Monday, October 6, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Caramel Topped Brownie Cake

Halloween day is the deadline to become a new member of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking club. Join in and churn out stunning desserts, like this week's assignment..... It's rare for me to find a recipe that I have no desire to tamper with, but this week Dorie hit a bullseye. Our assignment was a gorgeous brownie cake topped with salty peanuts and sticky caramel. Like a little lamb, I planned to follow the Greenspan shepherd to the sweet green pasture of baking perfection. Except I forgot to read the recipe very well. I think I was mesmerized by the puddly caramel photo. Dotty and dingy, I baked a very gorgeous deep dark rich cake---with UNsweetened chocolate, not the BITTERsweet chocolate that Dorie specified. Unmolding it perfectly onto the platter, a single crumb fell to the rim-perfect for snatching....only it wasn't perfect. It was as bitter as my disappointment.
And I had guests to impress in a few short hours and I needed a cake that was not just pretty but that actually tasted good. Important guests, too. My college friend Tanji and her husband Roger were coming for a visit from North Carolina. We hadn't seen each other in a decade, and were only recently reunited through this blog. This blog-the one that claims to have scandalously good food. How could I impress my impressive friend with a beautiful and bitter tragi-cake?
Beginning again was the solution. This time I was lightening fast, making the brownies my way-melting in the microwave, using only one mixing bowl. Admittedly, they came out of the pan not quite as pretty, but the crumb was tender and sugary. After a coating of salty nuts and gooey caramel, I was confident that the dessert would hit the bullseye I was aiming for. And it was completely sweet, both the brownies and the reunion of old friends.
For the complete recipe, click here. For my penny pinching friends, this recipe costs about $7.00-if you make it right the first time. Be sure to stock up on baking chocolate and buy a nice fat jar of salted nuts when on sale.
Since Tanji was coming, I finally had the motivation to get my mantle decorated for Fall. Maybe she should come back just before Christmas....
Coming Tomorrow:
Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels with Honey Mustard

103 comments:

Engineer Baker said...

Oh sad! Unsweetened chocolate will get you every time, won't it? It sounds like you saved everything quite well though, so congrats! It looks wonderful.

CB said...

Oh man. Bitter disappointment indeed. Glad you were able to salvage and have spend time with old friends. Isn't that what life is about? :)
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Debinhawaii said...

How frustrating! Your finished product looks great though. How cute is the ribbon on the cake stand too!?! ;-)

Nickki said...

Oh no, how maddening! Easy mistake to make though. At least you noticed the error and managed to save it in the end. The finished product looks amazing!
Would you believe I haven't even made my cake yet?! I have all the ingredients but haven't found any time to bake it! I am determined to make this either today or tomorrow though, this one looks too good to miss. :)

Cristine said...

Your cake looks gorgeous! I love your cake stand!

The Blonde Duck said...

That looks so good!

VeggieGirl said...

Ahh, sorry about the bitterness :0( But hey, the cake is still gorgeous!! :0)

gigi said...

That is such a great story, except the part about the baking turning out wrong, but then you saved the day! Thank goodness. So glad you and your friend got to see each other again. How fun for the both of you. Your mantle is perfectly fall!

Andrea said...

Sorry abou the first mishap with unsweetened chocolate! Glad you were able to get another done quickly and that you all enjoyed it! Cake and good friends, sounds perfect to me :) Your mantle looks great! Happy fall!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I knew you would be able to save the day. I know it's hard to start over after such a disappointment. Good thing your college friend was such a motivator. Your cake looks scandalously delicious!

Martha said...

The cake is so pretty. Glad you were able to come through with a good dessert after your first "bitter" disappointment.

Martha

Marthe said...

Awwww.... so many things can go wrong with this cake it seems... I must pay lots of attention when I make it tonight.
But it looks very tasty!!

Laura said...

Oh No - I hate it when I do that! So glad you had enough time to bake another one and enjoy it with your friends. Both look absolutely gorgeous Prudy! (and I love the cake stand, too!)

The Food Librarian said...

Sorry about the 'bitter' disappointment. But it must have been fun to hang out with an old friend. And the wreath looks great!!!

Grace said...

aww--hooray for good times with old friends!
meanwhile, you tickle my funny bone. excellent save. :)

Jamie said...

Looks delicious, your cake stand is autumnal! Love it!

Pamela said...

Well, that stinks that you had to make it twice. But it looks like it was worth the effort. Your cake and caramel look stunning. And I'm sure your guests enjoyed everything, especially the company!

Candy said...

Glad the second one turned out. Your mantle looks perfect for the season! I finally did the same thing this weekend.

chocolatechic said...

It looks wonderful.

So sorry about having to make it a second time...drats!

Melissa said...

Prudy, I barely believe you produced something that didn't taste good! I'm glad you were able to re-do it before your friends arrived. The cake is stunning!

Chocolate Shavings said...

This looks so delicisouly decadent!

Kirsten said...

Bummer about the chocolate mishap, but the cake looks delicious!

Mary Ann said...

How good of you to redo the whole thing! I used semi-sweet because that is all I had and Man, was it sweet! Yours looks pretty and so does your mantle! I am excited to see your whole wheat pretzels, I have been wanting to make some, but haven't had the time yet!

Maria said...

Sad about the chocolate, the cake is still gorgeous! Glad you came up with something for your friends! I am sure they appreciated it. And I love your new mantle decorations! Can't wait to see the pretzels tomorrow!

1215656559s20768 said...

I am not a member of the TWD club, but I had planned to make this EXACT recipe today for a church get together tonight. This looks SO good. A cooking friend gave me that cookbook a couple of months ago and I've had my eye on this one.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who makes boo-boo's in the kitchen.

Your mantle looks very pretty.

Peggy said...

Quite a save you made there! And your mantle looks very "fallish." I need to get busy and get my own fall decorations out. Having company really gets you moving, doesn't it?
As always, you did a great job.

April said...

Whoops! I've done that same thing before. Sounds like you made it perfect though!

Lore said...

My knees are shaking at the sight of this delicious brownie cake! A big W-O-W from me despite the bitterness

Alwayzbakin said...

Your cake looks awesome. I love love love your cake plate and your mantle.

Marjie said...

You are not alone! I did the same thing this summer - used unsweetened chocolate instead of bittersweet in a brownie cake. Like you, I had to redo it. Sad day.

Jenny said...

Yum! I know you didn't like the unsweetened chocolate, but yummy all the oozing caramel!! Love the autumn decorations too!

Pam said...

Sorry about the unsweetened chocolate. It still looks unbelievably beautiful!

Emily Rose said...

Thank goodness you noticed before you topped it with the caramel!! One time my mom made lemon cutout cookies with all kinds of lemon zest in them and...peppermint extract- she thought she had grabbed lemon- and it didn't help that she had doubled the recipe! I too made the caramel topped brownie cake and found it to be delicious!!

Cathy said...

I've got to tell you Prudy, I've been feeling totally inept in the kitchen lately. There was the brownie cake incident(s), the pumpkin muffin incident, the lasagna incident. Knowing that even Prudence Pennywise makes a kitchen mistake every now and then is just the boost I need to keep going. Way to keep your cool under pressure and whip up the perfect brownie cake in the end! I hope that you had a wonderful visit with Tanji and her hubby -- there is nothing like time with old friends.

Allie said...

I left out the sweetness not to long ago on my bread pudding I forgot the sugar all together. It ALWAYS happens when you have guest coming. I like how it looks fancy and still has to yummy goodness of a brownie.

P.S. I made your caramelized onions pear and brie crostini and it was yummy!

Jodie said...

Sad- I HATE starting over on a recipe. But I do love your decorations! Do you have time to come to my house?

Peter M said...

Oh the puns with the chocolate...I've done the same...mea culpa. The cake does look festive and I would still eat it.

Lisa said...

Glad you had time fopr the remake. Looks heavenly!

Steph said...

Isn't it weird how the times you actually bake for other people, things mess up? I'm glad you were able to whip up another one in time. I think your cake looks delicous!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

How disappointing to have a bitter cake. Good thing your persevered and came up with such a winner. It looks fabulous. Beautiful fall decorations!

rainbowbrown said...

Hooray for old friends and sweet cakes. With caramel on them. The cakes I mean.

Michal said...

oh, prudy! what a waste of those precious ingredients and time. i'm so sorry. thank goodness you had time to whip up a new batch and salvage your reputation. i'm sure that tanji would have enjoyed a good laugh over it. i'm almost surprised you didn't serve the bitter one first-- i know the practical joker side of you.
i wish it had be me coming to visit. is it wrong to be jealous that tanji got to?
and i've been contemplating tuesdays with dorie, but i'm afraid of commitment!

Paula Pereira said...

Your cake looks awesome! Rock on!

Amy said...

Darn unsweetened chocolate!! It really looks wonderful, though - and your cake plate is sooo cute!!


-Amy
www.singforyoursupperblog.com

Flourchild said...

Im glad you were able to share the cake with friends..even if the chocolate was off! I really LOVE your picture of the cake stand with the ribbon..very country looking!

Leslie said...

Prudy,
I have to make this cake. It looks delicious and I loved your cake holder with the ribbon running through it.
Chocolate, caramel and crunch. My kind of dessert.
Your house looks cute decorated for Fall. I have everything for Fall on a counter because I have nowhere else to put it. I should try the mantle.
I hope you had a great time with Tangy. I can't wait to catch up on everything in less than a month.
It's going to be so much fun.

Catherine said...

This looks really really delicious. I have to try this one. I'm sorry it didn't turn out right the first time.

The mantle looks great!

Patsyk said...

I've mis-read my share of recipes, so I can certainly commiserate with you! It sounds like you recovered well though! I'm sure it tastes as beautiful as it looks!

anudivya said...

Such a pretty cake! Bitter or not bitter, I will salvage it.
Oh and that caramel dripping from the cake on its sides...

Amanda said...

Of course everything you make looks divine! I am excited to say that I have completed my FIRST TWD recipe! Yay! It was very delish but I did have to omit the peanuts. Yum!

Rosie said...

Your cake looks amazing!

Rosie x

Natashya said...

I love the cakestand. So sorry that the chocolate didn't work out - that is not like you(!)
The finished product looks grand - great save!
Perhaps you could use the unsweetened cake for one of those desserts where they drench it in sweet liqueur.

vibi said...

Hummmm... I smell Thanksgiving comming... with a strange twilight of Christmas in the future.
I love that feeling! Thanks for sharing!
BRAVO!

Emily said...

It happens to the best of them! One year my sister forgot to add sugar to the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving . . . But your cake turned out beautiful!

(I still am surprised about your small town post! I worked for the mayor for a couple of years and probably know half of the town! It is a small world! My hub and I hope to move back down once we finish school! Love it!)

Bridgett said...

It can be quite a challenge at times when forced to salvage a cake but it sounds like you pulled it off beautifully. As always... :)

Marie said...

First of all I LOVE your mantle!!! It's gorgeous! I can't wait to see it at Christmas! I wish I had more things to decorate my home with, but alas . . . where would I put them anyways! nevermind . . . sorry your first cake was a bitter disappointment, however it looks like the second was a huge success. That looks so delicious! I would have so loved to try the chocolate brownie version, but finances dictate that I be more frugal in my choices from now on and cook only what will be eaten and appreciated, so hence it was a white chocolate cake for me, although twas quite yummy if I don't say so myself!

Beth said...

I feel better knowing Im not the only one to misread a recipe!! It ended up pretty good in the end though.

Aggie said...

Oh what a delicious delicious looking cake! All of my favorites all in one! Enjoy your visit with your friend...and love your Fall mantle!

Sara said...

Love the brownie cake! It's good to know that even you, the master baker, cook, chef, everything ... even makes simple mistakes. Your are amazing & i'm sure your cake was wonderful! Cute fall decor for your mantle!

Tammie said...

Cute serving platter and cake stand!

Esi said...

Sorry it didn't work out right the first time, but glad the second try was great! Your mantle is so pretty! I can't wait to see what you do for the holidays

Rebecca said...

Whew, that was close! Hope you and your friend had a great time. Now, I guess it's time to find those autumn decorations ...

Darius T. Williams said...

Looks totally awesome! And such great pictures!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Leslie said...

Love your autumn mantel!
Good save on the cake!

Dawn said...

Oh Ms. Prudy you can do no baking wrong in my eyes.
This end result is stunning my dear.

TeaLady said...

Yummy! The second time around worked. Too bad about the first. I know how that is. Looks great tho. And that cake stand is adorable.

hot garlic said...

That's too bad! I hate having kitchen disasters and especially having to remake stuff!

How fun to reunite with an old friend -isn't that the best?! Especially when you find your friendship hasn't missed a beat.

Mike Spoodles said...

I always love your variations, but you're right on the money with this one--there's not a whole lot you can do with this flavor profile to make it better. Peanuts, caramel, chocolate. It's a Snickers bar in cake form, and everybody knows that Snickers is the greatest bar of all.

MK and Co. said...

What a tragedy! I'm glad you were able to recover so beautifully. That looks like one delicious cake!

Di said...

How frustrating! That sounds like something I would do--both use the wrong ingredient and then try to quickly make a new cake. I'm glad everyone enjoyed it in the end. =)

pinkstripes said...

Good for you for making it again. I would have gone to the store and bought one.

Your cake looks yummy!

Tami said...

Nice to see that you could save it. It looks really good. I also love your cake stand!

Tanji said...

The cake looks so mouth-wateringly delicious that I can almost taste it . . . . oh that's right, I did!!! I ate Prudy's tasty cake at Prudy's beautiful house with her darling family. Neener-neener-neener :) Thank you for all of the scrumptious food, great laughs, and 2 am chats. We had a great time! Why didn't we talk about your Hollywood farm earlier this morning? Shucks-it sounds fascinating. I guess we'll have to save that topic for next time. :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

how fun to see an old friend for the first time in years! sorry to hear about the bitter first cake, but sounds like you pulled it together and made a winner!

jenjen said...

Yum! You are a cooking genius!

jessbcuz said...

hope you enjoyed the reunion!
i just decorated my mantle (sadly ignored for months and months) just this past weekend with the help of my little guy. It felt good to clear off some of the clutter that had accumulated and bring a sense of the season into our house.
your cake looks divine (as usual) and your story reminds me of when I made chili one time, and not paying attention, but cayenne pepper ( i think) in instead of the less hot chili powder, almost ruining our taste buds forever. No one was able to fix that DOUBLE BATCH of chili ( i tried ever trick suggested), but I do double check and try to slow down now (when i can).

Jeena said...

Your cake still looks totally fabulous!

kittymama said...

Oh, how I hate when a big baking project goes awry! But good save, you were able to make another one so quickly. I had to skip this one - too many calories for just the 2 of us in my house. TWD is taking a toll on our waistlines!

Teanna said...

Glad it was salvaged and you were able to serve something you were proud of! It looks absolutely gorgeous!!!

Lael said...

I'm so glad the cake turned out (even if it took two tries) and that you got to reunite with a college friend. As I finish out my last year at university, I wonder about how/when I'll get to see some of these friends again. Dorie's cookbook arrived in my mail yesterday, so I get to join in the next TWD event. Yay!

Lady Baker said...

First of all, can I say I just love the music on your blog...I love its style/etc. Love.It.

I think we've all been there--knowing an ingredient was wrong and then that paralyzed moment, where I stop, stare at the dish I just made, run through the time I have left--and the ingredients that I need to redo it...and then jump to it, trash #1 and try to create a quick, and better, #2! Your cake looks (as they say in the 40's-50's) "just divine!"

Sounds like a great reunion too! And neat that you reconnected on the blog. There is something about this blogging--I catch up with my college housemate (Cathy of Tortefeasor) more on our blogs than in our usual banter emails lately! It's been so much fun to have the TWD connection with her, I'm so glad she recruited me in!
:) Lisa

PotatoChef said...

The secret is not to panic. And of course you didn't panic.

The cake looks amazing and I'm sure it taste even better.

kim said...

ooh that stinks! :( at least you tasted it before serving, though ;) looks delicious the second time around!!

bakingwiththeboys said...

Bummer about the chocolate mix-up but you came through. Love the caramel photo.

Usha said...

The cake looks amazing, I am so glad you were able to save it :-)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Sometimes you just have to scrap it all and start over, but that doesn't make make it less painful! Glad it turned out on the second try!

1freshstart said...

Oh, I love that your friend came to visit! I'm sure no matter what you made... it would have been perfect!
~Cat

CECIL said...

Adore that ribbon on cake plate/stand!! I want a fireplace!! Oh and of course, I can use some brownie cake too. :)

Rigby said...

Sorry to hear about your chocolate snafu! Hope that you had a wonderful visit with your friend :)

Sophie said...

awww...I wish I had a fireplace to decorate like that...and a piece of this cake to eat while I sit in front of that fireplace :D.

Dee said...

It look scrummy from over here. And so pretty with the ribbon.

I've been eyeing this recipe in the book, but honestly the comments of many TWD have me a little unsure now.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

You're amazing! Great job for getting that lovely cake done again in such a short amount of time. If you use hazelnuts next time it might be good to chop them a bit - mine were really chunky to chew on.

Heather B said...

It still looks fabulous! Great job!

Emiline said...

Wow, that looks good. I would have eaten the first cake, too.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Wow, you're fast in the kitchen. I bet the caramel topping was great with your own version of cake!

AmyRuth said...

Wow, with 95 comments, don't know if you actually read these....just the same. You did an awesome job with your two time wonder. So glad others have brain farts too. he he
You must have had an awesome visit.l

That old cake could be processed into a crust for a cheesecake or some other dessert base + sugar. he he oh, and maybe some butter along with the sugar.

LyB said...

Well, the finished cake looks like it was a success, that's all that counts, right? :)

Liliana said...

Your cake looks absolutely divine!

I am sure it would have tasted great with the unsweetened chocolate too.

Nice photo.

Prudy said...

Liliana:
Thank so much for your kind comments!

n.o.e said...

I too was expecting this cake to have unsweetened chocolate as the base, since it's a brownie cake. Sorry you had to make it again, but boy-oh-boy it totally looks like it was worth it. So pretty - and just like the book!
Love the mantel! Is it really Fall already?
Nancy

Matt said...

The accidental use of unsweetened for bittersweet chocolate seems like a page out of my kitchen diary (if I had one). You managed to pull it off in the end, although I hate that frazzled frenetic feeling I get when I know that I have to make up for lost time.

Beautiful cake stand, by the way...

Jaime said...

your cake looks so gooey and great. glad you were able to whip up a second cake in time!

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