Whether I’ve had a bad day, good day, blah day, or am bored, excited, depressed, jittery or can’t put a word on it, I can always eat a brownie. There’s something about those gooey chocolate wonders that can accompany any occasion, mood, meal or season.
Over our years together, T has also discovered the pure delight of brownies. So much, in fact, that he wanted a brownie birthday cake. With cream cheese. Not a brownie cheesecake, mind – the cream cheese had to be purely complementary. Every year, I ask T to come up with the main flavours he wants in his birthday cake, and then combine recipes to turn the tasty vision into a culinary reality. This one, however, was a challenge.
Thanks to some ideas from this recipe, I decided to try for cakey brownie layers with a cream cheese frosting. All went well until after the brownie layers cooled, and the top crusty layer completely collapsed. While this is great for individual brownies, it’s not so good if you want to make a cake layer out of them.
|The top crusty layer lifts off easily, |
making the finished layer look like...
|…this (ignore the fork testing mark…I know |
you're supposed to use toothpicks, but I don't always)
So, I tried scraping off that top part, then mixed it into the cream cheese frosting later. Pretty tasty!
In any recipes I post here, I will always try to include both imperial and metric measurements. In the recipe below, the metric measurements have not been tested, so let me know if you have any difficulty. Enjoy!
Brownie layers (makes two):
1¼ cup (156.25g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces (170g) unsweetened chocolate
12 tablespoons (187.5g) unsalted butter
1¾ cup (400g) sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon orange extract
Cream cheese frosting:
8oz (226g) cream cheese
1 cup (125g) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (125g) powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C. Grease two circular pans, 8in or 20.5cm diameter.
- Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- Melt chocolate and butter together over very low heat, stirring constantly, or in an ovenproof bowl over a pot of hot water. When both the butter and chocolate have melted and blended completely, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Mix the sugar into the chocolate, then add the eggs one at a time. When blended, add the vanilla and orange extract.
- Add the flour mixture in three parts, and mix until smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two circular pans.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean – there should just be a few crumbs on it. Cool the pans completely on a wire rack.
- When the layers are cool, carefully scrape the top crust off each one and set it aside.
- Make the frosting, blending the cream cheese, butter, vanilla together before adding the powdered sugar. Lastly, add the crust from the brownie layers, crumbling it as you mix it in.
- Spread frosting on top of one of the layers, then gently place the second layer on top of that. Cover the entire cake with frosting. Add chocolate shavings if desired.