M&M Chocolate Brownie Birthday Cake

I'm a cake lover. I'd happily eat cake for breakfast, for lunch, as a snack, for dinner. I wish I didn't have this unhealthy obsession but I do.

But imagine my shock when I first discovered my friend, let's call her S, didn't like cake. WHAT!!! Not just cake but cake like things i.e. muffins/ pancakes or cake-y brownies. Though I don't blame her for the dislike of cake-y brownies. I hate those too. 

But birthdays are all about cake, right? Sprinkles and candles galore. Or fresh fruit and cream galore if you're from a Chinese family like me. Often for friends' and family's birthdays as part of their birthday present. In the past I've made S a giant birthday cookie but this year I decided to try a birthday chocolate brownie cake, with a few handfuls of M&Ms thrown in (because everyone's partial to M&Ms, right?) and an eggless cookie dough sandwiched in between. The pièce de résistance is the cat candle on top, which my friend, N, no doubt approves of. (Note: crazy cat lady...)

Originally I'd planned to cover the top in a layer of chocolate ganache and pipe buttercream swirls but then that'd cover the M&Ms that are studded on top. So to compromise I opted for sprinkles around the edges instead. Win win.

Even though I have a few pretty good brownies up my sleeve, I always like to try out new ones. This one found on Jessica In The Kitchen makes four 4" brownie layers perfectly. The use of oil instead of butter keeps the brownie moist and fudgy. Whereas I think this was definitely the case, to me, the use of oil results in the brownie lacking the dense, buttery-ness that I believe a classic brownie should have. Jessica suggests that the oil in the recipe makes the brownie more chewy. Unfortunately I don't think that's the case. Don't let that deter you though! Feel free to try this recipe out, or use your own.

You've probably noticed that out of the four layers of brownie only three were used. This is not (surprisingly) because I scoffed one in the process of assembling but because I felt that the cake would have been too tall otherwise and resulting in a higher risk of it toppling over along with sprinkle massacre during transport. But the good news is, it means you have a snack for yourself whilst you put the rest of the pieces together.*wink wink*

Brownie recipe adapted from Jessica in the Kitchen
Cookie dough recipe from Picky Palate
Yields 4 x 4" round brownie layers


90g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
90g caster sugar
60g light brown sugar
185ml oil (I used rapeseed oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
2 large eggs
175g dark chocolate, melted
100g milk chocolate chips

Cookie Dough

58g unsalted butter, softened
50g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
100g dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped

To Decorate

Multicoloured sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line and grease four 4" round cake tins. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the sugars, eggs, oil, water and vanilla extract. Pour into the dry mixture, add the melted chocolate and mix for approximately 3 minutes until all combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the brownie batter between the cake tins and sprinkle the tops with M&Ms. Bake on the middle oven shelf for 23-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few wet crumbs. Cool in the tin.
  4. For the cookie dough filling: Cream the sugars with the butter until well combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a dough forms.
  5. Spread half of the cookie dough onto a cooled brownie layer. Top with the second layer and repeat until you have 3 layers of brownie. Press sprinkles into the exposed cookie dough edges (Note: this may get messy!)
  6. Top with a cute candle and you have a brownie birthday cake which will surely please the pickiest of cake and non cake eaters!


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Interior designer & part time baker. Lover of architecture, design and all things cute.