The ultimate chocolate brownie cake made with fudgy brownies frosted with whipped chocolate and vanilla cream cheese frosting and more brownie chunks in between.
I don’t know about you but when I think of a brownie cake, I think of a gorgeous, show-stopping stack of brownies frosted with whipped fluffy frosting. The brownies are rich, chewy and moist and the frosting is whipped tangy and sweet.
I paired my brownies with a cream cheese frosting because brownies are generally more rich and sweet than traditional cake layers. I felt the cream cheese would kind of balance the sweetness a little with it’s tanginess.
Why you’ll love this brownie cake
- It’s unique and like none other.
- Four layers of fudgy brownies that are made using one bowl and one pan.
- Couldn’t decide between chocolate or vanilla frosting so there’s both and they’re made from one batch!
- More brownie chunks between the layers of frosting.
- The cake recipe is very forgiving and allows for many substitutions and dietary restrictions.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Flour: I use all purpose flour in most of my recipes and I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour (and cocoa) is so often over measured.
- Sugar: I used granulated sugar and brown sugar in the brownies and powdered sugar in the frostings.
- Cocoa Powder: I like to use dutch-processed cocoa powder but natural cocoa powder also works. Again, I recommend using a scale to measure this out.
- Make sure you’re not using any kind of sweetened cocoa powder.
- Butter: I used Danish Creamery’s European Style Unsalted Butter. I LOVE this butter because it’s 85% butterfat. The higher fat content makes the frosting extra creamy and the brownies extra fudgy.
- Salted butter also works in the brownies, just omit the extra salt.
- Eggs: make sure to use room temperature, large eggs, about 55-60g each.
- Pop them in hot water for a few minutes if they’re cold.
- Heavy whipping cream: I like to add heavy whipping cream to my frosting and whip it for a couple of minutes to really get it nice and fluffy.
- You can also use milk but it won’t give it the exact same fluffy texture. I would start with half the milk though and see how the texture of the frosting is before adding more.
- Vanilla: Any vanilla extract is fine to use in the brownies but I like to use vanilla bean paste for frostings.
Step 1: Make the brownies by melting the Danish Creamery European Style Unsalted Butter. Whisk it aggressively with the sugars and the eggs, until it’s pale and ribbons off the whisk, this may take a few minutes.
Step 2: Add the cocoa powder and the salt, and whisk aggressively again until it’s well combined.
Step 3: Add the flour and whisk just until the last streak of flour is combined.
Step 4: Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. The edges will be fully set and the center should still be really soft but should no longer look wet on top and should not feel like liquid. When you touch the center, it should feel like it’s beginning to set underneath.
Step 5: Once the brownies have cooled use a 6 inch round cake cutter (or outline with a 6 inch cake pan and trim with a knife) to cut out the brownie layers.
Step 6: Cut the scraps of the brownies into small little brownie chunks, about the size of an M&M.
Step 7: To make the frosting, whip the Danish Creamery European Style Unsalted Butter at full speed, until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and beat until they’re combined. Then add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed just until it comes together. Increase the speed to high for a few minutes and then reduce the speed to medium-low and stream in the heavy cream and vanilla bean paste. Beat for 1-2 more minutes until it’s smooth, creamy and fluffy.
Step 8: Remove 1/3 of the frosting (about 10 ounces) and add the cocoa powder and the rest of the cream to it, mixing just until it’s smooth and creamy.
Step 9: Assemble the cake by placing the first layer of brownie on a flat surface. Frost with the chocolate frosting and then place some brownie chunks on top. Frost with the vanilla frosting and place another layer of brownie cake on top. Repeat until it’s done and refrigerate until it’s set.
Step 10: Frost the outside of the cake with the vanilla frosting and add some dabs of chocolate to lightly marble it. Top with leftover brownie chunks.
How to know when brownies are done baking
When the top of the brownies are no longer wet and have formed a thin little crackle on top, gently press on it and it should still feel soft but you should be able to feel some resistance.
When you move the pan, if the batter jiggles, it’s definitely not done baking. You want to be able to touch the top of the brownies and feel some resistance. It should feel like a brownie that’s a little “too gooey but almost perfect”.
At this point, you’ll remove them from the oven and they will continue to bake as they’re cooling. If they’re fully set when you remove them from the oven, they won’t be very fudgy once they’re completely cooled so make sure they feel a little ‘under-baked’.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s be real, nothing compares to Danish Creamery European style butter but you can use dairy free butter, dairy free milk/buttermilk to make any of my cakes. You can also use a dairy free cream cheese, butter and heavy cream to make the frosting.
All my cake recipes work well with a 1:1 gluten-free flour. Make sure to use one that already has xanthan gum added.
You can make this cake in:
I used an 11×15 inch sheet pan and I had a little wiggle room, so something just slightly smaller (like 1 inch off) should still work. Just measure out to see if you can still cut out four cake rounds.
You can also bake this in five 6 inch pans but then your brownie cake layers will all have “edge pieces” which some may desire but I don’t lol. I’m 100% a “middle brownie” person.
You can also use round or square 8 inch pans to make it three 8 inch layers
I know many people are picky about their buttercreams, as am I, that’s why I wrote my cookbook, Frosted. If you’re not into the super sweet frosting, feel free to swap it with any frosting from my book or Swiss meringue buttercream or my French Buttercream.
You can also sub the cream cheese for an extra stick of butter (and a couple more tablespoons of heavy cream) for a traditional American buttercream.
How to make ahead
To make the brownies ahead of time: You can make the brownies layers even a month in advance. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool for about half an hour, cut your layers, and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Then place them in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air.
Bring back to room temperature before frosting. If you frost them while they’re frozen, the frosting may set way too quickly from the cold cake and make it difficult to spread.
To make the frosting ahead of time: I don’t prefer to make frosting ahead of time as it can be temperature sensitive but it’s doable. You can cover it and store it in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze for a few weeks. Make sure to bring it back to room temperature before frosting the cake. You may have to re-whip it.
How to store finished cake
I usually just cover my cakes with a cake dome or place it in an airtight container and store it at room temperature for 1-2 days HOWEVER, cream cheese frosting as to be refrigerated so make sure to store it in the fridge overnight. Feel free to bring it back to room temperature before serving though.
It’ll stay well covered in the fridge for about a week but it dries out quicker than the freezer so I recommend freezing after a few days.
To freeze the whole cake, refrigerate it until it’s firm. Then wrap it in plastic wrap so it’s completely covered. Then wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze.
To freeze slices, place the slices in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. You could also wrap each slice with plastic wrap and then place them all in the freezer bag.
Bring it back to room temperature by thawing at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.
If you make this crazy indulgent brownie cake, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please let me know why in the review! 🙂
As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!
Brownie Cake Layers
- 1 1/2 cups (340g) Danish Creamery European Style Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled (I use dutch processed)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 3/4 cups (210g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 cup (227g) Danish Creamery Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 cups (720g) powdered sugar, spooned and leveled
- tiny pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (60mL) (reserving 1 Tbsp for just the chocolate buttercream) heavy whipping cream, room temperature,
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled (I used dutch processed)
Brownie Cake Layers
- Preheat the oven to 325F (163C) and grease and line an 11x15* inch sheet pan with baking spray and parchment paper (leave an overhang and clip with metal binder clips to easily remove brownies).
- Place the melted Danish Creamery Unsalted Butter, the sugars, the eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl (I used a stand mixer). Use an electric mixer, at full speed, to beat them together until the mixture is super pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cocoa powder and salt and beat until it’s completely smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and edge of the bowl.
- Add the flour and beat at low speed, just until the flour is incorporated, make sure to scrape the bottom and edge of the bowl again.
- Spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. The edges should look baked and the center should no longer be wet. When you touch it, it should feel very soft but like it’s set underneath.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30-60 minutes, then refrigerate it for 30-60 minutes before cutting out the brownie circles.
- Place the room temperature butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the color turns to a pale yellow.
- Add in the cream cheese and beat at medium speed for a minute, just until they're combined.
- Add the powdered sugar and salt and mix on low speed, just until it's combined. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the buttercream for 2-3 minutes, until all of the sugar is fully dissolved and the buttercream no longer feels gritty.
- Pour in 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream (reserve 1 Tbsp) and vanilla bean paste and beat for another 1-2 minutes on high speed.
- Place about 1/3 of the frosting (about 10ish ounces) into another bowl and add the cocoa powder and the rest of the heavy whipping cream to it. Mix just until it’s combined and smooth.
- If the frostings feels too soft to frost with, refrigerate them for 10-15 minutes before assembling the cake.
- Once the brownie layers have chilled a bit, use a round 6 inch cutter (or just use a 6 inch pan to measure and a knife to cut) four layers. I went as close to the center as I could because I didn’t want the edge pieces in the cake (they’re more chewy and don’t slice as easily).
- Remove the four layers of brownie cake and then chop up the scrap brownie pieces into smaller chunks (again I used as little of the edge as possible).
- Place the first layer of brownie cake on a flat surface. Spread a layer of chocolate frosting and place some brownie chunks on top of the frosting.
- Spread some vanilla cream cheese frosting on top of the brownie chunks and then place another layer of cake on top. Repeat with the rest of the layers.
- Refrigerate the cake for 30-60 minutes and then frost the outside of the cake with the vanilla frosting.
- Dab some chocolate spots to create a soft marbling effect and use an offset spatula or a spoon to create some swirls on top. Top with leftover brownie chunks.
*can also use a pan of similar size, just make sure you can cut out four 6 inch circles.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 960Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 209mgSodium: 605mgCarbohydrates: 179gFiber: 4gSugar: 141gProtein: 12g
Nutrition information may not be fully accurate.