Let me introduce you to Calorie Mountain. It may leave you feeling slightly queasy if you try to conquer it. Last week was Regex Man's birthday. His birthday has been the inspiration for many epic cakes on this blog including the mint chocolate chip cake and the fruit tingle cake. This time I went a leeeeetle beeeet overboard. Regex Man's favourite Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavour is Half Baked, so I decided to do a Half Baked flavour inspired cake; (brace yourself) Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake layered with Cookie Dough Buttercream and topped with Fudge Brownies. It's ridiculously rich and completely over the top, but hey we live in a world of bacon ice cream and deep fried Coke.
Trust me, you want to have very small slices of this cake at a time. It's incredibly sweet and rich, but I tried to reduce the sugar where I could and used salted butter to try and balance it out. But even then with all the sugar and chocolate it's incredibly decadent. Only someone with superhuman cake-eating abilities like Regex Man would get a cake like this.
The cookie dough buttercream is SO good, it's the same one from Annie's Eats that I used in these macarons, it tastes just like cookie dough. I went a little crazy with the amount of mini chocolate chips that I mixed into the icing, so feel free to adjust the amount of chocolate chips that you use in it. The brownies are super easy to make and they have that crisp outer layer and dense, fudgey innards that you want from a brownie. The cake recipe is a very reliable marble cake recipe which uses buttermilk, which ensures that it stays soft and doesn't dry out at all.
It might be a while before you see the next recipe post from me after this week, as I'm taking a much-needed break for my Chinese wedding and honeymoon. But don't despair, I'm not abandoning my blog, not for a single week! I have several exciting posts lined up, including some fabulous guest bloggers who were lovely enough to come up with some amazing recipes to share on this blog. For the meantime, enjoy this crazy cake and by the time I come back I hope to be invigorated and ready to jump back into the kitchen.
'Half Baked' Fudge Brownie & Cookie Dough Cake
For the cake:
115g (1 stick) butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing
300g (1 3/4 cups) cake flour (not self-rising, I used 270g plain flour + 30g (3 1/2 tbsp) cornflour/cornstarch as per these instructions)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225g (1 cup) sugar (I used caster sugar)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
For the buttercream:
250g (about 2 1/4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 cups (about 315g) icing/confectioners' sugar, sifted
2/3 cup (about 85g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g (about 1 cup) mini chocolate chips or finely chopped pieces of milk chocolate
For the brownies:
200g (7oz) good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
200g (1.75 sticks) butter, chopped
3 eggs at room temp
2 egg yolks at room temp
200g (about 1 cup minus 2 tbsp) caster sugar
115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
35g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
Prepare the brownies first (can be done a day ahead); preheat oven to 160°C (320°F). Brush a 16 x 26cm (base measurement) slab pan with melted butter. Line with non-stick baking paper, allowing sides to overhang. This stops it sticking to the pan and makes the brownie easy to remove from the pan. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch water), stirring regularly. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a jug until combined. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly before adding the egg mixture. If the chocolate mixture is too hot, the egg may start to cook and scramble. Stir to combine.
Combine the sugar and flour in a large bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until just combined - over-stirring can make your cooked brownies tough. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre. Don't over-bake your brownies or they can dry out. Cool in tin, then store in an airtight container for at least 6 hours or overnight. This helps the brownie to set.
Bake the cake; preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), grease and line the base of two 18cm round cake tins with baking paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and use a whisk to combine, set aside. Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add eggs one at a time until combined, scraping down the sides of a bowl with a spatula when needed. Add vanilla and beat again until combined. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Place 1/3 of the mixture in a separate bowl. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa and boiling water, whisking until it is smooth. Gently mix into the separated bowl of cake batter until combined. Spoon half the vanilla batter and half the mocha batter into the prepared cake tin, and the other half of each batter into the other prepared tin, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and mocha to simulate a checkerboard. Run a table knife through the batter in each tin to create a swirl effect. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then remove from tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Cakes can be made the night before assembly, wrapped in clingfilm and chilled.
Prepare the buttercream; beat together the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high. Mix in the icing sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly mixed. Place one cake layer on a cake stand and cover the top of the cake with a layer of the buttercream, smoothing with an offset spatula. Sandwich second cake layer on top. Cover entire cake with the remaining buttercream, smoothing with the offset spatula. Cut brownies into small squares and pile on top of cake (you don't have to use all of them). (Optionally) Melt 100g chocolate and drizzle over the top of the brownie pile. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.