Tuesdays with Dorie: Caramel-Peanut Brownie Cake

Members of the jury, I ask you: can Dorie’s Caramel-Peanut Brownie Cake more accurately be described as Diabetes on a Plate Cake?

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Seriously, y’all. I love me some sugar as much as the next person, but this cake was intense. It was, in the terminology of my barely-remembered high school chemistry class, a super-saturated sugar solution.

For the uninitiated, this was a rich brownie cake covered in a thick coating of homemade caramel sauce and salted peanuts. (Add a little nougat in there and it’d be a Snickers cake.) The picture in the book looked so amazing I was expecting to love this cake, but it was a little bit much for me. I didn’t serve it with whipped cream or ice cream as suggested, because I was already dying over the calorie count, but in retrospect I think there needed to be some richness to cut all the sugar. I also thought the chocolate cake was lost under all of the caramel and peanuts and the taste just didn’t come through. Each bite was about 60% caramel flavor, 25% peanut flavor, and 15% chocolate cake flavor.

I halved the recipe and made a 6″ cake, since there are only two of us in the house and we’re notoriously bad at sharing our sweets. (The ONLY time I wish we had typical corporate jobs is when we’re trying to give away desserts–we are seriously lacking in coworkers to share them with.) Even with the smaller cake size, we each had a piece and then the cake languished on the counter for a few days. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really compel us to attack it with spoons in a feeding frenzy, either. I think the peanuts were my biggest deterrent–if they’re not in peanut butter, I just don’t want them in my dessert.

All that being said, I’m not tossing this recipe to the curb. I’d make it again, but with the following changes:

  • Bake the cake a little bit less so it’s fudgier
  • Go lighter on the caramel on top
  • Use hazelnuts or pecans instead of peanuts–we’re just not peanut people
  • Serve it with a tart ice cream–I think a creme fraiche ice cream would be fantastic with this cake

I do think it has potential to knock my socks off so I’ll bookmark it again and give it another chance to prove itself.
Give it to me straight: are we crazy? Do peanuts really belong on top of a cake? Was it too sweet, or am I a big wimp?

21 Responses to Tuesdays with Dorie: Caramel-Peanut Brownie Cake
  1. Jodie says:

    We only ate one piece each, too, and then gave it away. I liked it, but it was a little much. I agree about the whole peanuts- I saw someone else did slivered almonds, which might’ve been good, too.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Oh, that second photo really sells this cake. Wilford Brimley probably has a diabeetus kit coming your way right now.

  3. Teanna says:

    I really liked it, too, but it seriously is very decadent. I think your adjustments to the cake will be very good!

  4. Sweet Charity says:

    I’m not a peanut person, so I don’t think you’re a wimp at all. I actually made this topping 3 different times, none of which included peanuts. I tried toasted pecans (extremely yummy), toasted hazelnuts (extremely yummy), and toasted coconut (my favorite version). Keep us posted on the results of your adjustments, I’m interested to hear how it turns out.
    Your pictures are gorgeous!

  5. Qataria says:

    I used toasted hazelnuts! Great minds think alike :p

  6. CB says:

    See I think my perspective is different b/c I LOVE caramel. I am not a huge peanuts fan but I think the salty-ness of the peanuts were great with the caramel. Like you said. A snickers! I wasn’t a huge fan of the brownie-cake though.
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

  7. Engineer Baker says:

    I must admit, I thought the peanuts made this cake. But to each their own, right? It looks delicious, and hopefully you hit on the right result from this recipe sometime.

  8. pinkstripes says:

    Your caramel is the perfect color. It is a very sweet cake, which helped not eat more than one serving (in our case mini-cupcake) at a time.

  9. Tammy says:

    It was pretty sweet! thanks for making my pick!

  10. Prudy says:

    Love the photos. Probably the best thing about this cake is the WOW factor when it’s being served. We liked it, but it wasn’t the ultimate end all I was expecting.

  11. The Food Librarian says:

    So cute! I love the mini. And I agree that trying a different nut next time would be great…and ice cream of course! Looks great.

  12. Marthe says:

    You are not crazy: peanuts do not belong on top of a cake! I used pecans, they taste really great with this cake and caramel! And yes, it was a bit too sweet … But still very delicious!

  13. Mevrouw Cupcake says:

    Agreed, I’m not a peanut lover, at least not in desserts. This cake didn’t bomb at my house, but let’s say I only ate it because I hate to waste, and not because it made my toes curl.

  14. Linda says:

    I’m with you regarding peanuts…I went with pecans and was much happier with the results. I definitely agree that this needs a not too sweet ice cream or whipped cream to balance the flavor/texture.

    Your 6″ cake turned out picture perfect! great job!

  15. noskos says:

    Great looking cake!

  16. Clumbsy Cookie says:

    It does look intense! But I can handle intensity! I like your petit sized cake!

  17. Shari@Whisk: a food blog says:

    It was delicious with vanilla ice cream to cut the sweetness! Yours looks perfect!

  18. AmyRuth says:

    Maybe lightly sweetened whipped cream would be a good contrast to this wayyyyyyyy sweet dessert. Yours looks amazing. Great Post

  19. Barbara says:

    I’m with you — peanuts don’t belong in desserts in my world. I used pecans (with some added salt) and loved them! And I agree, the cake needed to be fudgier and more chocolate-y.

  20. Matt says:

    I ended up taking a pass on this recipe. I have to agree with you about the peanut thing. It’s not that I hate them, it’s just that they can overwhelm everything else. They keep rearing their ugly little heads in almost every recipe I see…

  21. n.o.e says:

    I would have liked the cake a bit fudgier too. Instead of peanuts I used chopped macadamias and also some toffee bits. I’m just not a lover of peanuts and chocolate.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Oh Hello There
Don't Be A Stranger
Take Me Home Tonight
Hey sugar heroes!
My candy cookbook is available now from:

Barnes & Noble
Easter Desserts