Monday, June 18, 2012

Caramel Macadamia Nuts Topped Brownie Cake

Happy Birthday to the man that I have known for more than half of my life! If you are guessing that this cake was baked for my husband... You are absolutely right! 

My husband and I seems to be together for ages and I'm kind of ashamed to say that I have not plan or do anything much for this celebration. This month of June has been crazy for me. I was so busy with my work, housework, my little boy and baking that I almost forget my husband's birthday is coming. On his birthday, I was desperate and had to make a last minute dash to buy some Koko Black chocolates for him and I was lucky that he likes it.

Despite all, I did try my best to bake a good birthday cake for him. In fact, this cake was chosen by my husband from my cookbooks collection. "I want this cake and I want it with macadamia nuts..." Fair enough that he said this and here's the birthday cake for him.

caramel macadamia nuts topped brownie cake
Happy Birthday to the Big Boss of our house!
Making the brownie cake
Is the cake ready? It will have crumbs on the skewer!
Making the caramel
Assembling the cake
Not forgetting a little final touch... CHOCOLATE!

Here's the recipe from the book, Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.
(with my modification in blue)

For the cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda (replaced by baking powder)
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used the 70% cocoa one)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
(replaced with vanilla beans scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod for 2/3 amount of recipe)

For the topping
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts (replaced by pre-roasted lightly salted macadamia nuts)

My chocolate sauce
25g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
25ml cream

Place cream and chocolate together in the heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally until both are just melted.

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (or 160°C fan forced). Butter an 8-inch round springform pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the ex­cess and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment or wax paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the but­ter and chocolate in the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are just melted - you don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Re­move the bowl from the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in the melted butter and choco­late. Still working with the whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You will have a thick, smooth, shiny batter. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.

Bake the cake for 40-45 min, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean (you might find some moist crumbs clinging to the blade). Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the cake for 15 min, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan. During baking, the cake probably will have puffed to the top of the pan; don't be con­cerned if it sinks a little or if it develops a little crater in the center. Cool the cake to room temperature.

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. Re-fasten the sides around the cake.

To make 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 min, 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 on a white plate. Don't be timid about the colour - if it's too pale, it won't have much taste.

Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan – the caramel will bubble and spatter - 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 (or macadamia nuts), pour the caramel and nuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or a heatproof bowl.

You've probably got more caramel than you need, but you want to get all the nuts on the cake, so spoon the nuts out of the hot caramel and onto the cake. After you've done that, pour or spoon on enough caramel to cover all the nuts. You’ll have a layer about 1/4 inch high (give or take a bit).

Allow the topping to set at room temperature for about 20 min before serving.

At serving time, you should be able to just 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.


The macadamia nuts were lightly salted and roasted at 170°C fan forced for 8 min.

Using 2/3 amount of this recipe, I've baked the brownie cake using a 14 cm lightly greased round cake ring, placed on a silicone mat. The cake was baked for 35 min until a skewer inserted in the center comes out almost clean with traces of moist crumbs on it. 

I actually prefer caramel to be drippy soft for serving and so I've warmed the cake ring slightly to allow the soft textured caramel and nuts dripping off the edges of the cake.
For a final touch, I've drizzled some chocolate sauce on top of the caramel topping to slightly reduce the sweetness of the caramel on the cake.

For 2/3 amount of this recipe, I had more than 1/4 cup of caramel as leftover.

Happy Baking
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  1. Just add you from twitter... That brownies looks indulging...Happy birthday to your hubby ya.

    1. Thanks Angeline! Thank you for your support! You know you are my first Twitter follower :D LOL!

  2. wow, this look really good ... it must be very very nice to go with macadamia nuts .... !!! by ur recipe, it seem to hv lots of steps but sure it worth it ... happy birthday to ur hub :)

  3. Zoe, this brownie needs great... yummy!!

  4. Your cake looks like my hearts dream and hips nightmare :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Oh dear I am just loving it. Truly addictive and delicious.

  6. This cake is so sweet and rich. I am sure you hubby would feel sweet and rich too.

  7. Gorgeous! MMMMM the choco-macademia are screaming to pick them up. Wonderful birthday brownies. Happy Birthday to your husband!

  8. Oh, my gosh. This looks phenomenal, Zoe...I have a weakness when it comes to the chocolate-caramel combination. Great brownies, my friend~

  9. OMG! What a heavenly & decadent cake! I'm sure your big boss was really happy with this delicious birthday cake specially made for him! BTW Happy birthday Zoe's big boss! :p LOL

  10. Wow..this looks glorious, Zoe..I confess that I'm nuts over, if I have a chance to get a piece or two of your brownies, I'll gobble all the macadamia first! Happy Birthday to you Man! Happy days!

  11. Wow that looks spectacular! So glossy and inviting. Yum!

  12. Zoe , that cake looks decandently sinful ! Happy Birthday to your hubby !

    I can't follow you since I'm not twitter-ing ! lol

  13. wow, this is looking really delicious and look at those nuts and the caramel sounds fantastic! YOur big boss must be really thrilled and happy seeing that you made him this cake, your son must be excited too!

  14. This cake looks amazing! I have to try it for the next big celebration!
    I've just discovered your blog, I'm following :) x


  15. Wow, chocolate, I like, macadamia nuts, love it, so this cake has also become my favourite cake too!

  16. Your cake looks beautiful! I'm sure your husband was pleased with the outcome.

  17. Hi Zoe,
    OMG! This so tempting..with the macadamia nuts and your chocolate sauce drizzle on the caramel topping. Can I have your whole brownie cake please..LOL
    I don't have a twitter account but will sign up for one and follow you..:)
    Happy birthday to your hubby too..^^

    1. Thanks Mui mui for your support! I'm very touched.

  18. This looks amazingly decadent...anything with chocolate and caramel sauce on the top must be a winner. Those macadamia nuts also look like they give it a good crunch!! :-)

  19. Super tempting,delicious and incredible cake.

  20. Oh my goodness this looks absolutely delicious!!

  21. Zoe....WOW! And that's about all I can say! Other than I wish you would make this for MY birthday! : )

  22. wow the cake looks yummy...I'm your new follower...hopefully I'll be motivate to pick up baking skill.

  23. Happy Birthday to your husband! Geminis are the best sign out there.

  24. Happy Belated Birthday to your hubby! That is delicious looking cake! I have bookmarked this for ages to try! Your version of macadamia is a great idea, clever hubby! :)

  25. The brownie looks delicious, especially one that goes along with my favourite macademia nuts !...

  26. If heaven had a taste,that would be it!!!I am drooling seeing this divine dessert!Well done,dear Zoe!Happy birthday to your lucky husband:)))

  27. wow.. i am drooling while looking at your cake, yummy :)
    Happy Belated Birthday to your hubby!

  28. This must be one of the best cakes ever - it looks fabulous.

  29. Zoe, this cake looks almost insane...I wish so bad to have a slice of it...your husband is such a lucky guy having this cake for his the way, Happy Birthday to him :)
    Hope you are enjoying your week!

  30. Drooling to full.....that's an gorgeously awesome brownie with nut topping....

  31. I am so drooling! Look at those sticky nuts! I love it but oh so sinful!

  32. mouth is watering non stop....haha..... Just imagine that!

  33. This is just too yummy! Love the nuts!

  34. this is a lusciously luxurious cake!! i love macadamia nuts but they're so expensive here in kl.

  35. Hi Zoe, your brownies look excellent, love the topping. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Have a nice day.

  36. Wow - this is incredible and all made from scratch. It looks like thing crazy decadent one might buy from some fancy coffee shop - only better! I'm featuring this post in today's Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and always excited to see what you'll create next…

  37. Luckily my husband don't like to eat cake, if I forgot to bake a Birthday cake for him, he will be alright, hehehe . This cake look so tempting and good !

  38. Caramel macadamia nuts topped brownie is scrumptious. Great post, I like it

  39. What a great writing, really I appreciate such kind of topics. It will be very helpful for us. Waiting for more articles, blogs like this. I’m going bookmark your blog for future reference. Thanks a lot for sharing this
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