It’s August when berries, peaches, and plums reach their juicy peak. That means fruity desserts come first – and chocolate, which is otherwise so forever popular, seems to take a back seat by the onset of autumn. But while I can see the argument for a tart, jammy fruit crumble over a decadent chocolate layer cake at 90 degrees outside, it doesn’t hold up when it’s topped with the classic brownie. Because brownies, that should go without saying, don’t know any season.

In the past, chocolate was never my favorite flavor – unless it was a brownie. I have fond memories of the two-bite brownies (the ones that get along.) Plastic box) I ate as a kid, as did the sublime brownies and peanut butter chips my mom made (also out of a box) when I was home during college breaks. In the ice cream alley, I am automatically drawn to every pint that contains brownies in the form of chunks, crumbles or dough. I will also passionately advocate the superiority of the centerpiece to anyone who listens (lovers of the tough edge, we can agree to disagree).

Aside from my personal love for these goodies, one of the greatest things about brownies is that they are always stylish and they are a crowd pleaser for almost any occasion all year round. So in an effort to make good even better (and inspired by the Smitten Kitchen sunken Black Forest cake and Belgian brownie cake) I turned the iconic hand dessert into a bowl-and-snow cake recipe, why not?

This playful, single-layer brownie cake is made with sweet rice flour, which creates a moist, fudgy texture similar to a flourless chocolate cake, but with a little more bite. The cake’s own richness is tempered by a malt-milk whipped cream that I came up with after stumbling upon it Chocolate malted milk powder in business. The sweet creamy dots remind me of a chocolate milkshake and the topping is the perfect way to complement and balance out the more intense chocolatey portion of the brownie cake (just make sure the cake is completely cool before you cover it with the cream to avoid a liquid mess). To finish off, I like to add a garnish of sprinkles (for fun and color) and chopped oreos (for textural contrast and a touch of nostalgia). All in all, this is basically a cake pan party whose only wish is that you BYO big petite.

Round chocolate cake with light brown whipped cream and sprinkles on top;  a disk was taken out.

© 2021 Celeste Night

Fudgy brownie cake with chocolate and malted milk whipped cream

Makes an 8-inch round cake


For the cake:

1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter
½ cup (85 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons (100 g) of sweet rice flour, such as mochiko
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (40 g) cocoa powder using the Dutch method
½ teaspoon of baking powder
¾ teaspoon of kosher salt
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (22g) chocolate malted milk powder, such as This one here
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
½ cup (120 g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

For the whipped cream:

1 cup of whipped cream, cold
¼ cup chocolate malt milk powder

For the set:

Crumble and / or chopped oreos


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom with a round of parchment, and grease the parchment.

Step 2: Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water (1 to 5 inches deep is fine) to a simmer. Chop the butter into large pieces and mix with the chocolate chips in a large, heat-resistant bowl. Place the bowl over the pan of boiling water and gently melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula.

Step 3: Remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, mix the sweet rice flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

Step 4: Add sugar and malt milk powder to the melted butter and chocolate mixture and whisk.

Step 5: Stir in egg and yolk, then vanilla extract. Finally, add the sour cream and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

Step 6: Gradually add the dry ingredients and stir until everything is mixed and there are no lumps left.

Step 7: Transfer the dough to the prepared form and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes by turning the sheet in half until the top looks firm. (It’s okay if a toothpick doesn’t come out clean as we want the cake to be a little under baked, like a good brownie.)

Step 8: Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes, then use a small offset spatula to gently run around the edge to loosen it. Gently transfer the cake to a rack to cool completely.

Step 9: Prepare the whipped cream for serving: Put the cream and malted milk powder in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the ingredients until the cream comes together and medium to stiff peaks form.

Step 10: Brush the cake with a generous amount of whipped cream and top with sprinkles and / or chopped oreos.

Joy Cho is a Brooklyn pastry chef and freelance writer. After Joy lost her job as a pastry chef at the start of the pandemic, she started Joy Cho pastries, an Instagram store that sells her gem cakes to the New York City area. Celeste night is a Filipino-American food, travel, and portrait photographer based in Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco.
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