I celebrated my 25th birthday on Saturday, and of course I had to make a rich dessert to mark the occasion :) I enjoy making my own cake because I get exactly what I want and it gives me the opportunity to work on a fun baking project. I got the original Pastry Queen cookbook last year for my birthday, and almost immediately picked out this recipe to make this year. I love toffee and brownies, so I knew I could not go wrong with a combination like this.
This recipe was pretty easy and straightforward. I finished it in one evening and had a lot of fun in the process! The brownies are a pretty standard recipe. I halved the recipe and baked it in three 6-inch pans. The filling was amazing. It had a rich coffee flavor. I halved the recipe for both the filling and frosting, but felt like I had way more filling than I needed. I had no problems with the leftovers though :) I decorated the outside with toffee bits. The brownie part was rich and fudgy and the filling added a lot of flavor. The only thing I would change is to use a coffee buttercream of some sort. I would like that much better than a whipped cream frosting. It turned out to be a great birthday cake and I was not disappointed- it was the perfect end to a great birthday!
Toffee Bar Brownie Torte
Source: The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 cups sugar
8 large eggs
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 teaspoons boiling water, chilled
2 (8-ounce) tubs mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 teaspoons boiling water
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup frosting
2 cups chopped toffee bars
To make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with butter and dust lightly with flour. Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl set over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from over the saucepan. Add the sugar and eggs to the chocolate; whisk about 1 minute, until the mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Do not overmix the batter.
Pour one-third of the batter into each pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the brownies are just firm to the touch. Cool the brownies in their pans for 30 minutes, then invert them onto racks to cool completely, about 30 minutes longer.
To make the frosting: Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream on high speed until medium-soft peaks form. Whip in the sugar, vanilla, and espresso, whipping until combined. Cover and refrigerate 1 cup of the frosting to use in the filling. Set aside the rest of the frosting.
To make the filling: Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, espresso liquid, sugar, vanilla, and salt on medium speed just until combined. Using a large spatula, fold in the 1 cup of reserved frosting.
To assemble the torte, transfer 1 brownie layer to a round, flat serving plate and spread half of the filling and spread the remaining filling evenly over the top. Add the third layer and cover the top and sides with frosting. Press the toffee pieces into the frosting to thinly cover the sides of the torte and to create an even band of toffee around the edge of the top of the torte. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut the torte into thin slices- it is very rich- with a long serrated knife, dipping it an a tall glass of hot water between each cut. The cake is best served the day it is made, but leftovers will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days.