I finally jumped on the bandwagon and purchased Dorie's cookbook, Baking: From My Home To Yours. Wow, it is such an amazing book that is packed full of awesome looking and sounding recipes. After looking through the book in it's entirety I decided that this Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake would be the first recipe I made from the book.
The homemade caramel on the top of this cake is to die for. The mix of salty peanuts and sweet caramel really takes this brownie cake to the next level. The cake was enjoyed by all and even the pain of the burn I obtained on the tip of my middle finger, from making the caramel, won't hinder me from making this cake again. One minor problem I had with the cake was cutting it, I used a serrated knife to saw through the peanuts. It was actually quite hilarious. My advice would be to cut the cake before putting the caramel and peanut on top, so you don't have to saw through the peanuts like I did.
For the record... No, I am not planning on joining TWD. Instead I will make various recipes from the book when I want to make them. :)
Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake
Source: Baking: Form My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For The Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon 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 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 8 inch round springform pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottom of the pan with a piece parchment or wax paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
To Make The Cake
Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the butter and chocolate in the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have just melted - you don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove bowl from the heat.
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 center comes out almost clean (You might find some moist crumbs clinging to the blade). Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the cake for 15 minutes, then run a blunt 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 it 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.
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 depending on the size of your saucepan and the intensity of the heat. As the sugar is caramelizing wipe down any splatters on the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. To test the caramel drop a bit on a while plate, don't be timid about the color. If its to pale it wont have much taste.
Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan, the caramel will butter and splatter, 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.
You've probably got more caramel than you need but you want to get all the peanuts on the cake. So spoon the peanuts out of the hot caramel onto the cake. After you've done that pour or spoon on the caramel to cover all the nuts. You’ll have a layer about ¼ inch high. Allow the topping to set to room temperature-about 20 minutes before serving. Keep the leftover caramel at room temperature and then make caramel sauce. Or when it's cool, refrigerate it until you are ready to make the sauce.
At serving time, you should be able to just 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. Bring the whole cake to the table on a platter, so that you can get some "oohs."