Monday, July 5, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

This week, BWD bakes Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake (pages 264-5), chosen by BWD founder Grapefruit.

I realised as I was preparing to bake this that this cake was really simple to make, and although the measurements were different, the steps were exactly the same as the brownies I made last weekend. One addition to the recipe this time was light corn syrup, which I did not have any!! And I couldn't find it at my regular baking supplies store either. So, I had to improvise and made my own, using the recipe I found here.

I halved the recipe and baked it in a cute four-inch cake pan, and got a tall, fluffy, mini cake. I did not expect the cake to rise double the height of the batter, but was glad it did as I love tall cakes. 

The challenge was in making the caramel sauce!! I've made caramel a few times before, but was still intimidated this time around. In the book Dorie warned not to halve the caramel recipe, as it would be tricky to deal with the small amount of sugar...but I went ahead and made a quarter of the topping. Turns out, I DID have hiccups making the caramel... the amount of sugar was too little to turn into a nice liquid substance. My topping was more like peanut toffee!! So I quickly added a bit more sugar, butter and water..waiting for the liquid to turn amber on the stove. As soon as I had the right color (almost!), I added peanuts and spread it on the cake.

And you know caramel hardened as I was photographing it. Like toffee!! It was quite a challenge to cut the cake.. as you can see, I don't have a sliced photo of the cake :( I would have loved to try making another round of caramel and giving it a go until I get it right, except I made this at 11pm on Sunday after a weekend of activities. And although technically I have another night to give it a go before posting this, I can't afford to as I'm going out of town for work tomorrow. I do, in all seriousness feel like a failure. Sigh.

I went ahead and carefully cut the cake... hey, I needed to taste the cake so I can write about it here, right? Still slightly warm... it was very fluffy and slightly dry-ish. But I bet it'll taste different at room temperature, and better yet tomorrow, as all cakes do. By the way, the caramel was supposed to seep through the cake to make it moist... errr... no luck with my caramel, I suppose!! Lesson learnt: never leave baking challenges to the last minute!!

Thanks, Grapefruit for picking this recipe - the recipe is posted on her blog here. I am excited to see the BWD bakers' version of this recipe. Take a peek here.


  1. You can't feel like a failure. That caramel looks delicious. It certainly has more color than mine and is thicker. Have a good week traveling.

  2. Yes, please don't feel like a failure! It looks so pretty, I wouldn't have been able to tell unless I read the whole story behind your caramel! I think the only thing that went wrong was that you halved the recipe - and you can always try again!
    Love your photos, as always!

  3. Chaya: I ended up cutting the caramel into pieces of peanut toffee :)

    Grapefruit: I was pretty excited after pouring the caramel onto the cake... and then I had to cut it and I can't!! yup.. should have heeded Dorie's advice not to halve the caramel recipe... and there I went making just a quarter!! :)

  4. Dearest,
    in all earnesty it looks beautiful :) like a dream snicker bar. Must be delicious

  5. redha: next time I know how to make peanut toffee!! Caramel... I still need to practice :) hehe... thanks for always having the kindest words and the best compliments for my bakes :)

  6. I am so sorry you feel like a failure over this. Making caramel is *tricky*. And, really, I would not have know if it wasn't for your entry!

    The photos are so lovely! And, actually, peanut toffee sounds yummy!

  7. Elizabeth: thanks for your comments..I'm over the 'failure' mode already :D one fine day, I will pick up the courage to try making caramel again :)

    I'm hopping over to your blog to see yours now!