Recipe: Brownie Layer Cake with Strawberries

Hi 2017! I hope you're here to bring us a year full of laughs, creativity, and opportunities. And as for a new year resolution? Mine is: eat more cake for breakfast. So I've brought you quite a cake today to kick that year-long goal off.

This cake is seriously decadent. Fluffy vanilla buttercream and strawberries between layers of fudgy brownie. A small piece is all you need.

Brownie Layer Cake with Strawberries

Serves 8

2 sticks unsalted butter
8 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 cup flour

Vanilla Buttercream
From this Joy the Baker Cookbook
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3–4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 pint strawberries

Make the Brownie Layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep three 6-inch round pans by lining the bottom with butter and parchment paper and greasing the sides with butter. Set aside.

In a heat-proof bowl, melt butter and baking chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in sugar and eggs (one at a time). In a seperate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet with a rubber spatula until just combined. Divide batter evenly among the three pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbles. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Make Buttercream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter for 2–4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the butter from the sides of the bowl and add 3 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat on low, increasing to medium speed as the mixture combines. Add milk and vanilla. Beat on high for one minute. If you like a thicker frosting, scrape down the sides and add up to another 1 cup of powdered sugar, beating well.

Assemble Cake: Once the brownies layers have cooled, remove the domed tops of each layer with a large knife (like a bread knife). This will create an even overall cake. Place the first layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Take three strips of wax paper and place each of them underneath the edge of the cake, so that when removed, no frosting will be on your plate/stand. Take a third of your frosting and spread it evenly over the brownie using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Slice several strawberries and place the slices onto the frosting, working from the outside in, in a single layer. Add the second brownie layer and repeat. Add the third brownie layer. Place half of the remaining frosting on the top of the cake, spreading it out evenly from the outside in with an offset spatula. Now frost the sides. Working in small areas and pressing into the layers, cover the sides of the cake with frosting. To create a "naked" cake, use an icing smoother to evenly distribute the frosting, smooth it out, and remove excess frosting. Because the brownies are so rich, this cake doesn't need a ton of outside frosting. Top with whole and halved strawberries. Serve the same day as assembling/frosting.