Dorie Greenspan’s Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake should come with a warning. Something like, “WARNING: Eating caramel-peanut topping pulled from cake may result in muffin-top and/or spontaneous appearance of third buttock.”

It’s not that this is a decadent cake. If the caramel-peanut topping were a designer dress, the brownie cake would be its anatomically-vague, department store mannequin. It’s plain. And the dip in its center looks like a mistake, but it’s there for a purpose: to keep the topping from sliding off.

Once you remove the first slice, an avalanche of sticky gooey crunchy goodness starts sliding in to fill the gap. And it is HARD not to grab a spoon and start cleaning the plate a little. OK, a lot. A filthy gluttonous lot.

Now, I’m thinking that if Dorie had ever tried a Goo-Goo Cluster, she would have added a layer of marshmallow fluff between the cake and the topping. Note to self: OMG!

Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”

    Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Topping:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  1. Butter and flour a 8-inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. For the Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended.
  5. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla.
  6. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate.
  7. Gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter. Bake the cake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Transfer the pan to a rack, and cool the cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan.
  9. When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan, and peel off the paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.
  10. For the Topping: Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber, 5-10 minutes.
  11. 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.
  12. Stir in the peanuts, and pour the caramel and peanuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or heat-proof bowl.
  13. Spoon the peanuts on top of the cake. Then spoon the caramel on top of those. Let the topping set to room temperature, about 20 minutes before serving.
  14. To serve, run a blunt knife between the caramel and the pan and simply remove the sides of the springform. If this isn’t the case, hit the sides with some hot air from a hairdryer or wrap the sides in a towel moistened with hot water.