Toffee Bar Brownie Torte

Say hello to the richest cake I’ve ever made.  Really, I know I’ve made some doozies in the past, but I think this one takes the cake (pun intended).  Ben’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and when I asked him what sort of cake he would like, he said anything would be fine and I could choose.  I immediately began scouring my ridiculously long list of recipes to try but I didn’t get very far when I saw this cake.  Ben just loves toffee so I knew this would be the perfect thing.  Plus, I made him a different brownie torte last year for his birthday and that went over very well.

So, what’s the big deal about this cake?  It consists of three layers of fudge brownie sandwiched with espresso mascarpone filling which is then frosted with an espresso whipped cream and coated in toffee bits.  And for starters, just the brownie layers alone call for a pound of butter, a pound of chocolate, and eight eggs.  I think Paula Deen just gasped.  After I got over the initial shock of the ingredient list, I decided to just go for it.  I knew it would be served at a large family gathering so there would be plenty of people to help eat it.  It really is every bit as delicious and rich as you might imagine.  It seemed like the house was filled with moans, groans, “mmm’s” and “yums” all throughout dessert.  Even after our fairly large crowd was all served, there was close to half the cake left.  Trust me, only a very thin sliver is plenty.

Despite its looks and multiple components, this comes together pretty easily.  There is no need for frosting it very carefully since the whole thing ends up covered in toffee bits.  You can use whatever technique works for you to get the toffee bits on the sides.  Personally I prefer a Jackson Pollock-style approach because it’s just so fun, and then I fill in the holes with a little more care.  It makes quite a giant mess but it’s worth it 🙂

Toffee Bar Brownie Torte
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Yield: about 20 servings

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)

For garnish:
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.

Source: The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

54 Responses

  1. Just looking at it makes me want to run 5 miles, haha. It’s like food porn.

  2. Hello, richest cake you ever made (and possibly the richest I have ever laid eyes on!). WOW! Looks so good!

  3. I am in love with this cake and am looking for ANY excuse to make it. It’s garbage day…I’m excited for that maybe? Cake time!

  4. I need to make this. Like now.

  5. I almost chose this recipe for my pick for Project Pastry Queen! You should join Annie! I ended up going with the Seventh Heaven Truffle Cake, coming this Sunday.

    • Yeah, I’m just not interested in baking with groups. I prefer to make what I want, when I want and bake to the beat of my own drummer, so to speak 🙂

  6. this sounds amazing despite how rich it must be… going to try to resist making it right now……….

  7. You…. are….. awesome!!
    Everything you show us is such art. I love reading your blog.

  8. This cake looks amazing, although I think I would use chocolate chips or shaved chocolate pieces in place of the toffee as we aren’t big toffee people but chocolate on chocolate–we are that type of people!

  9. that is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen…stunning!

  10. Annie- QUIT your day job, you have a true gift….That cake is so beautiful and looks sooooooo good!

  11. Gorgeous!! Pastry Queen has many super rich cake recipes, but this is for a birthday, why not? Had to comment on the berries on top – cut side up!! Never thought to do that, it looks so pretty that way

  12. This looks SOOO good!!!! Must make this someday 🙂

  13. Lucky you! Every year for his birthday, my husband requests banana cream pie – boring!

  14. Breathtaking. Really beautiful!

  15. That looks beautiful and delicious.

  16. This looks so good, a brownie cake – I’m loving it!

  17. Annie, that cake is beautiful! It looks so high and elegant.

  18. Oh my that looks amazing..

  19. Wow that is a gorgeous cake!! I love the strawberries, they really pop.

  20. Wow! That looks amazing!!! I can’t wait to try it!

  21. whoooo my, that looks good!!!

  22. This looks absolutely incredible, Annie! Ben sure is a lucky, lucky man!

  23. Isn’t that delicious, or what?!?!?!?!?!?! Now, I HAVE to bake it!!!! What an awesome recipe, girl!

  24. This looks amazing! I think you and I are on the same page. Every time I need a fantastic recipe you read my mind and then when I make them they turn out fantastic and are a huge hit! This is perfect for my Co-workers birthday.Thank you!

  25. O.M.G. That is all.

  26. Oh my word! I think our husbands would get along at meal times. Hehe. He loves rich desserts too (especially chocolate ones), so this is right up his alley! I love that it’s a brownie instead of cake, and I love the marscapone in the filling. This sounds amazing!

  27.! That looks heavenly!

  28. Ben is one lucky guy – I would love to dig in to a cake like this on my birthday. You did an incredible job on this, Annie! It’s just lovely.

  29. I think this is one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen.. every single part of this thing just screams to be made! I think the more “bad” ingredients in cakes and sweets the better it tastes 🙂 Now I just need to find an occasion to make this!!

  30. Hmmm, Homer Simpson seems to have come in, all I can hear is “mmmmmmmm….toffee bar brownie tort………….mmmmmmmmm”. Oh, wait, it’s me!

  31. Looks fabulous, was wondering if it would totally change the cake if I ommitted the espresso powder, not a ‘coffee’ lover. Any suggestions on what to replace it with?

  32. Oh my goodness gracious! This cake caught my eye from the second I saw it! I will DEFINATELY be making this! All I can say is, WOW and I am up for the challenge of the richness!

  33. What an absolutely gorgeous cake! Very impressive! My husbands birthday is coming up, so this might just find it’s way onto our table with some candles in it! Thanks for the great post and beautiful pictures!

  34. Please tell where you got the square cake plate! I have been looking for one, and yours is exactly what I want.

  35. Seriously? Holy crap! So, so gorgeous! *:)*

  36. how are you so amazing?? 🙂 that torte is a thing of beauty.

  37. Stunning, I’ve gained 5 lbs just looking at this picture!

  38. Wow! I want to eat this, totally guilt free. I’ll do the working out bit today itself!

  39. Well hello rich cake! I think you and I may become good friends. But first, I better lose a few pounds!

  40. That looks like a cake you could buy at a bakery! Awesome job!

  41. So a few nights ago I made your taco bowls & homemade seasoning. I got to thinking that it could be delicious to make dessert taco bowls… and it was! I used butter instead of oil & sprinkled the tortillas with cinnamon & scooped ice cream into them – delicious! Picture & more details at my blog.

  42. Oh geez, that looks amazing. Bookmarking….

  43. Can you actually gain weight just by looking at pictures of gorgeously decadent cakes?

    Because I’m pretty sure I just did.

    That looks incredibly delicious- and it’s by far one of the most gorgeous cakes I’ve seen in a long time!

  44. I might make this for my son’s birthday… does it have a very strong coffee taste, or is the espresso just enhancing the chocolate?

  45. looks sooo perfect
    I want some please???

  46. Holy wow that is one of the most delicious and awesome looking cakes I’ve seen in a long time!

  47. Made this for a friend’s birthday tonight – it was amazing. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  48. I made this cake for my fiance’s birthday, and it turned out great, even though I’m not much of a cook. We aren’t big coffee lovers so I just added a little cocoa to the filling and the frosting instead, and it turned out fine. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!! 🙂

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