This brownie cake is the ultimate chocolate dessert! The cake layers are a perfect combination of thick, fudgy brownie texture yet light and fluffy like a chocolate cake. The whipped chocolate ganache frosting is rich with chocolate, not overly sweet, and seriously irresistible!
Lovers of chocolate will adore this chocolate brownie cake! The cake layers are thicker and fudgier than a typical chocolate cake, but lighter and fluffier than a typical brownie. The whipped chocolate ganache is made with simple ingredients and is absolutely divine on this cake! It is light, not overly sweet, and spreads and pipes perfectly.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- All-purpose flour: For the best results use a kitchen scale to weigh the flour, or lightly spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level off the top.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: For more depth of flavor, try switching out a few teaspoons of the cocoa powder for some instant espresso powder. You won't be able to taste the coffee, but it really enhances the chocolate flavor!
- Baking soda: Just enough to lift the cake slightly while still being thick and fudgy.
- Salt: Leave out the added salt if your butter is salted.
- Unsalted butter: 1 and ½ cups, or 3 sticks.
- Semi-sweet or dark chocolate: Nothing too sweet! The chocolate is used for flavor, not to sweeten the cake. Bar-style chocolate is best, but chocolate chips can also be used.
- Brown sugar: The molasses in brown sugar gives the cake an extra chewy, fudgy texture!
- Eggs: 4 large eggs, room temperature.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor!
- Sour cream: Adds moisture and cuts down on the sweetness of the cake. Plain full-fat yogurt can also be used.
- Coffee: Regular or decaf. The coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate, you can also substitute with water or whole milk.
- More chocolate: Chopped or chocolate chips, folded into the brownie cake batter.
WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- Heavy whipping cream: A basic chocolate ganache is made with heavy cream and chocolate. Make sure the cream doesn't boil when heated, otherwise your ganache will turn out grainy!
- Brown sugar or granulated sugar: Optional, depending on how sweet you want the frosting to be!
- Salt: Optional.
- Semi-sweet chocolate: Use good quality bar-style chocolate and chop it into small, even pieces. I don't recommend using chocolate chips since they don't melt as easily and the ganache is more likely to split or become grainy when whipped. Semi-sweet chocolate makes a more stable ganache, however milk chocolate can also be used. If using milk chocolate leave out the added sugar since it's already sweet enough on its own.
HOW TO MAKE BROWNIE CAKE
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly spray the inside of three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
1. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl over a double boiler, or melt in the microwave in 15-second intervals until smooth. Let cool slightly, then whisk in the brown sugar and the vanilla extract until well combined.
3. Add the room temperature eggs one at a time and mix until just combined after each.
4. Add about half of the dry ingredients, then add the coffee (or milk) and sour cream.
5. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients until just combined and the batter is smooth. Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.
Divide the cake batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans.
Bake the cake layers in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean but with a few cakey crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, take the cake layers out of the pan, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge or freezer before frosting.
WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1. Chop the semi-sweet chocolate into small, even-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the heavy cream, brown sugar, and salt to a saucepan and place the pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, do not let the cream boil or it can curdle and the ganache won't whip properly.
2. Pour the warm cream mixture over the chopped chocolate. Use a rubber spatula to stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Set aside and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. The ganache should be somewhat set.
3. Use an electric mixer to beat the ganache on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy and thick. Stop every 30 seconds to check the consistency. Be careful not to over whip or the ganache will become grainy.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer facing up on a serving plate or cake board. Spread an even layer of the whipped chocolate ganache frosting over the top, then place a second cake layer, top side facing down, on top. Add more frosting, and place the third cake layer, top side down, on top. Cover the outside of the cake with a thin layer of frosting.
To decorate, drizzle some melted chocolate ganache over the top of the cake and pipe more whipped chocolate ganache around the outside edges.
HOW TO STORE BROWNIE CAKE
Once covered with ganache frosting, store the cake at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge for 1 week. You can also freeze the decorated cake or undecorated cake layers for 2 months.
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE
- Use dark or semi-sweet chocolate: Using milk chocolate will add unnecessary sweetness and take away from the rich chocolate flavor in the cake.
- Use room temperature eggs. Room temperature eggs mix more easily into the batter without overmixing. To quickly bring the eggs to room temperature, place them in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 5 minutes.
- Don't overmix the dry ingredients. Overmixing develops gluten in the batter which can lead to a tough, spongy texture. When you add the dry ingredients, mix until just combined with no pockets of flour remaining.
- Chill your cake layers completely before frosting. To make frosting the cake even easier, I recommend wrapping the individual cake layers with plastic wrap and chilling in the freezer overnight.
- Use bar-style chocolate for the ganache frosting. Chocolate chips don't melt as smoothly and are more likely to seize or become grainy when whipped.
- Don't over whip the ganache. Just like when you whip cream, whipped ganache can go from perfectly light and fluffy to split in a matter of seconds. Mix the ganache on low speed and check the consistency every 30 seconds.
HOW TO FIX A BROKEN GANACHE
Whipped chocolate ganache should be smooth, fluffy, and thick. The most common causes of a broken ganache are using the wrong kind of chocolate, overheating the cream, or overwhipping. If the ganache splits or turns grainy, gently reheat it over a double boiler until melted and smooth. Allow to chill for 20 minutes before whipping again.
MORE BROWNIE RECIPES
- Brownie Bites
- Almond Flour Fudge Brownies
- White Chocolate Brownie Blondies
- Red Velvet Brownies
- Matcha White Chocolate Brownies
- 3 (8-inch) round cake pans
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 and ½ cups unsalted butter*, 3 sticks
- 12 ounces (1 and ½ cups) semi-sweet or dark chocolate, bar-style chopped or chocolate chips
- 2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup coffee (regular or decaf) or milk
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 4 ounces (½ cup) semi-sweet, dark, or milk chocolate, bar-style chopped or chocolate chips, for folding into the cake batter
Whipped Chocolate Ganache
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, bar-style, not chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly spray three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the butter and 12 ounces chocolate to a large bowl. Melt over a double boiler or in the microwave in 15-second intervals until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Add the room temperature eggs one at a time and mix until just combined after each.
- Gently mix in about half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the coffee (or milk) and sour cream, then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined and the batter is smooth. Fold the remaining 4 ounces chopped chocolate or chocolate chips into the batter.
- Bake: Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out mostly clean but with a few cakey crumbs attached.
- Allow the cake layers to cool completely in the pan, then transfer to the fridge or freezer to chill before frosting the cake. To make frosting the cake easier, wrap the individual cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze overnight (and up to 2 months) before frosting.
Whipped Chocolate Ganache:
- Chop the semi-sweet chocolate into small, even-size pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Add the cream, brown sugar, and salt to a saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Do not let the cream boil.
- Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Use an electric mixer to whip the ganache until thick and fluffy. About 1-2 minutes. Stop mixing and check the consistency every 30 seconds. Be careful not to over whip the ganache or it will split and turn grainy.
- To frost the cake, place one cake layer on a cake stand or cake board. Cover the top with an even layer of the whipped chocolate ganache. Place a second cake layer on top and cover with more whipped chocolate ganache. Place a third cake layer on top and cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of whipped chocolate ganache. To decorate, drizzle some melted chocolate ganache on the top of the cake and pipe more frosting around the edges.