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The very first cake I ever learnt to make was a chocolate cake of sorts. It involved melting butter, cocoa and sugar in a pan and beating flour into that mixture; not sure where eggs came about. Maybe it was eggless? Not likely; it was a perfectly decent, straightforward cake which I subsequently tried, adventurous, reckless cook, me, in the plain version as I’m not passionate about chocolate.
I’d done baking before under my Gran’s brilliant and Mum’s lame tutelage but as it’s plain to see, the talent jumps a generation. My grandmother was a superior cook, my mother just about managed not to starve us and – look at me. But the choc-melt-beat thing above was my first solitary array and the ease of achieving the cakey fix with it was brilliant.
So even though I occasionally (often?!) diss the oxymoronic ‘easy soufflé’ or ‘simple panettone’ Google searches, I can’t deny the appeal of the bish-bash-bosh-here’s-a-cake. This brownie here, sourced from NY Times Cooking, is precisely such.
My best to date recipe for brownie is quite intricate, with beating eggs to a fluff and then folding and folding. The end result – what do you know? – is completely comparable.
So is this me converted to the easy croissants and 5 minute béarnaise? Nah – it must be the brown sugar doing the trick.
easy brownieServings: 8-12Time: about an hour
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, roughly diced
- 115g (4 oz.) dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, broken into pieces
- 100g (½ cup) dark brown sugar
- 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 60g (½ cup) plain flour
Butter a round 20cm (8 in) cake tin and line the bottom with parchment; if you’d rather use a square brownie tin, 20x20cm or similar will be good. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
Place the butter, both sugars and the chocolate pieces in a bowl and melt it over a bain-marie (pan with a little simmering water). Leave it for 10-15 minutes to cool down to just warm.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl with a hand whisk with the salt and vanilla extract. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the flour and lightly whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until set and beginning to crack on top. Cool completely in the tin before cutting.