This cake is for two types of people: first it is for anyone looking to make an easy dinosaur cake. Secondly it's for those that love the peanut butter and chocolate combo! This rich cake keeps for ages and is dense and moist with peanut butter flavour. It's spread with a peanut butter chocolate ganache that dreams are made of!
How to make a 3D dinosaur cake
Elly's fab dinosaur cupcakes!
Our weekend was full of kids. First, we dropped off this cake to a little boy called Nate who was turning two years old. His mother Elly and I have been friends for years. She also does my hair (@maxbrennerswife) and quite a few years ago I even set her up on a date with Mr NQN's brother Manu. Fast forward a few years and Manu has gone for a deep dive down the vegan route while Elly has been together with Sebastian for a long time now. They now have two boys, Nate and Axel.
Nate is currently into dinosaurs and Elly sent me a couple of pics of the dinosaurs that he likes. They're more the friendly sort than the scary teeth bearing T-Rex. Last year I made a mango white chocolate mud cake for him but this year I made a peanut butter and chocolate mud cake.
Then after dropping off the cake we went to see Louise and Viggo's new son Henry who was a wee little thing with a surprisingly strong grip. And then we were off for the weekend to the Blue Mountains. We met up with my high school friend Lulu who lives there. I am the godmother to her daughter Evie. Lulu and her family have had a challenging year, her husband Andrew was recently diagnosed with leukemia but he seems to have beat it which is wonderful news. She and Evie came to meet us for afternoon tea.
Make peanut butter chocolate balls with the cake offcuts! See recipe below
Evie has turned into a delightfully spirited girl. At eight and a half she loves to talk and tell us about her obsession: cheese. She told us in great detail about her favourite cheeses. She also had drawn me a picture of me and my "cooking show". She also wants to be a mouse so all she can eat is cheese. I know I had nothing to do with how gorgeous and food obsessed she turned out but I feel like her love of food was pre-destined!
So tell me Dear Reader, what were your childhood obsessions? Did you have a favourite animal?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Dinosaur Chocolate and & Peanut Butter Mud Cake with Choc Peanut Butter Ganache
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 2-3 hours plus resting overnight
Cooking time: 2 hours
For Mud Cake
- 500g/1.1lbs. Butter
- 100g/3.5ozs. milk chocolate
- 150g/5ozs. peanut butter chocolate chips (Hersheys)*
- 125g/4ozs. cinnamon chips (Hersheys)*
- 3 cups caster sugar
- 2 cups water
- 3 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- 3 cups plain all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornflour/fine cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 250ml/1 cup cream
- 500g/1.1lbs Dark Chocolate
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 750g/26.5ozs. white fondant
- 100g/3.5ozs. gum paste
- Black, leaf green, moss green, electric orange and violet food colouring
I know that these aren't available in the supermarket in many countries but if you have access to these, they'll make a nice difference to the flavour of your cake.
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 150C/300F and line 2x 20cm/8inch round tins on the base and sides. Melt the butter, chocolate (three types), sugar and water in a large saucepan until smooth and melted. Cool for 15 minutes.
Step 2 - Whisk the flour, cornflour and baking powder together in a large bowl and gradually add the liquid and beaten eggs. Do this slowly to avoid lumps but don't worry if you get them. Then pass the batter through a sieve just in case. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until the centre springs back when touched. Cool in the tin and then remove, wrap in cling film and keep overnight.
Step 3 - The next day make the ganache. Heat the cream until almost boiling and add to the chocolate in a bowl. Stir until smooth and add the peanut butter. Cool until firmer - you don't want it liquidy, you want it spreadable.
With the first unsmoothed layer of ganache
Step 4 - Take one cake and spread ganache on this cake all over. Place in the fridge. With the other one, cut it into a half moon about a third of the way across. Then cut out a head making it around half the thickness of the cake. Cut out a tail and a paw too. Cover these pieces too with ganache and place them in the fridge until the ganache is set.
Smoothing the ganache with a palette knife
Step 5 - Take a palette knife and a glass of tap water. Dip the knife in the water and then spread the ganache on the cake and pieces and smooth it down. Place the cake and pieces in the fridge until needed.
Covering with purple fondant and smoothing
Step 6 - Tint a third of the fondant a purple colour and roll out onto a cornfloured surface. Place over the whole ganached cake and press around the bottom edges gently. Trim and then rub it smooth with a ganache smoother. Colour another third of the fondant a blue or green (or whatever colour you want the dinosaur) and cover the four pieces with this fondant. Shape two egg shaped pieces of fondant for the eyes and fill with a little white fondant. Paint eye detail with black edible gel. Adhere these to the dinosaur with a little water.
Covering dinosaur body in green fondant
Step 7 - Tiny a bit of the leftover green fondant with the moss green and cut out some spots in different sizes. Using a paintbrush and a little water, stick the spots on the dinosaur. Use a toothpick to make nostrils and draw a smile on the face. Use some white fondant as the nails.
Placing the eyes
Step 8 - Tint some gum paste with electric orange gel and cut out circles in graduating sizes to make the back plates. Cut them in half and allow them to stiffen a bit before affixing to the dinosaur.
Adding name and plates on dinosaur
Step 9 - Tint the final third of fondant with green allowing it to be a bit swirled (basically don't roll it too much) and roll it out to cover the base of the cake board. You can also make a river but I wasn't sure if the river was needed.
Step 10 - You can also cut out the name in orange gum paste and the age number too (make this quite thick though so that a skewer can be inserted inside it). While it is drying, place a skewer into the number. When these are dry affix the letters to the front. Stick the skewer into the cake (I sheathed the wooden skewer in a waxed straw).
Step 11 - I also added some extra flourishes by cutting out flowers, leaves and grass using the leftover fondant and gum paste. I used some edible glue to adhere the chocolate rocks around the dinosaur too.
Peanut Butter Chocolate balls
- 3 cups leftover cake
- 4-5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 250g/8.8ozs dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons almond, coconut or macadamia oil
- Himalayan pink salt
Step 1 - Line 2 trays with parchment. Mush up the cake and ganache with your hands and roll into balls and place onto the trays (having slightly damp hands may help with stickiness). Place in the fridge to firm up.
Step 2 - Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave. Stir in the oil and mix well. Using two forks dip the balls into the chocolate covering them and lay them back on the parchment to set. Before they set, sprinkle with the pink salt.