Hands on time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes
Once upon a time I worked in a bakery and baked these fudgy brownies every day. With melted chocolate under my fingernails, we would nibble on the cut away corners and edges all day long. It was a tough job but someone had to do it.
I’ve changed it up a bit and added a touch of espresso since it makes brownies taste even more chocolatey along with my favorite chocoholic add-in… orange zest. Orange and chocolate are a classic flavor pairing and that unexpected orangey zest takes these fudgy slices to the next level of delish. And don’t even get me started on the chocolate buttercream. You can decorate the cake as I have here or just slather it on with abandon. It will be delicious either way.
It’s that easy: The double whammy of cocoa powder and melted chocolate is what makes these brownies so addictive. Experiment with other flavor add ins like a teaspoon or so of chipotle chili powder or a tablespoon of liquors like Canton (ginger) or Cointreau.
Makes one 8-inch round
10 tablespoons plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one 1/2 orange
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz melted bittersweet or dark chocolate
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line an 8-inch round pan with parchment paper and butter and flour it knocking out the excess flour
In a mixer bowl, cream together the 10 tablespoons butter, sugar and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
While the butter and sugar mix, combine the cocoa powder with the flour, salt, espresso powder (if using) and baking powder. Stir with a whisk to combine it and set aside.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time along with the vanilla and 2 ounces of the melted chocolate. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and mix another few seconds. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture in two additions and mix just until combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until no longer jiggly in the center. Cool brownies in the pan on a rack.
To make the butter cream, beat the remaining butter with the confectioner’s sugar with a mixer on medium speed. Lower the speed and blend in the remaining melted chocolate. If the icing is too loose, add more confectioner’s sugar. If it’s too tight, add a teaspoon or so of milk.
Turn the cake out of the pan and peel away the parchment. Set it right side up on a serving plate and ice decoratively with the chocolate buttercream.
Make-ahead: The brownie cake can be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and refrigerated.
In the glass: Ever tried port with chocolate? It’s delicious. Look for a tawny port in the wine department or ask the wine guy for help in choosing a port that will go with bittersweet chocolate. You’re going to love it.