Tuesday, October 7, 2008
TWD - My Pick! Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake
Well, this week is my turn to pick the TWD recipe! I can’t believe how quickly my turn has come around. Like most TWDers I have been thinking for a long time about what I would pick when it came to MY TURN. I wanted to do something that I thought I would love and I was also keen to do the kind of thing that we hadn’t baked in a while. The caramel and peanut topped brownie cake seemed like the perfect pick for me. I actually ended making this cake twice – only because the first time was a failure and I am not one to let things beat me!!
I decided to make the cake to take into work to celebrate my second anniversary of becoming a partner, so I made it in a 20cm square tin for ease of slicing. The cake baked perfectly – my mishap was with the caramel topping. I was well aware, having made caramel before, that the syrup does have to go quite dark to get the toffee effect, but for some reason making this caramel sauce, I got all nervous (probably because I wanted it to be perfect seeing as this was my pick!) and I didn’t let the caramel go for long enough and so my sauce was this pale insipid thing! I then did something even more dumb and added golden syrup to try and deepen the colour. Big mistake! All that did was disturb the sugar ratio and my beautiful caramel sauce crystallised. I still added the peanuts. However, the layer of caramel sauce on my cake became more like a sugary Russian fudge – still yummy but not what I wanted!
Second time round, I made only 1/3 of the recipe and made the cake into little cupcakes. The cakes were fudgey, the caramel the perfect consistency and colour and the peanuts offered the perfect slightly salty crunch. My photos don’t quite capture the amount of gooey caramelness, but it was gorgeous. In the end I was delighted by my choice!
See what the other TWDers thought of my choice here and find the recipe below, but if you haven’t you definitely should consider buying the book!
I also want to take the opportunity to give a huge thank you to Laurie and the TWD team for the HUGE effort they put in to make this such a fun event with that great “family” feel!!
Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake (from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 stick(8 TBSP) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 TBSP light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ TBSP light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts
Butter and flour a 8 inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate. Still working with a whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You will have a thick, smooth, shiny batter. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.
Bake the cake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out almost clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool he cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan. During baking the cake probably will have puffed to the top of the pan don’t be concerned if tit sinks a little or it if develops a crater in the centre. Cool the cake to room temperature.
When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.
To make the topping:
Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber., 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Stir in the peanuts, and pour the caramel and peanuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or heat proof bowl.
Spoon the peanuts on top of the cake. Then spoon the caramel on top of those. You’ll have a layer about ¼ inch high. Allow the topping to set to room temperature-about 20 minutes before serving.
To serve, run a blunt knife between the caramel and the pan and simply remove the sides of the springform. If this isn’t the case, hit the sides with some hot air from a hairdryer or wrap the sides in a towel moistened with hot water.