Christmas and the Vintage Brownie Surprise Cake

Happy belated Christmas!

Christmas is winding down around here, and there's much putting away to be done, and many cookbooks to look through!  (I think cookbooks are becoming an obsession . . .)
But for now, there's plenty of time to enjoy everything and the end of the Christmas season.  Oh, and cupcakes and cookies and all the other Christmas goodies!

Now, of course, I did some baking before Christmas but there was so much to do, so many people to see and so many places to go, that I haven't had the time to tell you about it.

So here we go!

First of all, I started the dough for my annual Finnish Coffee Bread/Pulla!  I love this bread so much, and it's totally worth the work!  I wish I had more time to make it throughout the year, but this way it's so much more special at Christmas!

While that was rising/baking/etc., I may-or-may-not have gotten myself a cake baking "job" during the week before Christmas.  I thought to myself, "oh, I'll have plenty of time, I'll be on break!"  Yeah.  About that.

Lest I sound like I am complaining about making a cake (banish the thought!), I am not.  I had a great time making it.  I'm just a little blown away still at how busy last week was!  Somehow Christmas snuck up on me this year.  Then again, looking at my past Christmas posts, it always does.

Anyhow, cakes.  Because there was a second cake the following day.  More on that later.

Because this cake was a commission, and I had NO IDEA what the birthday girl liked, let alone wanted, I went fairly basic, and vintage, since I know that's her style.  Or I think it is.  Something like that.

First, I made a round brownie.  But, wait, I thought this was a cake, LBMS!  What are you talking about?

Stick with me here.  Then, I made two layers of White Velvet cake.

On top of the brownies went a mixture of chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk.

Then, the whole thing was slathered in cream cheese frosting!

My only complaint was that the frosting just barely covered.  The site I used showed a lovely cake covered in frosting swirls (to get the "vintage" effect), but I did not have any frosting leftover.  Oh well.

Again, I can't vouch for taste, since I didn't eat any, but it looked pretty cool when I put it all together!
Praying you and your families had a wonderful Christmas, filled with the reality of the Savior's birth!

Vintage Brownie Surprise Cake 
adapted from Crazy for Crust
brownie layer from Joy the Baker
white velvet cake from

Brownie layer:

1 2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup butter
2 tbsp. coffee
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan lined with foil.

Combine the cocoa powder and butter in a small heat safe bowl, and place over a pot of simmering water.  The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Add coffee and stir to melt the ingredients together.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together.  Add the vanilla, and once the chocolate and butter mixture has melted and come together, add this mixture into the sugar mixture.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt, then stir.  Add the nuts, if desired.

Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for 18-25 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 30-45 minutes, then flip out of the pan using the foil onto the cake plate.

White Velvet cake layers:

2 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3 tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Grease and flour two nine-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Beat the vegetable oil, shortening and vanilla with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

Alternate folding in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  When no lumps remain, pour into the prepared pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes, then turn onto racks to cool completely.


2 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
7 oz. (1/2 14 oz. can) sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Place the chocolate chips and condensed milk into a small microwavable bowl.  Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until smooth.  Let sit 5 minutes.

Pour the chocolate sauce over the brownies.  It's ok if it pours slightly over the sides.  Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla with a mixer until smooth.

Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating until light and fluffy.  Add the milk 1 tbsp. at a time until the frosting is the desired consistency.

Place a white cake layer on top of the cooled brownie and sauce.  Frost the top with a thin layer of frosting.  Place the second white cake layer on top of this.  Frost the entire cake with a very thin layer -- a crumb coat so the outer layer won't be full of crumbs and chocolate.

Chill until the frosting is set, then coat the cake with the remaining frosting.


Popular Posts