Friday, February 13, 2009
Happy Valetine's Day! (Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake )
Valetine's Day screams chocolate. It helps that I consider chocolate a major food group. Add caramel and nuts, oh my!
In October, the Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) group made the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie which was picked by Tammy at Wee Treats. From the day I saw all the pictures of everyone's creations, I knew I wanted to make this. I was waiting for the right occasion and I though what is better than Valentine's Day.
Instead of making it in a spring form pan, I decide to make it heart shaped. I have several heart shaped pans (remember, I love Nordic Ware) and I try to put them to good use on Valentine's day. I doubled the recipe and it made a bit more batter than I needed. I think one and a half of the batter would be enough to fill the heart shaped pan. The extra batter was used in a smaller heart bundt pan and I froze it for one day when we need an extra treat but I don't have time to bake.
for the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coffee extract
1 tbsp espresso
for the topping:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts
butter a 8 inch springform pan. line bottom of pan with parchment paper. butter and cocoa powder over the parchment. put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
to make the cake:
sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.
melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler. stir occasionally. take off heat just before all the chocolate is melted. whisk again.
in a large bowl beat the eggs and sugars together until well blended. add in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla, espresso and coffee extract.
slowly add in the melted butter and chocolate. gently fold 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 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center 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 center.
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.
20 minutes before serving 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 will have extra caramel leftover to use on something else - like ice cream! you'll have a layer about ¼ inch high. allow the topping to set to room temperature.
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.