Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

Cake, Chocolate, Desserts, Father's Day / Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Dorie Greenspan’s Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake should come with a warning. Something like, “WARNING: Eating caramel-peanut topping pulled from cake may result in muffin-top and/or spontaneous appearance of third buttock.”

It’s not that this is a decadent cake. If the caramel-peanut topping were a designer dress, the brownie cake would be its anatomically-vague, department store mannequin. It’s plain. And the dip in its center looks like a mistake, but it’s there for a purpose: to keep the topping from sliding off.

Once you remove the first slice, an avalanche of sticky gooey crunchy goodness starts sliding in to fill the gap. And it is HARD not to grab a spoon and start cleaning the plate a little. OK, a lot. A filthy gluttonous lot.

Now, I’m thinking that if Dorie had ever tried a Goo-Goo Cluster, she would have added a layer of marshmallow fluff between the cake and the topping. Note to self: OMG!

Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  1. Butter and flour a 8-inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. For the Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended.
  5. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla.
  6. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate.
  7. Gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter. Bake the cake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Transfer the pan to a rack, and cool the cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan.
  9. When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan, and peel off the paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.
  10. For the Topping: Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber, 5-10 minutes.
  11. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps.
  12. Stir in the peanuts, and pour the caramel and peanuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or heat-proof bowl.
  13. Spoon the peanuts on top of the cake. Then spoon the caramel on top of those. Let the topping set to room temperature, about 20 minutes before serving.
  14. To serve, run a blunt knife between the caramel and the pan and simply remove the sides of the springform. If this isn’t the case, hit the sides with some hot air from a hairdryer or wrap the sides in a towel moistened with hot water.

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50 thoughts on “Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

  1. Your picture ALMOST makes me want to try again, had I not almost destroyed my kitchen trying to make this. You’re right though — the caramel is quite a tasty little prize at the end if you make it through. I also thought that the cake itself was rather nondescript. But wow, yours sure looks great!

  2. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Yours does look amazing. Gonna have to agree that the caramel is sinful, imagine it with other nuts, too! Oooh! Loved your post and your blog looks way cool.

  3. Marshmallow fluff? I want that! Make that. I think the marshmallow fluff would make it perfect. Caramel, marshmallow and brownie-cake. ::drooooling:: Your pictures make me drool as always. Here’s hoping that a 3rd buttocks doesn’t spontaneously appear as you suggested. I don’t need more junk in my trunk. HAHA
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

  4. Yes, that pool of caramel & peanuts just sits on the cake plate, taunting me! This is my favorite Dorie recipe so far and probably the worst for you! But it tastes so good!

  5. It looks wonderful. I love the shot with the vanilla ice cream. I really wish I had some ice cream to go with it.
    I agree the cake was plain – but the topping, oh my!!

  6. Wow, your pictures and description makes me want to go to my fridge and eat the leftover caramel and peanuts with a spoon. Third buttock, here I come!

  7. Oh yum I want that caramel topped ice cream. Mine was an unfortunate disaster, but yours looks so good that I may have to at least try just the caramel part again!

  8. This looks incredibly good. I really enjoyed the cake, but I wasn’t truly successful with the caramel. I’ll definitely be trying it again, and again, and again…until I get it right!

  9. You mad woman! You dripped your caramel over ice cream, and now I have to go back and make more, risking the possibility of a fourth buttocks.

  10. Hilarious comment about the third buttock/muffin top! I expanded on that theme in my post, too. :) Your pictures are gorgeous…

  11. mmm… with ice cream? now why didn’t I think of that?
    I fed mine to my kids tonight… and came up with another warning– do not feed to children within 12 hours of bedtime— that cake packs quite a punch!
    I just wanted to add that i thought this cake off set the carmel craziness quite well- not too sweet, but with a nice chocolate edge.

  12. This cake is definitely sinful but delicious. I fell in love with the caramel coated peanuts. Marshmallow fluff? I haven’t tried it, but it sounds wonderful :)

  13. That last image made me drool and I didn’t even particularly like this cake. You know how to make anything look good!

  14. Hahah you are SO right… this dessert will deposit itself into pockets of your body! That picture looks SO good… the one with the ice cream!

  15. Ice cream sounds great with this. I’ve got leftover caramel, and I’ve been thinking for a couple days that I should make some ice cream for it. =) Gorgeous pictures of your cake!

  16. I saw your beignets and just drooled on the keyboard. I am so in love with those but hardly ever get one. Your caramel looks great on the peanut cake too!

  17. mine avalanched in after slicing it too!!! i am laughing at your comment about the third buttock :) your gooey caramel is mouth watering :)

  18. I agree with everyone who commented before me. Your photos are amazing. The one with the ice cream is delicious. Your beignets with caramel sauce made my mouth water!

  19. I think our toosh’s are all at risk here…don’t you. Either way, your cake looks beautiful. I love the addition of ice cream decorated with a drizzle of caramel. Yumm Yumm

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