A decadent, rich, chocolate brownie cake recipe that is light and moist topped with a creamy, dairy-free salted cacao caramel and garnished with sea salt and chocolate chips for the best gluten-free, vegan, grain-free dessert!
I’ll be honest. I set out to create gluten-free, vegan, grain-free brownies. Kinda the story of my baking excursions… they either flop or they turn out great and I impress myself because gluten-free, vegan baking is hard y’all, and sometimes they give way to another recipe idea. In this case, my intention of making brownies flopped, BUT what I created instead blows my mind and I think has turned into the best brownie/cake recipe I have ever had, not just made. Had. They are unbelievably light and moist like cake, but have that rich, decadent brownie-esque goodness that I’m always craving.
This Salted Caramel Brownie Cake is perfect any time, but if you can’t decide on brownies or chocolate cake… this is your jam. Did I mention that it’s insanely easy to make too? Cuz when dat brownie craving hits, you ain’t got time to wait, I know.
To keep this Salted Caramel Brownie Cake gluten-free as well as grain-free, I’ve combined cassava flour with banana flour (my two new baking buddies) for the perfect flour combo. I also like to keep my baked goods as naturally sweetened as possible, so I used date sugar in mine, but feel free to use coconut sugar too. Let’s take a closer peek at what’s in this recipe, shall we?
☆ banana flour
☆ cassava flour
☆ date/coconut sugar
☆ unsweetened cacao powder
☆ baking powder + baking soda
☆ sea salt
☆ chocolate chips/chunks
☆ peanut butter (or other nut butter)
☆ coconut milk
☆ pure vanilla extract
☆ My Salted Cacao Caramel
The thing with gluten-free, vegan baking is you really need to make sure you either eat them all within two days before they dry out and/or get as hard as a rock. I mean, that’s no problem for my family and I really, haha, but the good news if you’re making them for yourself they do freeze well. First- no judgement if you do eat the whole brownie cake within a couple of days lol, but if you do freeze half the batch for later, just make sure to freeze them before you slather on the Salted Cacao Caramel and microwave them to enjoy right from the freezer!
The Salted Cacao Caramel isn’t necessary, but I HIGHLY recommend it 🙂 You can find that recipe below also. If you like it even creamier, feel free to add more plant milk. This spreads amazing over so many things and keeps well in your fridge for up to 2 weeks also, so yay! And of course, garnish your brownie cake with more chocolate chips and sea salt for the perfect finishing touch! This Salted Caramel Brownie Cake is actually better warm, so feel free to let it cool just enough to slather on the caramel topping without melting it and then dig in!
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 3/4 cup banana flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder
- 1/2 cup date/coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (or other creamy nut/seed butter)
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips, for melting in the cake
- Salted Cacao Caramel (below)
- Chocolate chips
Salted Cacao Caramel
- 5 dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup coconut milk/other plant milk
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
- In a glass bowl/measuring cup, add 1/2 the chocolate chips/chunks, the peanut butter and pure vanilla extract and melt in the microwave for about a minute, stir and add back in in 10 second increments. **NOTE: you don't want to burn your chocolate so be sure to stir it and see if it needs more melting. It's ok if it's not completely melted.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients along with the coconut milk. Stir to combine.
- Fold in the remaining half of the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into a sprayed or parchment-lined square baking dish and bake for 35 minutes, until the center isn't wiggly.
- Let it cool while you make your salted cacao caramel topping: Place your pitted dates into a glass measuring cup/bowl and cover with water. Microwave for 2 minutes to soften them. Drain and place into a blender. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over high heat. Once melted, whisk in the maple syrup. Whisk in the almond butter and continue to whisk until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the coconut butter, cacao powder and sea salt. Remove from heat and add the caramel to the blender with the dates and coconut milk and blend on high until smooth. Let it cool and thicken before spreading over your cake.
**NOTE: you can add more coconut milk if it's too thick
- Spread your Salted Cacao Caramel over top and garnish with more chocolate chips if desired.
- Enjoy within 2 days. Do not refrigerate. You may freeze it and save some for a later time!