Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

Let me tell you about my baking disaster of the week. Our recipe challenge this week was Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake chosen by Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy. Chocolate, caramel and peanuts. What could be better than that? My BFF at work is having a birthday this week and so I thought I would make this for her. Have you ever noticed when you really really want something to be wonderful and perfect, well that is the very time you will mess it up! First, I made the cake batter and all was going great. Until I poured it into the springform pan and then realized that my pan was not an eight inch pan, but probably more like ten or twelve. I knew it would not work in that so I got out a regular eight inch cake pan and moved the batter into that pan. Okay - I wasn't thinking clearly apparently. Please don't boot me out of TWD! The cake baked in record time and came right out of the pan. It wasn't quite as thick as I had hoped for, but it is a brownie cake after all and not supposed to be a tall tower. Here it is before the topping!

Apparently, God did not intend for me to make caramel in this lifetime. Started making the caramel and that's when the real trouble began. I had several things going on in the kitchen at once. I had the caramel on the stove and it was cooking very nicely all by itself. It was taking a while to turn amber however. So I turned my back just for like two minutes to the sink to put a pan in to soak, and hubs yelled and said, whoa this stuff is turning brown! By the time I stepped the three feet back to the stove, there was a horrible burnt smell coming from my precious caramel. I was so disappointed. I left it in the pan while I finished cooking my dinner and then the caramel had hardened in my pan and I thought I would never be able to dig all that hard gunk out! A soak in the sink worked pretty well though.

If at first you don't succeed, start over! New pan and new ingredients. This time I watched the caramel boil in the pan for over ten minutes and it never turned amber. Since I was gun shy this time, I probably took it off the stove a bit soon. It tasted delicious right after making it, but a day later it looks like it turned back to sugar. Next time, I think I'll depend on dear old Kraft caramels to bail me out.

I did give it to my BFF, but the cake itself was just not good. Thank goodness I had card and gifts in hand as well. The cake was dry and the caramel too sugary. I wanted to love this cake so much, that I am going to try it again and again and again until I get it right! Happy Birthday to friend. You deserve so much better!

Hear ye, hear ye. Newsflash! Hubs and I have decided to re-do a bit of our kitchen in order to gain more countertop. So here's the drill. I need your help in choosing the granite for my countertops. I have bisque colored cabinets and taupe tiled backsplash and taupe floors. I have black accents. So I'm thinking black countertops for drama, right? Then I see this slab of a sort of chocolate color at the granite store with black flecks in it and I thought, hmmm. . . .maybe this would be better than the black. Let me know what you think. Here are my samples. The first is Ubatuba and the second is Tropic Taz.

28 comments:

Engineer Baker said...

I'm going to vote for dramatic black countertops and commence in countertop envy, if you don't mind :) Too bad about how the cake turned out, but hopefully next week will be better.

Maci said...

I had trouble with my caramel too! I didn't have time to make more, so I just ate mine with ice cream instead.

Flourchild said...

I like the second tile picture...black is nice but I don't know something about the second one..I like! ..Im so glad I did not try the caramel topping..everyone seemed to have troubles!

Amanda said...

I like the Ubatuba. I think the cake looked fabulous!! I'm sure it tasted great, too!

Cathy said...

I love them both but I'm leaning towards ubatuba -- remember, you need to match not only your cabinets and backsplash, but your red kitchenaid. I think as long as the subpar cake was made with love, it's a fine gift! Mine was a trainwreck too. I guess we need the debacle weeks to truly appreciate when things go right.

Jamie said...

I gosh, I am so sorry you had such trouble with the caramel! If it means anything, it looks good! :)

Andrea said...

I'm liking the Tropic Taz countertops best, but both look great. We are very slowly remodeling our kitchen and I can't wait to pick out countertops! Sorry you had not so perfect results with this cake as well. How sweet of you to make it for a friend at work though! It's the thought that counts. I'm amazed at the different responses to this cake I am reading, we all made the same recipe, right? Mine was way too dry too and the caramel was off. Oh-well. On to the next TWD challenge :)

pinkstripes said...

re: granite. I would go with the lighter color. Granite that is closer to black tends to show more dust and mess. Which doesn't matter if your a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning every speck, I know I'm not.

re: brownie cake. Your cake looks yummy, I'm sorry it didn't work out.

Marie said...

Your cake looks fabulous and I Love the dark granite!!! Lucky you!!!

Pamela said...

Looks like we had the same experience with the caramel. Although I didn't have any burning caramel incidents, I did have a lot of caramel that turned back to sugar. What a PITA!!

Granite: I love the 2nd choice. I would love to have black, but that other one is so warm and inviting. Good luck! I am SO jealous!

Prudy said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about your caramel and cake. I'm glad I wasn't the only one with kitchen woes this week. I like both those choices but I think maybe the lighter one is calling my name just a smidge more.

Isa said...

I'm sorry it didn't turn out the way you wanted it, but good for you too keep trying until getting it right!

LyB said...

It is a bit daunting to make caramel for the first time but once you get the hang of it, you'll never go back to store-bought! Hope next week is better for you. :)

Tammy said...

I had to make the cake twice to get it right, and I vote black for your bench! we have just started building a new house - I am going white quartz bench tops

TeaLady said...

BAking is always a learning experience. I learned early what not to bake. Maybe caramel is yours. Glad you liked the cake tho.

The Food Librarian said...

Oh, new countertops! I'm jealous. I like the black. The caramel is troublesome, but worth one more try another day. Everything does look good and I'm sure your friend was touched by your efforts!

Marthe said...

Hmmmm.... my vote goes to the black one!!
My caramel turned out to be about the same colour as yours.

SweetBoy said...

I like the Ubatuba stone colour.

As for your cake,. I know how frustrating it can be when you try for perfection. But your positive attitude trumps the cake. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

At least your caramel was edible--and it looks good! I had to throw mine out. Oh well...there's always next week. Your new countertops are going to be so pretty--I think I like Tropic Taz but both are nice.

Di said...

It sounds like lots of us had caramel challenges this time around. =) Good for you to make it twice. Sorry it still didn't turn out the way you'd hoped.

natalia said...

Ciao ! I almost burned my caramel too ! It was still ok though ! It seems to take forever and in a second it is too much ! I like both...

Jacque said...

Aaah, it seems there were many caramel disasters throughout the blogosphere this week. You're not alone :)

Way to see it through though.

I like the lighter countertop.

Jules Someone said...

Caramel is definitely tricky.

Watch out for water stains on dark countertops. We have it in our bathroom, and I hate it.

Natashya said...

I like the black!!
Ok, on to the caramel - mine took about 20 minutes. As soon as it was amber I took it off the stove and added the cream and butter which I had together in a measure glass. I was happy that I took it off the stove as it continued to deepen in colour.
I had been building up to this and watching chefs make caramel on tv.
I would give it another try one day - when you have nothing else on the go. You will feel proud when you master it, I guarantee.
:)

carmencooks said...

Aww, sorry you didn't like the cake!! I think a lot of ppl had trouble with the caramel but I was just lucky to get it! I've never made it before. I think what would also work is using canned dulce de leche for a shortcut!

Lauren said...

Basic black always classic. Sorry about your cake

Sandy Smith said...

Don't give up on the caramel - it's just one of those things that takes a little practice . . . like yeast bread or parallel parking!

I like the dramatic black - and I'm jealous (for the record); I have tiled countertops and I can't wait to replace them! Tired of seams in my piecrusts!! Enjoy your new kitchen upgrade!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Caramel is a beast and throws a tantrum when you turn your back! Good luck with it next time!