Grease and lightly flour three 8 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pans or two 9 x 2-inch
In a large skillet cook the 3/4 cup sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar
just begins to melt. Do not stir. Reduce heat; cook until sugar is golden brown,
about 1 to 3 minutes more, stirring mixture constantly.
Carefully stir in hot water (syrup will form lumps). Bring mixture to boiling;
reduce heat. Continue stirring until mixture is free of lumps. Remove from heat.
Pour syrup into a large glass measuring cup. Add additional water to equal 1 3/4
cups liquid. Set aside to cool.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat
together the 1 1/2 cups sugar, the 2/3 cup butter, egg yolks and the vanilla extract
with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute or until mixture is smooth.
Alternately add flour mixture and sugar syrup to egg yolk mixture, beating on
low speed after each addition just until combined. Clean beaters thoroughly.
In a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
Fold into batter. Divide batter into baking pans; spread evenly. Bake for 25 to
30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in
pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; transfer to wire racks;
cool completely. Prepare Browned Butter Frosting.
To assemble, spread 1/2 cup Browned Butter Frosting over bottoms of two of the
cake layers. Sprinkle each frosted layer with half of the finely chopped candy.
Stack these layers on cake plate, frosted sides up. Place the third (8nfrosted)
layer on top, rounded side up.
Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Garnish with the coarsely
chopped candy bar pieces, if desired.
Browned Butter Frosting: In a small saucepan, heat and stir the 1/2 cup butter
over low heat until melted. Continue heating until butter turns a nut-brown color.
Remove from heat; cool for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 3 tablespoons butter until combined.
Beat in about 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar. Beat in the browned butter
and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in 4 1/2 more cups sifted confectioners'
sugar and milk until frosting is of spreading consistency.
Use butter only. Margarine or other spreads will not yield the same results
and could keep the frosting mixture from setting properly.