Baked Sunday Mornings: Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe -- in honor of Groundhog Day -- is "Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise," a brown sugar Bundt cake with a tunnel of chocolate toffee inside. While I have made caramels many times, I have never made toffee -- so I decided to try the recipe for homemade toffee instead of just using a Heath Bar.

To make the toffee, you heat butter, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, corn syrup, and water to 300 degrees. Then you take the mixture off the heat, add vanilla and salt, and pour the toffee into a pan (I lined my pan with parchment instead of buttering it). You put chopped chocolate on top of the hot toffee and let it melt before spreading it smooth. Finally, you sprinkle on finely chopped toasted almonds (since the recipe calls for toasted almonds that are "super finely chopped" in the food processor, I just used almond flour and toasted it first). After 30 minutes in the freezer, the toffee is cool and ready to use.
For the cake batter, you beat butter with all-purpose flour, cake flour, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt. The resulting mixture is a pile of sandy crumbs, and you take out some of the crumbs and combine them with finely chopped toffee to make the cake filling. You add baking powder, baking soda, an egg, egg yolks, and sour cream to the remaining crumbs to create a thick batter.

You're supposed to put half of the batter into a greased Bundt pan, spoon the chopped toffee filling on top -- keeping it away from the sides of the pan -- and then cover the toffee with the remaining batter. There was a lot of chopped toffee and it was difficult to keep it contained in the center of the pan, so I put the batter in a plastic bag and piped a wall of batter along the sides of the pan (including around the center post) to create a moat I could fill with toffee. The technique worked well.
The cake rose to the top of the pan during baking, with a completely level top. It came out of the pan neatly, in one piece. After the cake was completely cool, I sprinkled it with powdered sugar and used a serrated bread knife to slice it; the cake cut cleanly and easily.

I think this is a great cake. It's moist and dense, like a pound cake, and it has a rich, sweet caramel-like flavor. To be honest, I don't think that the toffee adds all that much, and the flavors of the filling seemed a little muddied -- but I had chopped the toffee quite fine and it had no real texture in the finished cake. In the future, I would leave the toffee in larger chunks. The toffee by itself is delicious -- the flavor and texture it is a dead ringer for a Heath Bar. I think the toffee as a standalone would be better with larger chunks of almonds, but it would also be terrific even without any nuts at all.

This is the sort of recipe I expect from the Baked boys: creative, decadent, fun.

Recipe: "Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.


Chelly said…
Everything you bake comes out perfect. Gorgeous!
In my craziness, I thought of using premade toffee in the chocolate chip section. Perhaps broken up Heath bars!! Love you post.
Anonymous said…
Ha-- a moat! What a great idea. I, too, found it hard to corral the filling, so I carved a little "trench" in the bottom layer of batter, but I like your method. And yes, it had a really level top (bottom) for a Bundt-- so nice! I didn't get a chance to make the homemade toffee, but it looks delicious!
Isla said…
I absolutely love your posts. They help me a great deal.
Robyn said…
I also had trouble keeping all the filling away from the sides of the pan, so I love your moat idea. This kind of cake is right up my alley - all that brown sugar, toffee, and the bit of chocolate. Loved it!
Anonymous said…
It seems like everyone had trouble keeping the filling in line. Not only me..
And your Toffees look perfect!
Hannah, SpotsonPots