Sunday, April 12, 2009

SMS #2 - Brooklyn Brownout Cake

Whoohoo! I joined my first online baking club called Sweet Melissa Sundays. The idea behind it is to bake every recipe from Melissa Murphy's book called "The Sweet Melissa Baking Book". I would like to thank Lorelei from Mermaid Sweets for setting this up.

The kick-off was last week but I wasn't able to participate. This week's recipe, Brooklyn Brownout Cake, was chosen by Elyse from Elyse's Confectionary Creations. This cake consists of two layers of devil's food cake, a brownie/ganache filling, and a chocolate ganache glaze for the finishing touch. It really doesn't get any chocolatier than this. It's pretty rich so a small slice goes a long way. If you like chocolate, you have to make this cake. Check out Elyse's blog for the recipe.

First I made Melissa's fudge brownies (sans walnuts). These dense, chewy, and very chocolaty brownies reminded me of the brownies I had at the Ghirardelli shop while visiting San Francisco. Speaking of Ghirardelli, I used Ghirardelli's unsweetened chocolate in both the brownies and the chocolate cake. Since I didn't have a 9" square pan, I used alu foil and turned my 9" x 13" pan into a makeshift 9" square pan :o)

While the brownies were baking, I started working on the chocolate cake batter. At first, the batter seemed grainy which worried me a bit. It wasn't until I added the melted chocolate and oil mixture that it became smooth. I used two 8" round cake pans and baked the cakes for 35 minutes.

For the cake's filling, I found the 3/4"-1" brownie cubes to be too large so I cut them into 1/2" cubes instead. In hindsight, I would have done what Elyse did and mash the brownies into the ganache. Some slices showed a hole in the filling which I didn't like too much. I did use my hands to mix the brownies into the ganache and boy, was it fun to lick my hands afterwards. I felt like a kid again! After washing my hands, I sandwiched the filling between the two cake layers and poured the ganache on top :o)

If you look close, you'll see a few air bubbles on the surface of my cake which means I stirred my ganache too much. That "defect", and my desire to decorate the cake somehow, prompted me to sprinkle half the cake with finely chopped white chocolate for a bit of contrast.

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby and I loved this cake. Each bite takes you on a tastebud-rollercoaster: first there's the fudgy chocolate cake, then the chewy and sometimes crispy brownie filling (if you get part of a brownie edge), followed by the satin smooth chocolate ganache. A glass of milk (or if you're not big on milk like me, a big glass of water) is highly recommended.
  • Although the cakes deflated and sunk a bit, I saw it as an opportunity to fill this "empty space" with 1/2 to 2/3 of the brownie crumble :o)
  • I used a thin knife which I dipped in hot water before cutting the cake for neat looking slices.
  • The food processor is your friend when you need finely chopped chocolate, whether it's for cake decoration or making ganache.
  • Don't forget to check out the other SMS bakers on the blog roll. Also, you might want to consider joining us. It's a lot of fun :o)


  1. Your cake turned out fabulous; I really like the white chocolate contrast and the visible brownie layer inside. Also, thanks for the tip on putting the chocolate in the food processor; between the cake and the brownies, I chopped a ton of chocolate this week!

  2. I love your photos and post. So glad you joined us. Love the addition of white, your cake looks so elegant.

  3. Your cake looks just fabulous!! I love that you took the opportunity to fill in any gaps with the brownie ganache!! Mmm, mmm. So glad you liked this week's recipe!!

  4. Your cake looks wonderful Hanaa! I added some white chocolate to my cake too for a little more decoration :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I love the white chocolate on top! Nice job!

  6. It looks like a giant black and white cookie! I love it!

  7. Sorry, that was me posting the above comment. I hit the send button too fast!

  8. Thank you so much for stopping by and your kind comments! I had tons of fun making this cake and am very happy I joined the SMS baking club.

  9. Love how your cake evokes a "black and white"! Great tips, love the post. I agree about the brownie chunks - I too went with 1/2 in but then saw Elyse's brilliant solution.

  10. Thanks Nancy. I froze the remaining 2/3 of the brownies, so next time I make this, I will definitely go with Elyse's solution.


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