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.

64 comments:

Engineer Baker said...

Awesome pick, it was definitely on my to-bake list for a long time. I'm glad I had patience with the caramel, even though I now have burn marks on my new pot :) The flavor was totally worth it.

BAKE-EN said...

Great choice! I love how your cakes look cupcake size, very cute.

CB said...

Awesome pick Tammy! I am in love with that caramel while hubs loved the brownie cake. Its a win-win in my house!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

steph- whisk/spoon said...

thanks for the pick--we loved it! yours looks great...glad you got your perfect caramel! and cupcake-size is just the right size for these!

Food.Baby said...

I had the same problem with the caramel but it was still absolutely delicious! Great choice Tammy! :)

rainbowbrown said...

The cupcake size is really nifty. I loved this pick, thanks!

ITP Foodie/Joh103 said...

Great choice!!! Your cupcakes are adorable!

Isabelle said...

super sélection Tammy :) ce gâteau est l'un des plus décadents que j'ai mangés !

The Food Librarian said...

Great choice! It was so much fun to make this one and I think everyone learned a lot about caramel. Your cupcakes look soooo cute!

Erin said...

Thanks for such a wonderful selection! I have been wanting to make this for a long time, so I'm glad I finally got my chance. Yours looks wonderful!

Rachel said...

Great pick! It was so delicious and fun to make, too. Thanks Tammy!!

Amanda said...

I'm new to TWD and plan to make this tomorrow. Wish me luck! I read everyone's comments on the TWD blog and am glad I did. I feel more prepared about the carmel sauce now and hope this works!

Rigby said...

This was an awesome chocolate cake! I had a little trouble with the caramel sauce myself...I may have to try again :) Wonderful recipe pick for this week!

Di said...

Great choice, Tammy! I particularly liked the topping on the cake (though I substituted pecans for the peanuts).

Rebecca said...

Ohhh, this was so good. I couldn't stop picking at the caramel-covered peanuts as they slid onto the cake plate. A keeper!

Katrina said...

Great pick. Just finished posting my FIRST TWD post about this so yummy cake! Thanks for picking it. Your little cakes look so cute and GOOD!

Linda said...

Thanks for make a great selection Tammy! The caramel sauce is definitely worth the trouble, and your individual cakes turned out adorable.

SUGAR BETTY said...

Looks good to me! Thanks for the pick, Tammy! It was a sexy recipe! ;)

Jaime said...

thanks for a great pick! i loved this one :) plus i loved that it was a very photogenic dessert ;)

your mini version is too cute!

Marie said...

Thanks so much for choosing this recipe this week Tammy. Although I adapted the cake bit to our own tastes I really enjoyed having the opportunity to make caramel again! Your little baby cakes look fabulous! Just the perfect bite full!

Deb said...

Yum Tammy. I have eyed this one in the past. Caramel and choccie...mmmm

Kimberly Johnson said...

Thanks for the great pick! Your caramel sauce looks wonderful and it was great idea to make them into cupcakes! I may have to try mini cupcakes! YUM!

LyB said...

I was surprised at how easy this cake was, as it looks quite impressive. Your cupcakes look fabulous. Great pick! :)

Andrea said...

Tammy, a great pick! I love reading blogs from this side of the pond and gave you an award that you can see on my blog.

Jen said...

Great pick Tammy and what a great idea to make cupcakes! I'll try that next time I make this. SOOO good!! Thanks so much!

Mary Ann said...

Greak pick and it looks beautiful! Thanks for choosing a crowd pleaser!

Piggy said...

Thanks for choosing the recipe! my hubby loves it and I couldn't resist the peanuts with caramel. :-)

Jodie said...

Great pick!

chocolatechic said...

Super pick.

Thanks so much.

Marthe said...

Jum, it looks delicious!! A great pick!! Looking forward to trying to make it tonight!

Peggy said...

great choice and I was pumped to try it. I messed up a bit with the caramel, but I will definitely try again! Thanks.

USA Kiwi (aka Kylee) said...

WOW - I'm so excited to see a fellow Kiwi around the food blogs! You have NO idea.

I'm from Auckland too, but live in the USA now with my hubby.

I have the Edmonds cookbook too, and the microwave version as well.

Good times!

Carla said...

I love the cupcake idea! Kinda like a Snickers cupcake :) Thanks for the awesome pick! I wasn't a huge fan, but my family sure was.

Anali said...

I loved the interview on TWD and your cake looks awesome! ; )

Teanna said...

LOVE YOU for picking this cake! Absolutely awesome! And now we all know how to make caramel from scratch!

Flourchild said...

I love your choice..thanks! YOur cakes look great and very tasty.

Qataria said...

Your cupcakes are lovely!
Thanks for the great pick!

pinkstripes said...

Yum! Your cupcakes look delicious. The key to this is the caramel and it looks like you perfected it.

Thanks for your pick this week!

Amanda said...

I did it! Thank you Tammy for a great pick this week! This was my first week and I just posted my results :) it's delicious!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

This was a crowd-pleaser! Thanks for the pick.

Melissa said...

I love this pick! It was not only delicious, but pretty too! Your little cupcakes look to die for. Hope everyone at work enjoyed this!

Sarah said...

Great pick! Your caramel looks like it turned out great!

Barbara said...

Thanks for picking this recipe -- I got to make caramel for the first time ever!

kim said...

wonderful pick, tammy!! this was so delicious :) i admire your dedication in making it a 2nd time -- the cupcakes are so cute!

Nickki said...

This cake is absolutely amazing!! Thank you so much for choosing this. Your pictures are gorgeous :)

Rachel said...

Great choice! I had a caramel disaster, too, but I think you've inspired me to give it another try!

Prudy said...

Your tops in my book! We loved it.

Carol Peterman said...

I love your pick because I don't think I would have made it on my own, and it was fantastic! The mini cupcakes look great.

Fit Chick said...

Sorry I had you mixed up with Clara, I have changed my post. I like your idea of making cupcakes with the topping, yum! Great pick and I will be making it again.

Susie Homemaker said...

Cool pick!! I really really enjoyed this one! Yours looks soooo good.
Thanks!

Pamela said...

Tammy-
It's taken me all day to get here to let you know how much I enjoyed this one! It's been on my list of "I MUST MAKE THIS" for quite some time. Even though I wsan't hugely successful with the caramel, I still loved it! I will try the caramel again. Your cupcake looks wonderful!

Natalie said...

don't thank me, thank you! great choice. i love making cupcakes and tiny loaves.. every treat is cuter when it's tiny, right?

Bakerslove said...

I have wanted to make this cake forever! Thank you for such a perfect choice! Loved making this!

Allison said...

What a great choice! Your cakes look wonderful. :)

Cakelaw said...

Looks great Tammy - I like the idea of the cupcakes in particular. This was my first TWD, and I was nervous about the caramel, particularly as at the 10 minute mark, it was still very pale and insipid. However, I fought my initial panic, let it sit for a bit longer and va va voom - ooey gooey dark caramel. Yum! Loved this recipe choice.

Mike Spoodles said...

Way to go for having the wherewithal to actually give it a second go. Thanks for the pick--this is one of my favorites yet!

Laura said...

We all enjoyed your pick so much Tammy! Your little cupcake are adorable - such a cute idea!

Rhiani said...

Perfect choice Tammy - it got rave reviews at work and at home. And as far as I'm concerned you can't go wrong with chocolate :)

I love your mini version of the cakes - wish I had thought of that, it may have made transport to work a little easier!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Oh I have to make those cupcakes - they look totally scrumptious! Thanks for a lovely pick.

confectiona said...

I love the way your little cupcakes look. Why is it that everything looks better in miniature?

karen said...

thanks for the pick, tammy! it was quite the learning experience for me this week. :)

27Susans said...

Hi Tammy,

Lawyers love chocolate!! I didn't have much success with the cake (dry) so I skipped the caramel. But I turned my cake into the base for mini chocolate tortes that were incredibly delicious. So thank you for sending me into the kitchen to bake a chocolate cake.

craftyjuicebroker said...

Great pick! This was my first Tuesday and I had a great time making this recipe!

Cherie
*Weekly Giveaways on my blog!
http://www.craftyjuicebroker.wordpress.com

*Sale in my Etsy Store!
http://www.craftyjuicebroker.etsy.com

n.o.e said...

Wow, love the minis! Perfection on a plate. Your pick was just right for the rotation and really helped me grow as a baker. Boy, I would never have made caramel (and may never again...) but I'm glad I had the experience.
Nancy