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chocolate brownie cake decorated with meringue ghosts, halloween brownies sitting on white cake stand with halloween decor

Chocolate Brownie Cake

Tara Kringlen
Three layers of rich, fudgy brownies form the base of this chocolate brownie cake. The cake is frosted with a silky smooth double chocolate buttercream frosting and covered in shiny chocolate ganache. Every bite is filled with indulgent chocolate deliciousness!
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Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 10 slices
Calories 978 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 cup (224 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (96 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (40 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate melted and slightly cooled

Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Meringue Ghosts

  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Decorations

  • 1 pan of baked brownies store bought or boxed mix is fine
  • Halloween cookie cutters
  • 4 oz white chocolate melted
  • Candy eyes

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 3, 6 inch cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until fully melted.
  • Stir in the sugars until well combined.
  • Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt and stir until just combined, without overmixing.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the 3 cake pans and smooth the tops.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out with moist crumbs and not shiny batter. Start checking the cakes around the 25 minute mark.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack in the pan. Then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely. If not using right away, the cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator overnight.

Buttercream

  • Beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat on low until fully incorporated. Add the cocoa powder on low speed and increasing to medium speed until combined.
  • Add the heavy cream and mix until creamy. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined.

Ganache

  • Wait to make the ganache until you are ready to decorate the cake. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 45 seconds.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and place a plate or plastic wrap over the bowl. Let it sit for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir the cream and chocolate until it is fully melted and completely combined. Let it cool for 5 minutes but not longer as it will become too thick to pour.

Meringue Ghosts

  • Line a baking sheet (or 2) with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract until foamy.
  • Once foamy, slowly add the sugar and continue beating on medium high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved and the meringue forms stiff peaks, about 5-6 minutes (more if using a hand mixer). To check if the sugar has dissolved, rub a small amount of meringue between two fingers. If it feels gritty, keep beating.
  • Fill a piping bag fit with a large round tip (or with just the tip of the bag cut off about ½ inch) with the meringue and holding the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, pipe mounds of meringue in whatever size you desire. I did about 2 inch ghosts and got about 24 meringues. Place the candy eyes on each ghost.
  • Bake the ghosts for 1.5 hours until they are dry to the touch. Turn the oven off and let them continue to dry out for another 2-3 hours.
  • Store them in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Assembly

  • After the cakes have cooled completely, place the first layer on a cake stand or platter. Spread a layer of frosting on top of the cake and then top with the next cake layers and repeat. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the tops and sides and then refrigerate for 15-30 minutes (this is known as a crumb coat to keep crumbs out of the final layer of frosting).
  • Frost the top and outside of the cake, smoothing the frosting as you go.
  • Pour the ganache into the middle of the cake and use a spatula to push it to the edges, letting it drip over the cake.
  • Use the halloween cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the baked brownies (if desired). Decorate the brownies with white chocolate (if desired).
  • Use the white chocolate to make a spider web design over the ganache. Decorate with the brownies, meringue ghosts or any other decorations you desire.
  • Refrigerate the cake until you are ready to serve it. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour prior to serving.

Notes

  • Prep time/bake time does not include meringue ghosts or additional brownies for decoration.
  • Inspired by Handle the Heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 978kcal
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