I wanted chocolate cake for my birthday. I knew I wasn’t going to get it, and that was going to be OK. It was actually better than OK. My cousin and her husband hosted me in Boston for my birthday weekend, and I had the great gift of them sharing some of their life with me.
As part of the celebration after the birthday DAY dinner (there was another to come), they shared one of their favorite cakes. It was not a classic birthday cake. It was light and fluffy and bundt-shaped. It was a coffee cake…wonderfully cinnamon scented and delicious. It was perfect. The whole long weekend was perfection.
And when I got home, I still wanted chocolate cake for my birthday. I do take the entire month of February for birthday celebration, so I still had plenty of time.
Here was the thing: I wanted chocolate cake, I didn’t want to share it.
What? That’s totally unlike me. One, I like to share. Two, I like people to “ooo” and “aaah” over my stuff, and three, I love to share.
Sharing food is a trait for which I have a long history. My college dorm lounge had a kitchenette in which I made many of my own meals. A very good and long-time friend of mine noted, “When we knew you were cooking, everybody would come into the lounge with their plates.” No plate left empty.
Since I came into my baking passion later, I do love the “ooo-aaah” factor. The truth is that everything hasn’t always been worthy of the “aaah” part of that, but I appreciate feedback. Feedback is important to grow and improve.
But this year I wanted the solo joy of just celebrating myself.
Now, yes, I could have found a bakery and bought just a slice of cake. But I didn’t know any of the bakeries in this area where I could be guaranteed to get what I wanted. Plus, I wanted a whole birthday cake. So, I thought, I’m gonna make one. Just for me.
I spent much time working out exactly how I was going to make my perfect chocolate cake for one, and I went shopping for all of the just right ingredients. And now that everything is right here and right ready for me to make my perfect chocolate cake…I WANT CHOCOLATE NOW!!! Baking two perfect layers, waiting for them to cool, making and spreading the filling, then the icing, waiting for it all to set was going to take hours. I don’t want to wait hours. I want to have it now.
Hence, my very own creation, The Double Chocolate Birthday Brownie. Oh. My. Stars.
This is not a brownie for the faint of heart. The chocolate flavor is rich and intense. The top crust is lightly crisp, while the sides are chewy, and the inside is deliciously fudgy. While this brownie may not look like the birthday cake I had planned, it more than makes up for its humble look in its spectacular flavor.
Happy birthday to me!
The Double Chocolate Birthday Brownie – Serves 1
- 1 Tbsp. + 2 ¼ tsp. flour
- 3 ½ Tsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. espresso powder
- 1/8 tsp. baking powder
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ½ Tbsp. Canola oil
- 2 Tbsp. cream or milk*
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 ½ Tbsp. chopped chocolate or chocolate mini-chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking ramekin and line the bottom with parchment paper. (I used a one cup ramekin.)
2. Use a fork and mix together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and espresso powder.
3. Mix together egg yolk with the oil and ONE tablespoon of cream and vanilla extract.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined. Add second tablespoon of cream if needed.
5. Stir in chocolate.
6. Scoop batter into the ramekin and bake for 25-30 minutes…until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out lightly moist. *This is a “feel” moment. To keep the brownie fudgy, it should be slightly underbaked. For a more chewy finish, bake several more minutes until the toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. But once the brownie begins to get where you want it, check it every couple of minutes.
7. Let cool in the dish for a few minutes before removing. Let it cool to room temperature or enjoy it warm out of the dish!!
Note: If you don’t use parchment paper on the bottom, don’t let the brownie sit in the ramekin too long or it may stick.
Tip: I used a plastic knife to loosen the brownie from the sides. It doesn’t scratch the ceramic or glass.
Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I will only endorse products or services reviewed through my own experience. Featured recipes tagged ‘adapted from’ have been modified and tested by me. Any recipe that I have not personally tested will be noted. Please send reprint requests to [email protected].