Use your favourite chocolate cake recipe baked in 3 separate cake pans. I used this recipe and baked using 3 Fat Daddio's Anodized Aluminum Oval Cake Pan, 9 Inch x 2 Inch. I put 500 grams/~17 ounces of batter in each, and made some cupcakes with the extra batter. I then sliced each cake in two when frosting. So in this case, I use 3 pans to yield 3 finished cakes ready to paint.
Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Yield: ~10 cups of buttercream (enough to fill & frost 3 oval 9" x 6" cakes)
10 large egg whites (~300 grams/10 ounces)
2.5 cups (500 grams/17 ounces) light brown sugar
3 cups (1.5 lbs/680 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract)
3/4 cup (190 mL) Kraft (or other quality brand) smooth peanut butter, or to taste
1. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and brown sugar and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot, about 8 minutes if you used room temperature egg whites. About 12 if they were cold. Just be sure you can't feel any sugar crystals when you rub small bit between your fingers.
2. Place the bowl back into the mixer, and with whisk attachment attached, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10+ minutes or so). *Make sure your meringue is completely cool before adding butter--this may take much longer than you expect, but if the meringue is very stiff and still warm, just turn off mixer and wait until it has cooled. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing on medium-low and it will come back to smooth).
3. Add vanilla and peanut butter, and continuing to beat on low speed until well combined. *It's also pretty delightful to leave unblended swirls of peanut butter.
1. You can cut easily cut this recipe in half, and essentially it is Brown Sugar Swiss Buttercream with peanut butter whipped in at the end, so you also make it minus the peanut butter, freeze it, and then whip in peanut butter when you're ready to use. That way you have the option of 2 flavours in your freezer. It keeps frozen for ~2 months.
2. You can make buttercream ahead and keep in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, re-whipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
3. You can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
4. If not satiny enough upon rewhip, take 1/3 of buttercream and microwave in a microwave-safe container for ~8 seconds, then add back to mixing bowl and remix with remaining buttercream.
Assembly of the Paintable Chocolate PB&J Cakes (or Chocolate PB Cakes)
1. Wrap & chill cake layers in refrigerator for ~30 minutes.
2. Carefully slice each of the 3 cakes into 2, horizontally, using a very sharp, serrated knife. If your cake has domed, don't worry about trimming it, as you can put the dome side face-down. Since it's a 2 layer cake, you don't want to waste any cake by trimming it away.
3. Place first cake layer on a plate or cake board face up, and spread a thin layer of blueberry (or other desired flavour) jam onto the cake. Then spread a 1" thick layer of Peanut Butter Swiss Buttercream on top, smoothing with an offset spatula. You can omit the jam, if desired, or do some with and some without.
4. Place top layer cut side down (or up if your cake is domed). Cover with a thin layer of the buttercream using an offset spatula and chill until set, about 30 miinutes. You can also place in freezer for about 15 minutes. This seals in all of the crumbs. *You must chill the cake at this point to allow for a smooth, crumb-free top layer of frosting.
5. Once chilled and set, add a thick layer of buttercream, trying to get it as smooth as possible using your offset palette knife.
6. Roll out 1 lb 2oz (~525 grams) of white fondant on a smooth surface dusted with icing sugar or cornstarch, or you can use a fondant mat (I always use Ateco 24 x 36 Inch Fondant Work Mat) until it's about 1/8" thick or a little thicker. If your buttercream isn't completely smooth, you will want to make the fondant on the slighlty thicker side to mask those imperfections (definitely no thicker than 1/4"). Tranfer the rolled fondant onto the cake using a rolling pin and gently lay over the cake. Working quickly, smooth the fondant all over the cake using your hands and/or fondant smoothers (I use Wilton Easy Glide Fondant Smoother), working from the top down. Trim the excess fondant from the bottom of the cake using a small sharp knife. Smooth rough edges with a small palette knife. Chill for at least 1 hour.
7. Take selected lustre dust powders and tap small amount into a paint palette or small ramekins. Add a few drops of clear lemon or vanilla extract and blend with small paintbrush. *You can not use water. You can use clear alcohol, such as vodka, as it evaporates when dry. Once your liquid is added, you now have...edible paint! You will need a paintbrush designated for each colour.
8. Remove cake from refrigerator. The fondant may "sweat" a little, which causes it to be a bit tacky at first, but as long as your home isn't extremely humid, this will evaporate fairly quickly and be ready for painting.
9. Let the child (0r, ahem, yourself) paint until their heart's content.
Other colourful ideas:
1. Make mini cakes, say 4" rounds, and let each child at a birthday party paint their own, then pack it up for them to take home as their "loot bag," to show their parents.
2. Create an entire party around the painting theme. Art parties are so popular right now, and for good reason. They are awesome!
3. You could make these cookies as party favours.
4. You could create this rainbow cake for the inside of the painted cakes, for a real hit of colour.
5. You could create a mix of colouring and painting sweets for a party using the Americolor Food Marker Writers- 10 Color Pack + edible paints.
Good luck & enjoy!
Love, Rosie xo