Cooking Off the Books: King Arthur Flour’s Cakey Brownies

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You know I think you are pretty swell if I bake for you.  It’s a thing I inherited from my grandmother.  You bake to show you care. A friend recently mentioned that they loved anything chocolate…and specifically brownies…cakey brownies…

WTF…cakey brownies?!

I don’t make cakey brownies…isn’t that just, well, eating a chocolate cake?  Why oh why do you want cakey brownies when I have ZERO experience with or recipes for cakey brownies..FFS!

Since I am a competitive people pleaser that is always up for a baking challenge, I immediately went to work. Jamie Oliver was lacking a brownie recipe so I was forced to cook off the books.

I started researching and came across a recipe from King Arthur Flour.  It had rather favourable comments/ratings and King Arthur Flour recipes have a good reputation, so I figured this one was gonna be a winner.

I immediately got to work, melting, mixing, etc.  The recipe was easy enough to follow.  The Dutch-process cocoa powder may throw people off.  For Canadians, you can find it at your local Bulk Barn store – called Ruddy Red Cocoa (and p.s. I love using Dutch-process cocoa powder for things, but beware, it cannot be used interchangeably in recipes because CHEMISTRY – read here for more from the queen of baking,  Joy the Baker).

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The batter was deceivingly delish

The recipe took forever to cook…about 15 or so minutes longer than the recipe stated it would take.  And, when done, it simply looked like a sheet cake, vs brownies.  There was none of that crisp looking crackled top.  It tasted and felt like a bland chocolate cake.  So bland that I whipped up some last minute buttercream to top these “brownies” with so I could take them to work and have them be at least somewhat enjoyable to eat…and well, to me, this seemed sacrilegious because, in my opinion a good brownie does NOT need frosting. Note I said NEED.  If you like frosting on your brownies fill your boots, but I believe it should be a nice enhancement…not a necessity for it to taste good.

 

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Yes, I used the Disney sprinkles!

Overall, I would not recommend this recipe, so the search for a good cakey brownie, which may be abandoned for a good brownie, period with the hope that it is so good that the cakey vs fudgy aspect is completely forgotten.

Will keep you all, our fearless readers, in the loop on my challenge to find a perfect brownie.

Recipe Rating: 2 knives out of 5

Om, nom, nom,

Lisa

*****

King Arthur Flour’s Cakey Brownies

Yield: 2 dozen squares

  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter*, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups (447g) sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup (106g)  Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder/instant coffee, optional; for enhanced chocolate flavor
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups (177g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (113g) chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 1 cup (170g) chocolate chips, optional
  • *If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.  I lined mine with foil to make it easier to remove.  Shiny side down, then greased the foil.
  2. Combine the melted butter and sugar, stirring until smooth.
  3.  Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, vanilla, and espresso powder.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl, then add the water, stirring until smooth.
  5. Add the flour, nuts, and chips, stirring until thoroughly combined.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached. The brownies should feel set both on the edges and in the center.
  8. Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them on a rack before cutting and serving. Glaze or frost, if desired.
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