This peanut butter chocolate brownie cake I made last week was just way too good not to share. I found the recipe, thanks to my aunt, who recently introduced me to Sweet Laurel, a whole-foods bakery near where she lives in Los Angeles. If you haven't heard of them yet, you gotta check em out - all their recipes use whole food ingredients, no grains, no dairy, no refined sugar. Totally my style. Sounds like Laurel, like me, discovered this way of eating on her health adventure too, and has turned it into something truly beautiful to share with the rest of the world. She so graciously shares many of her recipes on the bakery's blog too.
I was browsing around looking for something I could make for Ross and my brother's birthday (their's happens to be the same day) and debating if I dared try a "free" dessert... especially on their birthdays (eek.). I knew if I did, it'd better be damn good.
I trusted Sweet Laurel and she did not disappoint.
I came across her Brownie Cake recipe and it gave me the idea to sub peanut butter for the almond or cashew butter it calls for. Ross and Mike share an affinity for peanut butter chocolate desserts. They like mint mixed in there too (how weird is that), which takes the whole sharing a b-day and dessert preferences to a whole other level. M&C's heads are still spinning just from the birthday thing. "They're twins?" they ask. OMG, no.
Anyway... I thought the more chocolate the better.
Especially with peanut butter. So I did something different (recommended from my friend @freshtexan on Instagram) and made a chocolate ganache to go in between the layers and on top. I love how it dripped down the sides too. There must be more of an art to this... clearly need to make more cakes to get better at this part.
As for the recipe, I'd call it a hit. Everyone loved it and there wasn't even a mention of grain, dairy or sugar. No one even knew they were missing. No "this is pretty good for gluten-free" none of that. No words, just happy people eating a lot of chocolate.
I served the chocolate brownie cake with ice cream - Haagen Dazs for the dairy folks and Coconut Bliss for us non-dairy eaters. I put out some surprise Thin Mints to add on top for my weirdo husband who thinks peanut butter and mint belong together.
I'd say if you're looking for a dessert that can make everyone happy - this is it. Pretty sure it'd be easy to make vegan too, just sayin.
The girls and I had so much fun making this chocolate brownie cake, too. One of my favorite things to do with them is bake and cook together. They want to help with everything, and get so proud of themselves at every step. And I see how much more confident and comfortable it makes them with food and trying new things. Not that getting a kid to try chocolate cake is hard or anything. But when you apply the same practice to stir-frying broccoli or roasting sweet potatoes, their interest peaks just the same. It's by far what I've found to be the most effective way to #realkidseatrealfood.
I wrote a blog post awhile back on how to get kids to eat just about anything. It has some good tips too for getting kids more involved in the kitchen and into food. Check it out here.
I've made a few notes in the recipe based on my experience with it. For instance, Sweet Laurel's recipe calls for three six inch round pans. I only had two eight inch pans so that's what I used and made it a two layer cake instead.
I made another note about how the batter is really sticky. I'm sure it's this way no matter what kind of nut butter you're using, but I probably spent too much time trying spread the thing out to reach the edges of the pan. I didn't realize that as it bakes it would thin out and spread on it's own. So not to worry if you have trouble there too!
For the ganache, I'll warn you I didn't measure. My friend advised me to do 1/2 cup coconut milk and 80% of a dark chocolate bar but I found it was too thin even with the whole bar. So I added more dark chocolate chips until it thickened up. You can make this however you like with chocolate bars or chocolate chips. I've linked my favorite brands below.
Also, note that the chocolate bar and chips I used were dark chocolate but had white sugar in them. So with the icing, this cake technically isn't 100% refined-sugar free. The cake part is and you could totally make the icing that way too. If you're strict on the sugar right now, I recommend going with a brand like Hu Kitchen or The Good Chocolate which are made with whole food sweeteners like maple syrup or honey.
Another thing that I think would work but I haven't tried is to just use raw cacao powder and honey instead of the bar. I think it would work just the same.
If you do end up trying one of these alternatives, I'd love to hear - come back and let us know how it worked in the comments.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie Cake
- For the brownie cake
- 2 cups creamy organic peanut butter (either fresh ground or make sure label says just peanuts)
- 1¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup cacao
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
- For the chocolate ganache
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 or 2 dark chocolate bars (I recommend using at least 70% dark. I used 85%)
- dark chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 eight inch pans (or 3 six inch pans) with parchment paper cut to fit the base of the pan. Grease the inner edges with coconut oil.
- To make the cake layers, mix peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and eggs together using a mixer. Mix until smooth. Then stir in the cacao, baking soda and pink salt.
- Pour batter into your pans and use a spatula to make somewhat even. Note: the batter will be very sticky due to the peanut butter. It will melt and reach the edges of the pan as it bakes.
- Bake about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- When ready to ice, make the chocolate ganache by heating coconut milk over medium heat and stirring in pieces of the dark chocolate bar. Start with one bar and add more chocolate to reach desired consistency. You can make it more on the thick or runny side by adjusting how much chocolate or coconut milk you use. I tried to get mine to where it was sort of thick but still runny enough to be able to pour.
- To ice the cake, place first layer on cake stand and pour about as much of the ganache on top to completely cover while allowing some chocolate to run over the sides. Spread the ganache over the layer to cover the top, then place the second layer on top. Pour the rest of the ganache over the top of the next layer and spread to cover, allowing it to spill over on the sides.
- Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips or with your favorite cake topping (sprinkles, nuts, coconut, chocolate shavings, etc.).
Shop the Recipe
- vanilla extract
- raw cacao powder
- Himalayan pink salt
- full-fat coconut milk
- dark chocolate bar
- dark chocolate chips
Let Me Know What You Think...
If you make this chocolate brownie cake, I'd love to hear how it turns out. Come back and let us know in the comments will you? If you have questions, thoughts, other ideas for the recipe, please share in the comments too. I'd love to hear!
More Healthified Sweets & Desserts
Speaking of grain-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar sweets and desserts... have you grabbed my FREE Healthy Desserts Recipe ebook? It's got 10 healthified sweets and desserts recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth all made with real, whole food ingredients to help keep your blood sugar and energy stable. You can download it FREE here.
P.S. Get my FREE Healthy Desserts Recipe ebook here. It has 10 healthified sweets and desserts recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth all made with real, whole food ingredients to help keep your blood sugar and energy stable. You can download it FREE here.
P.P.S. Note: Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links through which I have the opportunity to receive a small commission of sales. All commissions are used to help fund this blog. Thank you for your support!
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.