The perfect contrasting duo: pound cake and brownies. One a tender vanilla, the other a fudgy dense chocolate. These easy pound cake brownies are super easy to make and wildly impressive to look at (and eat!)
Fudgy brownies are interrupted in the best way with a vanilla pound cake. These beautiful swirled bars are part deep chewy chocolate and part light & fluffy vanilla cake.
I don’t always know why certain ideas pop into my head but I can tell you that I think a lot about how things bake and then I run through all the kinds of ways I can make the conventional unconventional. Which okay, usually has me adding brownie or cookie (or cookie dough IN brownie) in places you wouldn’t expect to find it. For these, I considered that neither brownies nor pound cake have leavening; that they were opposing in terms of texture and taste, and therefore, would make a wonderful match. I was right.
I talk a lot about my perfect brownies on this thick cocoa recipe and this always shiny top recipe. The basis for both of those recipes, and the one for these uses more cocoa than flour for a richer taste and a fudgy (rather than cakey) texture; incorporates the butter & sugar together over heat to dissolve some of the sugar; and adding chopped chocolate ensures that signature shiny top!
The type of cocoa you choose will make all the difference in all your chocolate baking. The two most commonly used types of cocoa in baking are: natural cocoa and dutch process. If you are in the states most of the cocoa sold at grocery stores is ‘natural’; which essentially means it’s just unsweetened chocolate minus the cocoa butter. It’s great for baking in terms of texture but kind of lacks that deep chocolate flavor. Dutch, which has been alkalized (acidity has been removed) is what lends baked goods a smooth, rich and deep chocolate flavor.
For the pound cake portion of this recipe I based my pound cake mix off of this popular recipe which follows the basic pound formula for pound cakes. But to avoid a dry texture I tend to opt for cake flour, I talk more about that in this blood orange pound cake recipe. In these brownies however, because they won’t be in the oven as long as the average pound cake, you can do just fine with AP flour.
Neither of these batters has leavening making them ideal for baking together. They are at perfect flavor contrast from each other: one is a soft vanilla, the other an intense chocolate. In terms of texture, you’ll find the pound cake tender and soft and the brownie dense and fudgy. Basically, the pound cake batter kind of ‘lightens’ up the brownie.
A stand mixer or a bowl and a hand mixer for the pound cake
A heat-proof bowl and a whisk for the brownie mix.
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