So, a French chef I am not! This year I was in charge of making the dessert for our family Easter dinner and since I just received my new cookbook Around My French Table, I decided to try something new…..I mean how hard could it be?! I cook ALL the time! I experience with new ingredients and techniques ALL the time! Well, my attempt at making Dorie Greenspan’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake was far from a success, it was a double disaster………I prepared the mousse successfully, but once part of it when into the oven to create the “crust” for the cake it was all downhill from there. Apparently my pan or the oven isn’t level because it ran out from under the spring form pan all over the cookie sheet and just became a smoky, burnt mess! So that was the end of that recipe for me. After that I had a bowl full of the rest of the mousse, so in my early morning trip to the store I got the idea to hull out strawberries and fill them with mousse. That’s where the double of my disaster came into play. I guess it wasn’t intended to be a filling because it was now a runny berry mess.
I have never experienced such heartache in the kitchen and was absolutely perplexed as to how I was going to recover. Suddenly all confidence was lost and I felt dazed and confused (and not just from the red wine). So here I was with my double disaster and I was not about to let it win, so I grabbed my coat of armor (apron and a pile of cookbooks) and decided not to give up until I won this messy moussey battle!!! Deep in the heart of the 2011 Best of Food & Wine cookbook there lived this little dessert delight that came to the rescue and was just what I needed to charge onto victory. And as the old cliche’ goes…..when life hands you runny mousse, you make Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Upside Down Cake (or maybe it’s lemons and lemonade, but you get the darn point!) and NOTHING says Easter like a chocolate peanut butter dessert! I swapped the eggs and melted chocolate in the recipe for my chocolate mousse and about an hour later I reigned victorious over my great big French flop!!! HA!
This Food & Wine recipe was my saving grace from my double French disaster!
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 bananas, halved lengthwise
- Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly butter the sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
- In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat 2 sticks of the butter with the granulated sugar at medium speed until very fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. In 3 alternating batches, beat in the flour mixture and the milk. Transfer one-fourth of the batter to a medium bowl and stir in the melted chocolate. Beat the peanut butter into the remaining batter.
- In a small bowl, blend the remaining stick of butter with the brown sugar and spread it in the baking dish. Arrange the bananas, cut side down, in the dish. Spoon dollops of the peanut butter batter into the dish and fill in the gaps with the chocolate batter. Gently swirl the batters together with a table knife.
- Set a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a platter. Let the cake cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve.
This is the original recipe found in the Food & Wine 2011 Cookbook. I adapted by using the chocolate mousse on hand but it would be best prepared as listed above.