Sunday, October 9, 2011

Caramel Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

I've been eyeballing this cake for awhile now. Ever since I got Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Baking: From My Home To Yours, I knew this was one recipe I had to make. My birthday was this past week and I had planned to make it for our supper that night, but then our youngest got sick and I knew there was just no way I would be able to get this accomplished so it had to wait until this weekend. It was definitely worth the wait!

The brownie base will sink a little after baking, no worries though! This is perfect so that it can hold more of that delicious caramel topping.

I started to get a little intimidated during the cooking process of the caramel and it wasn't until the second time that I finally got it right. I took the sugar mixture off a little too early, before it turned the dark amber color I wanted so I ended up with a light caramel that didn't provide the flavor I was looking for. I finally succeeded the second time around though and ended up with this perfect    caramel-peanut topping I was wanting!

This dessert takes a little more time and effort than others but I highly encourage you to give it a try. You'll love hearing the "oohs' and "Yum!" when you present this in front of your guests!

Caramel Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup peanuts (I used honey roasted)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round springform pan, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line bottom of pan with piece of parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet with a silicone mat.

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put butter and chocolate in the bowl and heat, stirring occassionally, until the ingredients are just melted. (You don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates). Remove bowl from heat.

In large bowl, whisk eggs and sugars together until well blended. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by vanilla. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Still working with the whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You will have a thick, smooth, shiny batter. Pour batter into pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.

Bake cake for 45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into center comes out almost clean (You might find some moist crumbs clinging to the blade). Transfer pan to a rack and cool cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and pan and remove sides of pan. Cool cake to room temp. When cake is cool, invert it and remove base of the pan and peel off paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, return cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.

To make topping: Put 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,10 minutes, depending on the size of your saucepan and the intensity of the heat. To test the color of the caramel, drop a bit on a white plate. Lower the heat a little and add the cream and butter (the caramel will bubble and spatter). Stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Stir in the peanuts, and pour caramel mixture into a heatproof bowl.

Spoon the caramel and peanut mixture onto the cake, you've probably got more caramel then you need so you can set the extra aside. Allow topping to set at room temp for about 20 mins before serving.

Source: Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours

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