Education Pays Off #SOL24

March 10, 2024

Time for a brag. Not a humble brag, but a braaaaaaaaaaaag.

Finally, all my years of watching cooking and baking shows has paid off.

I was at my friend’s house a few weeks ago and saw that she had a bottle of peanut butter whiskey on top of her fridge (and yes, peanut butter whiskey is a real thing). She said that it was so good because it actually tasted like peanut butter. Then, she reminded me how much she loves peanut butter and especially peanut butter and chocolate. As soon as she said that a lightbulb went off in my my head and I said, “I’m going to make you a peanut butter and chocolate whiskey cake for your birthday.”

My mom has a rum cake recipe that I thought I could switch out for whiskey pretty easily. The general blueprint is the same, right? Just switch out the rum for whiskey. The recipe is for a yellow cake but you can really use whatever cake mix/base you want. The challenge, though, was the peanut butter flavor. The last time I made a rum cake, I made one with a spice cake base, but I felt like the spice flavor didn’t really come through. That’s because the recipe calls for a cake mix with a pudding in the mix, and for the spice cake, the pudding was not in the mix and I couldn’t figure out which pudding to get, so got vanilla pudding, which, of course, diluted (muddied? lessened?) the spiciness of the spice cake. In hindsight, I could (should) have just added more spices but I did not.

So this is where my cooking show training kicked in. I knew that my attempt to make the peanut butter chocolate whiskey cake would not be successful unless I could make sure there was a lot of peanut butter flavor in the cake along with the chocolate. One of the things judges on cooking shows are very particular about is that if a contestant says they are making, say, a peanut butter chocolate whiskey cake, they expect to taste peanut butter, chocolate, and whiskey. Otherwise, why is it called a peanut butter whiskey cake? So, I knew that I needed to make sure to amp up that peanut butter flavor because I knew the chocolate would be there, and I knew the whiskey would be there. But the peanut butter. That was the problem.

My first task was to see if there was peanut butter pudding available. There was not. But! Dove has a milk chocolate peanut butter flavored pudding. So that solved that. I did consider maybe doing a peanut butter powder or something, but I am not an experienced enough baker to do that. As we know, baking is chemistry, so adding a powder or taking some away would change how much of some or other liquid I used. And I am not in the business of that level of figuring things out. So that was a no. But how? I knew there had to be a way.

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Then it came to me–maybe when I was in the baking aisle, maybe a little bit before. Peanut butter chips! I remembered that people use chocolate chips in cakes or brownies to make them extra chocolatey and also, you know, with banana bread and such. And the best part? The chips are added after the batter is mixed, so I didn’t have to do any other changes to the batter. Perfect!

So I gathered my ingredients and then I called my mom because I realized another problem. The nuts. See, usually the rum cake is made with walnuts or pecans but those would be the wrong flavor profile. THEY DON’T MATCH. Should I not do nuts? No, you have to do nuts. My friend also likes nuts. “I know!” I said. “Peanuts. I need to see if I have some peanuts.” We both agreed that peanuts would work. So, I looked in my pantry, and I had a bunch of different trail mixes that I had bought for various travel, some at the airport, some from the store, none of which I would probably actually eat. So I went through them all and took the peanuts out, and I had enough. So we solved the nut problem.

It was time. I made the cake. The batter was delicious. I added the peanut butter chips. Perfect. Baked the cake. It smelled phenomenal.

I brought the cake to my friend. We did the taste test. It was perfect. Chocolatey, peanut buttery. Peanut butter in every bite. Even better? The chips melted! So you didn’t see the peanut butter chips in the cake. They were just one with the cake. SO GOOD.

Sooooo goooooood.

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1 Comment

  1. Stacey

    Kudos to you! You deserve to brag!
    I learned how to cook by watching cooking shows. Let me tell you, if one studies them closely, they can learn a heck of a lot!

    Reply

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