There’s nothing more surprising that cutting a slice of cake and finding something pleasantly unexpected. I’ve seen many a cake with hidden polka dots and yummy fruit fillings, but this secret brownie layer and chocolate sauce takes the SURPRISE element to the next level. My mom’s birthday always falls right around Thanksgiving, so she always feels a little down that she has to share her day with a big fat turkey. This year to help her cope, I decided to surprise her with a birthday cake at our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Not only was the cake a surprise, but the so was that oh sooo sly brownie layer. The combination of a perfectly baked white cake, whipped cream cheese frosting and a delicious brownie make this cake a go to for any birthday or holiday celebration!
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup milk at room temperature
6 large egg whites at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup granulate sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp Water
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch cake pans.
Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and mix with fork until blended. Set aside.
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into cubes and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
Pour batter evenly between two prepared cake pans. Bake 27 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool to room temperature.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and use foil to line a 9-inch cake pan.
In stand mixer, combine sugars, butter and vanilla and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time until well blended.
Sift flours, cocoa and salt in medium bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to butter mixture with mixer on low speed and blend until ingredients are fully combined.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold in finely chopped chocolate by hand using a spatula. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
To make the chocolate sauce, place the chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
While the brownies are still warm, place the brownie layer on a cake stand. Slowly pour the chocolate sauce on top, letting it soak into the brownie. Allow the sauce to soak in for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting.
Combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time, until the frosting is light and creamy. For thicker/stiffer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup at a time. If the frosting is too stiff, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
Place a white cake layer on top of the brownies and top with approximately 1/4 cup of the frosting using an offset spatula.
Add the second white cake layer and cover the cake in a layer of cream cheese frosting. Chill the cake until ready to serve.