This is a small cake with brownie-like qualities. I wouldn’t stand for a brownie with cake-like qualities, mind you. That would be out of the question for me. But this is definitely a cake, best served within 30 minutes of coming out of the oven and with a heaping scoop of ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. The topping is merely mixed sugars that form a sweet crisp and crumbling crust.
I keep thinking that one day I will make for your enjoyment a statuesque and artistic layer cake. You should know I have a few of them up my sleeve. But, I always make these homely little dessert cakes, or expansive sheet cakes instead. They are kitchen cakes. That is, as opposed to bakery style cakes. These are the ones you whip up, often at the last minutes, to bring a smile to the face of someone you care about.
I’ve called this one a lingering cake because that is exactly what I hope it will cause you to do with your family…linger a bit at the table. It can go into the oven right as you are serving dinner and come out of the oven right when you are clearing the plates. I’m guessing that the scent coming from the oven will keep your family nearby, as it did mine. I’m guessing that they will also sit there at the table telling jokes and stories while you get out the plates for dessert.
I was recently talking to my girlfriend Amanda Neuhoff about the notion of family dinners and the things that keep us there past the basic scheduling and reporting that seem to be the stuff of hurried dinners with school children. I want to linger and laugh, and listen, and simply BE with my husband and these interesting little people who will be gone in a flash.
This is my latest entry in that contest. I have to say it worked quite well.
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
In a small saucepan over low heat, carefully melt the chocolate and butter and stir them together until they are well combined.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa, salt, and sugar. Use a whisk to sift it together. Add the melted butter and chocolate to the dry ingredients and mix it together. This will be very thick. Add the eggs and vanilla to the bowl and continue to whisk it together until it is incorporated. This is sloshy, but it will come together in short order.
Prepare a 9 inch square baking dish by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. Scrape the batter into the dish and spread it with a spatula until it is evenly distributed.
In a small bowl, mix together the ¼ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar for the topping. Sprinkle the sugars over the top of the batter. Bake for 28 minutes to 30 minutes.
At 30 minutes this cake was thoroughly done. If you bake it longer than that it will be dry. If you bake it between 25 and 28 minutes it will have a slightly molten center. I think 25 is too little and 30 is just on the edge of being too much. The next time I make this I will remove it at exactly 27 minutes so it is still just gooey right in the middle and perfect with ice cream.
I made this yet again and pegged it at 27 minutes. The result was a fudgy and wonderful (albeit slightly sunken in the middle) slice of heaven. 27 will be my choice from here on out. If you want a “cakier” cake, let it go closer to the 30 minute mark. Also, try it with a tablespoon of my Homemade Coffee Extract mixed in for a little extra something. I loved it.