Category Archives: birthday

Chocolate Orange brownie cake (or a baked poop?? You decide)

My father in law turned 70 this weekend so we’ve been celebrating with the family a lot over the last few days. He had quite a traumatic injury last spring involving his bike, his leg and a truck so it’s been a hell of a year for him and was good to be able to spend time with him and see how he’s recovering.

Birthday boy

We went to a lovely party with his friends on the Sunday, where his long term partner who is an amazing cook, put on a spread that included no less than two pies, a deboned, stuffed chicken, about 43 salads and beautiful home baked bread, followed by an incredible four desserts – my favourite was the chocolate Amaretto cherry tart, the husband could have happily drowned himself in the St Clements trifle. Yums.

Cherry chocolate amaretto tart and baked cheesecake

On Monday, my sister in law hosted a gathering just for the immediate family and she asked me to make a cake. I was more than happy to oblige and decided to make a orange chocolate brownie cake, with a little dusting of orange flavoured icing sugar on top. How difficult could this be? I can bake brownies, as my slutty brownies post (hopefully) proved.

Lordy, everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong and I ended up with a cake that looked like this.

Oh dear

Yup, a gigantic baked cow pat. Or, as I fondly referred to it, a turd cake.

Clearly, a dusting of icing sugar, orange flavoured or not, wasn’t going to polish this turd so I ended up making an orange butter cream icing instead which I think made the whole thing a little too sweet but it looked so much better. And they all seemed to like it and the brownie bit actually tasted fine so this is why I’m putting the recipe below. Maybe you’ll have more luck with it, I think I was just having an off day. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

Chocolate Orange Brownie cake with orange buttercream icing

So much better

Brownie Cake Ingredients

  • 175g butter
  • 175g dark chocolate (at least 70%) + an additional 100g all chopped into chunks
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 70g plain flour
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • Zest of two oranges

Method

  • Preheat oven to gas mark 4
  • Grease and line a 20cm cake tin, ideally with a loose bottom or springform to make it easy to remove the cake
  • Melt together the butter, 175g of chocolate, sugar and orange zest over a very low heat until it has all combined and you can’t feel any grains of sugar.
  • Add a pinch of salt and leave to cool a little – use this time to whip your egg whites into soft peaks
  • Once the butter/choc/sugar mix has cooled a little, whisk in the egg yolks and the remaining 100g of chocolate
  • Gently fold in the flour until all combined then fold in the egg whites, taking care not to lose any of the air in them
  • Spoon batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top bounces back when you touch it
  • Leave to cool

A note here – when I started mixing the flour into the batter, I noticed that there was a layer of oil that just wouldn’t combine with anything. Didn’t want to put too much flour into the mix but did probably add an extra 10g or so – it didn’t help, I believe this was the start of my turd cake problems. Because of this the egg whites didn’t fold in correctly causing the “natural” pattern as seen on the cake above. 

Whilst the cake cools, prepare the icing.

I had already put aside 200g of icing sugar with the zest of two oranges to give it that orangey flavour but if you don’t have that, it’s just as easy to add the zest to the butter to make orange butter cream

Orange buttercream icing

  • 100g butter softened
  • 150g icing sugar
  • Zest of two oranges
  • 3-4 tbsps of orange juice

Method

  • Beat the butter till it’s light and fluffy – much easier to use an electric or stand mixer for this
  • Add the orange zest and icing sugar and combine
  • Slowly add the orange juice a spoonful at a time until you have a consistency you’re happy with

If you’re better at icing than me, this may look good piped – at this point I was running out of time and flustered at the state of the cake so I simply used the dump and spread method.

Despite appearances, this cake tasted much better than I thought it would so do give it a go – and if you’re cleverer than me, please explain why it looked like a poop? Thanks awfully!