Well, you say it's your birthday? It's my birthday too!! And...that's why I requested this absolutely decadent and sinful cake I spotted on Annie's Eats . My 32nd birthday (yahoo blah blah blah) was this past Sunday and as usual my mom offered to make me a cake. I'm not really a big cake eater. It has to be really spectacular for me to take in so many empty calories. I love brownies and when I saw this cake, it just looked like one huge glorified brownie. And that's exactly what it is and that is in no way, shape or form anything to shake your head at! This cake is serious.
Seriously chocolatey, seriously rich and seriously heavy! I swear the daggone thing weighed 25 lbs! It just looked like the perfect indulgence for a birthday cake so I forwarded the recipe to my mother and she gladly accepted the challenge. She did an awesome job and turned out an excellent cake. So excellent that when I shared it with my co-workers I got a request from someone for one. So I took a shot at this cake myself and made it for my coworker friend. As Annie points out on her blog, despite the long list of ingredients this cake comes together pretty easily. It's not inexpensive to make though - the chocolate, marscapone and espresso alone cost anywhere from $25.
It's so worth it though. The chocolate and coffee flavors play together beautifully and are offset by the salty, sweet crunch of the toffee bits. All you need is a thin sliver to be totally satisfied so this cake will either be something you share with LOTS of friends, or something that you enjoy for a whole week, or more! Oh and by the way, it tastes even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yes I am speaking from firsthand experience. And yes I know what this cake is costing me in jean sizes thank you very much. Enjoy!
Toffee Bar Brownie Torte
Source: copied from Annie's Eats who cites The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather
For the brownies:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 cups sugar
8 large eggs
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
For the frosting:
3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp. boiling water, chilled
For the filling:
16 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp. boiling water
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup reserved frosting (above)
2 cups chopped toffee bits or finely chopped toffee bars
To make the brownie layers, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease and flour the edges of three 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Combine the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a few inches of simmering water. Continue heating until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl. (If your heatproof bowl is very large, transfer to a new bowl is not necessary.) Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and salt, and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared baking pans. Gently smooth the batter in the pans. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the brownies are just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pans 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of each pan and invert the brownies onto the rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, add the chilled heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until medium-soft peaks form. Blend in the sugar, vanilla and espresso mixture, whipping just until combine. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Reserve and refrigerate 1 cup of the frosting for use in the filling. Set aside the rest of the frosting.
To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the mascarpone, espresso liquid, sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until well blended and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gently fold in the reserved 1 cup of frosting with a spatula.
To assemble the torte, lay 1 of the brownie rounds to a large serving platter. Spread half of the filling mixture evenly over the top. Layer with another brownie round, and the remainder of the filling. Top with the final brownie layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the frosting. Garnish with the toffee bits to cover the top and sides of the cake. Use any remaining frosting to pipe decorative swirls around the top edge of the cake, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.