Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake (TWD)


This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy: Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake. I've been wanting to make this cake ever since I got the cookbook because there is the most drool worthy picture of it in the book.


Chocolate cake topped with gooey caramel and peanuts. What's not to love? Well, the nuts actually. I don't like nuts but I will eat peanuts in things like Snickers bars, so I figured this would be similar and I would probably like it. So instead of omitting the nuts like I do with most recipes, I decided to go ahead and use the nuts.



I actually liked the nuts on this cake. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with several of the people to whom I served this cake. Everyone agreed that the cake itself was delicious, as was the gooey caramel, but several picked the nuts off of it. I guess you can't please everyone!


The biggest problem most TWD bakers seemed to have with this recipe was with the caramel. There's a very fine line between golden amber, delicious caramel and dark amber, bitter and burnt tasting caramel. For the most part, I think a lot of us found that it took much longer than the recommended 10 minutes for the sugar to caramelize - probably closer to 15 minutes. Just keep a very close eye on it as it starts to change color and if you aren't sure, remove it from the heat while you are trying to decide. Those few seconds while you are trying to make up your mind might be the critical juncture where the sugar changes from caramelized to burnt ;) (Dorie's tip to drop a bit on a white plate to check the color works well, too.)


My cake sank quite a bit in the center after I removed it from the oven. This resulted in a pool of caramel and nuts in the middle of the cake. The caramel peanut topping thickened and partially set as it cooled, but did not ever become completely set. So after cutting into the cake, all the topping just spilled into the space where the missing slice was taken. I wouldn't recommend cutting into this cake until you are ready serve because of this. It's not a huge problem, but it's kind of messy having to scoop up all the nuts and caramel on to the adjacent pieces when you're serving them.


One last thing - the recipe calls for lining your springform pan with parchment or wax paper. If you're sick of tracing circles and working so carefully to cut them out, make sure you check out my tips on a much easier way to accomplish this here.


Thanks Tammy, for choosing this scrumptious cake. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you visit the TWD Blog Roll to see how everyone else enjoyed their gooey little treats!

*A few recipe notes:
- I used a 9" springform pan (instead of 8") and the cake was not too thin.
- I used salted butter and omitted the salt from the recipe.
- I used semisweet chocolate chips instead of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate.
- I used honey roasted peanuts instead of salted peanuts. I also used an extra 1/4 cup since my cake was larger, 9" in diameter instead of 8".
- It's okay to top the cake with the caramel and nuts well in advance of serving. I topped my cake the night before and then brought it into work the next day. Wrapped, the cake will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.
- The cake itself, without the topping, can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.
- For more recipe tips, click here.


48 comments:

  1. OMG, that looks divine. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Yours looks fabulous! I liked the dip in the center - pools of caramel are never a problem, right? I thought the peanuts were wonderful in this.

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  3. So glad that this cake converted you on the caramel-peanut combination! Mine cratered in the center too but I even things out by adding alot of caramel. Can't go wrong with more right? Love your fork pictures!
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

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  4. That looks gorgeous, I wish mine had turned out so well!

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  5. OMG, this looks delicious!! I haven't made this cake yet, was too busy this weekend and had school last night so I came home after midnight. So I still have to make this tonight!

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  6. Oh my, I'm sure I've piled on 2lbs just from looking.

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  7. Pool of nutty caramel goodness??

    I'll just eat the center.

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  8. wow I m drooling and I usually don t like caramel. This is an exception :)

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  9. Your cake is beautiful!! I love the caramel topping!

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  10. Your pictures are a torture to me!! Can something be better than that? Oh my.... I am drooling like a cow!!!

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  11. I think a lot of peoples cakes sank a bit in the middle. Even with a little crater-age it looks delicious!

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  12. Talk about gorgeous Jamie! I am loving this!

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  13. I love your "recipe notes"!
    Nice pics btw!

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  14. You are right, What's not to love? Your cake turned out so beautiful I'm drooling right now!

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  15. MMM, mmm, looks wonderful! I also made the cake, hope you can check it out!

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  16. Those pictures are just too much. Too much! Nice work.

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  17. Lovely! Your caramel is perfect!

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  18. Great pictures! Your cake looks SOO good. . . I need to find an excuse to make this!

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  19. I also used a 9" springform pan and had the same cratering problems! Thanks for sharing the tip about creating parchment paper rounds - can't wait to try it!

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  20. This looks delicious! I love your pictures. From reading the posts, I think everyone was waiting to be able to make this!

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  21. Your caramel looks absolutely delicious. Nice job!

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  22. Beautiful photos! Mine was a bit of a disaster so I think I'll just stare at yours instead...

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  23. that looks delicious and so yummy! that caramel looks perfect.

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  24. your photos are stunning! thanks for making my pick!

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  25. I love how shiny your caramel is. Gorgeous!Sorry the nuts weren't a hit. I'm in the opposite camp and was actually tempted to use more kinds of nuts for a double thick layer.

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  26. You photos looks SO good. We enjoyed the cake here, but my husband did think the salted peanuts made it too salty for his liking. I could just keep eating the peanuts and caramel. Love it. Yours really looks good!

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  27. Yum! I thought about using honey roasted nuts, too. But I forgot about them as I was making the caramel a second time! Looks wonderful here, though.

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  28. Your pictures are great! Love the dripping caramel!

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  29. Honey roasted nuts! That sounds sooooo good. As always, great photos and post!

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  30. Oh yeah, your pics are drool-worthy alright! LOL

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  31. Those photos are insanely gorgeous! And I LOVE your tips on cutting out parchment paper! I am saving that!!

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  32. glad you enjoyed the cake! yours looks so delicious and decadent! :) honey roasted peanuts sound tasty.

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  33. a sunken cake just means a pool of caramel, which would make me very happy. as usual, your pictures are stellar. :)

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  34. Beautiful pictures and beautiful cake....my 9 year old is checking out the cakes with me and he gives his approval!!!!

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  35. yum! Your cake looks so delicious! Great job!

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  36. looks gooey and good! you can send all those picked off caramel nuts my way! :)

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  37. Yeah, caramel can give quite a few people a run for their money. You just eventually get use to it.
    Looks great.

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  38. HI jaime
    simply stunning pictures....first time and immedialtely i was drawn to your posts..they are so interesting.

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  39. Wonderful looking cake! I love it.

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  40. You're so right about there being a fine line with the caramel. On mine, I was literally gone for 10 seconds and that was the difference between OK and starting-to-burn.

    Anyway, yours looks FANTASTIC! wow, I might have to try this again if there's hope it will turn out like yours :)

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  41. Your notes are so true. I found that fine caramel line was just about crossed. The topping on its own was a tad bitter but on the cake tasted fine. True that it was fine to top ahead of time. Great shots!

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  42. I'm drooling over your gorgeous pictures!

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  43. Your pictures of this cake are drool worthy! Just look at that gooey caramely goodness.

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  44. your cake looks delicious! you have so many great tips...and I was one whose caramel came out bitter...yuck. better luck next time!

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  45. Thanks for all the helpful hints. This cake is super delicious and I will need a black and bitter cup of coffee to wash all that sweetness away!Good job!

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