This may be the richest dessert ever. It also is a bear to decorate. Do you see my mush marks trying to get the toffee to stick? It's not pretty in my hands, but I have to say....it is awesome. The brownies alone?? Really.
We brought this to the first dinner with new friends- a good way to see whether they can take your messy but delicious ways. Definitely an ice breaker.
I also have in mind a variation of putting cream cheese frosting in between and on top for something different. But brownies as cake layers? This Rebecca Rather is serious. Serious.
Toffee Bar Brownie Torte
Adapted from Annie's Eats who adapted from The Pastry Queen
makes enough to feed an army.
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 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 (double boiler). Continue heating until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Remove the bowl from the heat and move on.
Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl. 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, or rap them on the counter to settle. 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 remaining 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 last 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. Get em on any way you can. Use any remaining frosting to pipe decorative swirls around the top edge of the cake if you can summon the strength. Refrigerate until ready to serve.