I missed last week due to being excessively busy. I wasn't going to miss this week. This week's recipe is Caramel Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake. Picked by Tammy at Wee Treats by Tammy.
I'd never made caramel before, so I was excited. I got started late (Monday night at 9pm). I knew I could get it all done in time! Except ... oops ... "cool to room temperature". Maybe I'll be a little late on this one. (it's still Tuesday as I post this)
I knew I needed some bitter-sweet chocolate. And I knew that was going to be the hardest ingredient to find in this town. Fortunately, I got lucky. The first place I went had it. Naturally, they'd have baking chocolate ... they are both a baking supply store and a cake bakery. They use what they sell. Their cakes are good!
Running down the list of ingredients, I notice that we're out of eggs ... again. By All That Festers In Dank Places ... how do we manage to run out of eggs over and over and over? Nevermind, we do.
Fortunately, the little sari sari store next to us was open and had eggs in stock. Whew. Problem averted.
I was also leery of using the "heavy cream" that was available in town. It's a strange, very, very white thick mixture of dairy, soy proteins, and emulsifiers. Made to live here and work. It did work in the caramel. So, I guess all is good.
It turned out well and I'm planning to make a second so that everyone can have their fill.
So very, very easy. Melt the chocolate and butter. Whisk together the eggs and sugars. Then, whisk in the vanilla and corn syrup. When all is incorporated nicely, whisk in the melted butter and chocolate (it had cooled enough, I didn't even have to temper it).
Then, still with a whisk, mix in the dry ingredients. Done! ... with the cake. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes at 350F (175C). Check for completion as one always does (thin knife or toothpick) with cakes and brownies.
Making caramel was easy. I thought I was going to completely screw it up. Turns out, I'd watched enough episodes of Good Eats that I didn't fail on my first try. I'd never made caramel before, so I was worried. The result was very good. I realized only after I finished it that I could have whipped out my Alton Brown-like infrared thermometer with aiming laser ... and checked the caramel's progress with something accurate ... like numbers. Next time.
Once the cake is done, let it cool to room temperature. Take it out of the spring form, clean the spring form, and put the cake back in. You use the sides to hold in the caramel and sugar while they cool. Spoon the caramel-covered peanuts onto the top of the cake. Then, pour caramel over to cover.
Let cool ... devour.
Note: As with a couple of previous recipes, the cooking time was significantly different from what the book said. The book called for 40 to 45 minutes, my cake was done at 30 minutes. So, if you're playing along at home ... check and check again. Some of these recipes have listed times that just don't seem right.
This didn't make a very large cake. So, there wasn't a lot to go around.
Primary Test Group: Marasa! Oh, this is so great!
Test Group C: This cake is dangerous. It is so bad for me. Do you have more?
Test Group M: Skipped because he doesn't like sweets or chocolate cakes much.
Thicker caramel, thicker cake. Next time I make this, and I will, I'm going to make sure that the caramel is heated to the point where it will solidify when brought back down to room temperature.
I like the basic chocolate and caramel combination. The topping could be something besides peanuts. Perhaps walnuts? Not sure.
Definite winner. Make again without question.