Brown Sugar-topped Brownie Cake

June 15, 2011

You know those people who keep the recipes from every butter, margarine, cool whip, graham cracker box, pudding box? Those people who have shoeboxes of cardboard recipe clippings dating from god-knows-when until the present? I’m one of those people, guilty as charged. Except the shoeboxes would be a step up on the organizational level for me, right now my cardboard pieces are shoved awkwardly into folders, and the folders shoved wherever there’s space on my bookshelf. I took it upon myself to do some organizing the other day, and part of that plan was to go through my recipe clippings, sort them, then place them into a notebook somehow, making it easier to flip through them and make notes if need be.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, because we live in the world and things happen, my plan started out clear as day and ended up as… nothing. I ended up just sorting through them, oohing and ahhing over the ones that looked good, fondly remembering the ones I’ve made, and not remembering at all why I clipped some recipes in the first place. I think I might have been on the verge of grabbing a notebook when I saw a recipe for sugar-topped brownie cake, peaking it’s head out of the “looks crazy delicious” pile. Not sure why it didn’t stop me before (probably because I was still enthralled by the going-through of recipes instead of starting to organize, hooray for procrastination), but I scooped up the recipe and stuck it to the fridge. This baby’s gettin’ made. No question.

The most interesting part about this recipe is that it turned out RED, as in, red-velvet-cake red. Once upon a time I read that red velvet cake started out as a thing because the cocoa powder reacts with the leavening agent, creating a red color instead of normal chocolate-cake brown, and thus far the phenomenon had remained an abstraction to me. My red velvet cakes didn’t turn out red if I failed to use food dye or some sort of natural coloring agent, and my chocolate cakes didn’t turn out red. This is the first time I’ve seen it in my own baking, with my own eyes. So it really does happen! I can totally understand how red velvet cake became a ‘thing’ and can now appreciate, yet another, example of how science-y stuff applies to baking. Be forewarned that this comes out more like a cake than like brownies. I know the title says “cake”, but it also says “brownie”. Didn’t want you going into it and being disappointed. Now that I’m thinking about the sugar and chocolate crust, though, I doubt you’ll be disappointed, regardless.

Brown Sugar-topped Brownie Cake

(Recipe taken from a Land-O-Lakes package of margarine)

Yields one 9 by 13 inch pan of brownie cake and brownies can be sliced large, around 15 servings



1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

½ cup butter, softened (almost melted)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 ¼ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, dark to semi-sweet



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 9 by 13 inch pan by greasing or lining with foil.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Add milk, butter, egg, and vanilla to dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.

4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top of batter, then do the same with the chips or chopped chocolate.

5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. (Check around the 27 mark if you want your brownie cake to be slightly under-baked; I baked it for 30 minutes exactly and got an even cake-like texture but might under-bake it next time.)

6. Let brownie cake cool completely in pan, and cool completely before cutting.

Store brownies at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 4 days and just covered up to 2 days.

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