One thing I love is baking yummy treats from my childhood (fairy cakes, flapjacks, etc). So I got to thinking and decided why not try to recreate one of my favourite chocolate bars in a cake form. I have quite a special relationship with snickers bars, as they form part of my earliest memory (which has kindly been pieced together by my mum who always reminds me of the story). When I was about 3, I accidentally disturbed a bee’s nest whilst on holiday in Devon and got stung all over my head and neck. Luckily – thanks to my African roots – I had lots of big bushy hair at the time which prevented the bees from getting to my scalp, but the doctors still wanted me to take an antihistamine tablet. Being the fussy eater I was, I refused to swallow the tablet, and remember keeping my mouth firmly shut as my parents tried to feed it to me. However, knowing my love for chocolate, my mum brought a snickers bar, broke it in half and stuffed the tablet inside. I remember happily munching away, not realising that I had been tricked (and this is the first sweet thing I can remember eating – the start of a wonderful relationship!).
After much researching and deliberating, I decided to make a peanut butter and caramel sponge, adding a layer of milk chocolate in the middle before smoothing it in even more chocolate…….
200g butter (softened and chopped into small bits)
3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
4 medium eggs
2 tsp caramel syrup (I would recommend Malmesbury Syrups)
50g – 100g roasted peanuts (chopped)
300g milk chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, and grease and line two 20cm loaf tins. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and then add the peanut butter and cream for a few more minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, combining well before adding the next. Mix in the peanuts and caramel syrup, then fold in the sifted flour until all combined. Divide the mixture between the two loaf tins and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack. Once they have cooled completely, carefully chop off the tops so that they are level. Wrap up the cut-off tops in cling-film and freeze as these would make as a great addition to a cheesecake base.
Break up 100g of the milk chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water (make sure that the base of the bowl is not touching the water). Stir occasionally until it has all melted, and then leave it to cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, use a spatula to spread a layer of chocolate over the sponge which will be the base of the cake. Turn the other sponge upside down and sandwich the two together (which will give the cake a flat top). Melt the remaining 200g of milk chocolate in the same way, and then pour it over the cake and spread using a spatula, ensuring that the sides and corners are all covered. That was enough chocolate for this one but should the cake be slightly bigger it may need more chocolate (or just add more if you want to!). Leave this to drip dry on the wire rack in the fridge over a plate. Once it is semi-solid, use a sharp knife to cut the dripping bits from the bottom, transfer it to a board and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week (yum yum!)
The peanut butter and caramel sponge with a chocolate layer worked well in this case, however omitting the caramel syrup and adding a layer of caramel in the centre instead of the chocolate would definitely make it more authentic (but perhaps a bit too sweet). Please let me know what you think (and if anyone is around East London over the next few days, pop in for a slice!)