Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

I have returned from Saudi Arabia, happy, and stuffed with goodies…. or rather my suitcase stuffed with goodies……and I feel cake deprived. A slice of elegantly presented cake in restaurants does nothing for me. That one lonely slice always leaves me thinking…”That was a mouth sweetener, now WHERE is my cake??”. I need a nice good quantity of cake to make me happy. A few posts back I mentioned the lovely Dorie Greenspan cookbook(Baking: From My Home to Yours) I’d received as a surprise gift. I couldn’t get the time to bake something new so I’d been neglecting this book for a while. I opened my fresh copy yesterday and well…. I was drooling at the pictures Dorie had given of this cake. The lovely honey roasted peanuts lend a perfect icing to a moist brownie cake. c img_20140620_100549

Recipe adapted from my all time favorite. Baking:From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

 

Caramel Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

Ingredients:
For the brownie cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1½ tbsp. light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup honey roasted peanuts

 

Directions:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.  Butter an 8-inch springform pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper.  Place the springform pan on a baking sheet.

To make the cake, combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter and chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are just melted – do not let them get so hot that the butter separates.  Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until well blended.  Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla.  Add in the melted butter and chocolate mixture, and whisk until combined.  Gently whisk in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are just incorporated.  The batter should be thick, smooth and shiny.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 15 minutes, then run a thin knife between the cake and the pan and carefully remove the sides of the springform.  The cake may have puffed up during baking, but don’t be concerned if it develops a crater in the center while cooling.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  When the cake is totally cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the parchment paper.  Turn the cake right side up onto a serving platter.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring just to combine the ingredients.  Place the pan over medium-high heat.  Heat, without stirring, until the caramel turns deep amber, 5 to 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 sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.  To test the color of the caramel, drop a bit onto a white plate.  Don’t be timid about the color – if it’s too pale, it won’t have much flavor.

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 a heatproof bowl.

You will have more caramel than you need, but you want to get all of the peanuts onto the cake, so spoon all of the peanuts out of the hot caramel and onto the top of the cake.   Pour or spoon enough caramel to cover all the nuts, drizzling a bit over the edges of the cake for presentation.  Allow the topping to set at room temperature, about 20 minutes, before serving.  Keep the leftover caramel at room temperature and save for another use.

 

NOTE:

Dorie mentions that the brownie cake center will sink after baking. So we actually need our center to sink for this cake.

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FOR HONEY ROASTED PEANUTS

xxx

 

fiesta friday @ the novice gardener’s

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Tres Leches Cake

Sometime back, I made a zesty Tres Leches Mexican Flan, which is loved by almost everyone I know. In the comments section, someone asked me if I liked Tres Leches Cake (three milks cake) too? I don’t like Tres Leches cake, I adore it. It is soft,moist,smooth,creamy and best when served cold. I can polish off this lovely guy on my own, if my sisters allowed it. But unfortunately for me,not only they always want this cake but also end up with the biggest pieces.photo3730

photo3725 main 4Cake Ingredients:

  •  1- 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4  Eggs
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream

 Icing ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar

 Instructions Cake

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your cake pan.

In one bowl sift flour, salt and baking powder.

Beat eggs. Sift sugar and beat with eggs till thick and fluffy.

Slowly add the flour mixture to egg mixture, all the while keep mixing.

Add butter and milk and continue to beat until thick and creamy.

Set the cake to bake. Bake until a skewer comes out clean.

Fotor0501150143 In a separate bowl add the heavy cream,condensed milk and evaporated milk. Whisk them till uniform.

Take the cooled cake, and using a fork make many holes all over the cake.

Pour the milk mixture slowly over the whole cake.The milk may seem too much but the cake will absorb it completely after approximately 12-15 minutes.

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Finally whip the sugar and heavy cream together until soft peaks form(do not over-whip).

Slather this generously over the cake.

Decorate with cherries or chocolate balls.Being a chocaholic, I obviously chose the latter to top this lovely cake.

Keep the cake into the refrigerator. Best served cold.

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xxx

 

FIESTA FRIDAY 

Cake Doughnuts

These are the yummiest tasting, best kind of doughnuts ever. Not to mention, super easy as well. You can dust icing sugar over doughnuts, a strawberry topping or a chocolate one. Personally my favorite has always been a quick caramel-chocolate topping over these amazingly perfect doughnuts.

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Cake Doughnuts (6 doughnuts)

1 large egg, room temperature

1/3 cup  powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups  all-purpose

1 1/2  tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

2 tbsp lukewarm butter

1/4 cup milk

Caramel-Chocolate Glaze

4 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate of your choice

3 tbsp salted butter(can use unsalted as well)

4 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

4 tbsp water

Doughnuts:Instructions

Sift together the baking powder,salt and flour.In the bowl of your electric mixer(or with a hand mixer), beat the egg and sugar until creamy and yellow.  Then slowly add the flour/baking powder/salt combo.Add the lukewarm butter and milk. Mix till a soft dough forms.It will be sticky. Let the dough sit there for 10 minutes to make it smoother.

Flour your work surface generously and roll out your dough approx 1/4 inch thick with a rolling pin. Then cut out your doughnuts with a doughnut cutter. Place the doughnuts on a floured surface(room temperature) while your oil heats up.

On medium heat put in the doughnuts n a deep fryer/wok/frying pan. Deep fry the doughnuts. Initially they will sink but then will inflate and rise to the surface.  Take them out when both sides are light-brown in color. Let them cool on a paper towel while you make the glaze.

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Glaze Instructions

On low heat put the water and sugar. Let the sugar melt. Add in the cocoa powder and butter, Stir these with a spoon. Lastly add the dark chocolate and let that melt in the caramel mixture. Cool to room temperature.

Dip your doughnuts into the glaze and víola….. the doughnuts are ready to serve. Put on some sprinkles(kids love them!).

 


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xxx lo

Chocolate Wasted Cake

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For the chocolate cake I used my tried and tested, and well loved recipe for super Moist Chocolate Cake.

For My Favorite Chocolate Butter Cream, I used( To decorate 1 medium sized cake)

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter(you can also use unsalted)

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

80g milk chocolate of your choice (I used cadbury dairymilk bars)- At room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp heavy cream

How To Go About It

In a stand mixer (or a electrical hand mixer)add the butter . Mix till thick and fluffy.

Add cocoa powder and sugar. Mix on low speed to prevent sugar and cocoa from flying everywhere.

Increase speed and add the dairy milk bars,heavy cream and vanilla.

A thick creamy frosting will form.

I used a star nozzle to decorate the cake. Dusted cocoa powder at the edges of the cake. Then added three strawberries for face value! 

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xxx

 

Pink Lady Cupcakes

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For Cupcakes( 1 Dozen cupcakes)

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar (powdered)

3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

1/3 cup pureed strawberries

2 egg whites

2 tbsp milk

1 drop red food dye

Instructions For Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350»F. Place liners in a cupcake tin.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.

In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter amongst the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full.

Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes inside the tins and then transfer to wire racks until completely cooled.

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For the Strawberry Buttercream

1 sticks (1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 medium fresh strawberries, pureed (you’ll need 2 tablespoons of puree)

Instructions For  Frosting

1. In the bowl beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes using an electrical mixer(or stand mixer)

2. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the strawberry puree, mix until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and check the buttercream for taste and texture. Add in the last 1 tablespoon of strawberry puree . Please note that adding more than  2 tablespoons could result in a thinner frosting. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.

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3. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and if desired.

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xxx

Moist Chocolate Cake

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Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1/2 tbsp white vinegar in a cup then filling it half up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee  

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Fluffy Chocolate Frosting:

(Mix the following ingredients in the stand mixer and let a thick frosting form)

  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 4 oz unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 oz powdered sugar
  • 2 oz whipping cream
  • 4 oz sweetened dark chocolate(melted)

How To Go About It

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Flour and grease your baking tin.
  • In the stand mixer add all the ingredients(except coffee) and mix until a smooth batter forms.
  • Stir in the hot coffee with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter in the tin and set to bake.
  • Bake until the knife comes out clean with just a few crumbs.
  • Let the cake cool in a fridge for half an hour.
  • Smother the cake in fluffy chocolate frosting.

xxx

Basbousa: Middle Eastern Mini Cakes

           I have previously raved about how much I love middle eastern recipes. The best part about these recipes is that they don’t use many synthetic products, sauces, array of weird food colors that we’re all fond of  using in our day to day life. I first had this little arabic cake, Basbousa on my very first  flight back from Saudia Arabia many years ago. Once I knew about it, I kept seeing it time and again, and not just in Saudi Arabia but other places as well. Needless to say that I love this, since I love all things sweet and moist. I also love savory. So, I guess I love everything that goes into the mouth. Except the things toddlers tend to pick up from the floor and eat( My youngest sister is famous for having put a baby cockroach in her mouth as a toddler,she probably would have chewed it  if my mom hadn’t seen this and forced her to spit the creature out . Personally, I think this just shows her food preferences.Once a cockroach,always a cockroach)

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What You Need For The Cake

1 1/2 cup semolina flour

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup plain or Greek yogurt

1/2 cup finely shredded coconut

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 egg

Almonds

For Syrup

On Medium heat add 1/2 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar, let it simmer until sugar dissolves.

Add 1 tbsp rosewater and 1 tsp lemon juice to the sugar syrup

How to go about it

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Flour and grease the baking pan.

Sift flour,baking powder and baking soda and sugar in one bowl

Whisk egg, butter,vanilla and yogurt in another

Beat all the ingredients together and fold in shredded coconut

Add the mixture to a baking pan

Sprinkle almonds on top

Set to bake.

Right after baking,add hot syrup over this.Let the cake absorb this.

After cooling cut the cake diagonally from left to right for diamond shaped mini cakes

xxx