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