(vegan baking + other minor obsessions)

Vegan Caramel Brownie Cake

vegan caramel brownie cake

Vegan chocoholics of the world, unite! A thin layer of chewy, gooey brownie overdosed with chocolate chunks, covered with a layer of home-made dulce de leche and topped with a light cream cheese whip – this rich chocolate cake does involve some advanced planning and prep, but the results are well worth it. It’s a great cake for a birthday, and makes a perfect dessert.

Those of you who have been reading my blog may have picked up on my obsession with perfect basic recipes, and this cake is an example of the value of such reliable formulas. Each of the layers is a great basic, and I have used these recipes time and again in countless different combinations. The cream cheese whip nicely complements an infinite variety of cakes and other desserts – it is my favourite alternative to whipped cream, and its subtle sweetness is a refreshing change from buttercream frostings. This recipe will give you more than you need for the brownie cake, so pile it on more liberally if you want, or keep refrigerated and use in other desserts – it’s great on carrot cake!

I have already elaborated my theory on dulce de leche in a previous post so I won’t bore you with that again here.

And as for the brownie recipe, what can I say? Brownies are close to my heart – I started baking them to the family recipe when I was maybe 10, and they soon became my speciality. Years later when I went vegan, I tested every vegan brownie recipe I could get my hands on to make sure I had the very best, and since then I have been working on perfecting this recipe for the last six years. I still consider it a work in progress and I am forever trying new tweaks, but for now, let me just say that this is the best vegan brownie I have ever tried, and it holds its own against any animal brownie out there. In fact, as is often the case with vegan baking recipes, I think it’s even better – in a conventional brownie the tastes of butter and eggs are quite dominant, but with vegan brownies all you get is glorious chocolate flavour. Choose a good-quality chocolate that really sings for you, and watch your oven closely – these brownies are rather low in fat and can get dry if over-baked. If in doubt, take them out!

Hmm I am sooo excited about sharing this recipe with you! Must be all that chocolate. If you try it, please drop me a note below.

Vegan Caramel Brownie Cake

75g/2½oz plain baking chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate) or 75% chocolate
110g plain/3¾oz/scant 1 cup (AP) flour
50g/1¾oz/¼ cup granulated sugar
20g/¾oz/3 tbsp cocoa powder (Dutch-processed)
10g/1 tbsp arrowroot
2/3 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp bicarbonate (baking soda)
¼ tsp salt
70g/2½oz/heaped 1/3 cup chocolate chunks
75ml/2¼fl oz/5 tbsp maple syrup
75ml/2¼fl oz/5 tbsp soya milk
35ml/2 tbsp + 1 tsp sunflower oil
1½ tsp vanilla extract

½ batch Vegan Classic Dulce de Leche

Cream Cheese Whip
225g/8oz vegan cream cheese
125g/4½oz/½ cup + 1 tbsp vegan butter
40g/3 tbsp non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
85g/3oz/¾ cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. First, make the cream cheese whip. Whisk the cream cheese, butter and shortening in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment just until smooth and well combined. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to mix at high speed until smooth and fluffy – but avoid over-mixing because vegan butter has a tendency to separate. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Now make the brownie. Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F (or 170°C/325°F for a fan-assisted/convection oven). Grease a 20cm/8in round cake tin and line it with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended above a pan of gently simmering water.

3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, bicarb and salt into a large bowl. Add the chocolate chunks and mix until well combined.

4. Mix the maple syrup, soya milk, oil and vanilla extract together. Add the chocolate and the maple syrup mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and spread it into an even layer with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes (12 minutes for fan-assisted oven). Let the brownies cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and leave them to cool completely.

5. To assemble the cake, spread the dulce de leche over the brownie base, then top with a layer of cream cheese whip. If you are feeling more arty than me, you could try piping it instead – in either case, equally delicious! Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve.

This is my contribution to the Virtual Vegan Potluck, May 2013. For more vegan awesomeness, check these links:


25 comments on “Vegan Caramel Brownie Cake

  1. veganmiam
    11 May 2013

    That looks amazing….

    Happy Virtual Vegan Potluck 3.0 Day x

    ♡ rika, vegan miam
    ★ we travel + eat vegan blog ★

    • vixbakes
      11 May 2013

      Thanks Rika, it really is delicious – do give it a try!

  2. eatpraybake
    11 May 2013

    I would love to have bite of your brownie cake right now…so perfect for sweet tooths!

  3. vixbakes
    11 May 2013

    Thanks! Let me know if you give it a try.

  4. Pingback: Virtual Vegan Potluck – sesame snap amaranth cookies and sesame milk | Broccoli Addict

  5. Poppy
    11 May 2013

    Chocolate cake is always a winner of my heart (and tummy!)

  6. Looks so decadent!

    • vixbakes
      11 May 2013

      And so it is! Sometimes healthy just won’t do!

  7. An Unrefined Vegan
    11 May 2013

    Fantastic! What a beautiful cake! Thank you so very much for coming to the Potluck.

    • vixbakes
      12 May 2013

      Thanks Annie! And thanks for all your hard work in organising the potluck. It is my first time participating in anything of the sort and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am loving it and already looking forward to the next!

  8. sugarcoatedvegan
    12 May 2013

    Yummmmmy! Chocolate, caramel and brownies!!! Oh my goodness this looks amazing! Must try! Happy VVP~

    – alexis

  9. Treesa
    13 May 2013

    Love brownies. Thanks for sharing!

    • vixbakes
      13 May 2013

      Thanks Treesa. If you love brownies you must try this recipe! Thanks for visiting x

  10. Sophie33
    14 May 2013

    What a fabulous & appetizing entry this surely is! This cake is calling my name & mouth too,…oooh yeah!

  11. Maggie Muggins
    17 May 2013

    This looks immaculate! I really want to try your Dulce de Leche recipe. I love your blog and I’m really looking forward to checking out your posts 🙂 Do you mostly focus on raw foods?

    • vixbakes
      17 May 2013

      Thanks Maggie! Let me know how it goes if you do give it a try. I do some raw desserts as well as more conventional vegan baked goods, and healthy stuff as well as the naughty kind. There is a time for everything, right?

      • Maggie Muggins
        18 May 2013

        Exactly, who says you have to stick to just one style of cooking 🙂

  12. Wow, that is one gorgeous cake! And even better that it’s actually a brownie!! I feel very lukewarm about chocolate cakes in general, but very positive about brownies… 🙂 And dulce de leche plus whipped cream?! So decadent and impressive!

    • vixbakes
      19 May 2013

      Thanks, Allison! Glad you like it. I love brownies as well. More. Than. Anything.

  13. spinachrevolution
    19 May 2013

    The cake looks really good, and the extra bonus of the 2 toppings makes this just the perfect decadent ending to a meal… or maybe it can just be the entire meal 🙂 Thank you for the great recipe.

    • vixbakes
      19 May 2013

      Thanks! So happy that you like it. It can well be the entire meal… but as far as dessert goes, I sometimes feel that it I’ve planned a menu that is very balanced and healthy, it’s great to end it with a chocolate cake. It feels like you’ve earned after eating all those veggies!

  14. Keely @ Gormandize
    22 May 2013

    Wow that looks amazing!!

  15. Ally
    23 May 2013

    Oh what a stunning cake!
    I’m sure it tastes totally scrumptious.
    I am a fellow chocoholic. 🙂
    I am impressed by the extent of your brownie recipe research and experimentation.

    • vixbakes
      25 May 2013

      Hi Ally, thanks! Brownie research… sounds like my branch of science!

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