Brownie Fail, or: Cake

Brownie Fail, or: Cake

Objectively speaking, I cannot make brownies. It doesn’t matter which recipe I use or steps I take, they all come out somewhat awful. Until now, I thought I was alone – but I am not. A friend has fallen into the same problem. Her solution though, isn’t to stay away from brownies. It’s to remake them in her own image.

Here is the original and for those who can’t make brownies:

double the water

double the baking soda

and, from the ashes of failed brownies, you have a cake that was waiting to be born.

My Achilles Heel: Brownies

My Achilles Heel: Brownies

Mixing me and brownies – or blondies – is a recipe for disaster. The first time I made brownies they burned. To top it off, the parts that weren’t burned weren’t all that great. They went to my mom’s coworkers. A few months later, I tried to make blondies. The liquid and solid elements somehow separated. Those too went to my mom’s coworkers. After that I had mercy on the coworkers and haven’t tried to make either blondies or brownies since.

But Special Corespondent Ellen insisted that I try the blondies she just made. Despite my past failures, she told me I could not give up. So I resolved to try, try again. Plus, after raving about the blondies, she refused to mail me any.

So, I attempted my personal Everest. Everest bested me. I wish I could say it’s because I adapted the recipe, but I do that for everything. The results are usually delightful. But this time I got a semi-dry coffee cake instead of a moist snickerdoodle. But for those of you who aren’t an embarrassment to the brownies/blondie world, I’ve heard great things about these:

Snickerdoodle Blondies from Brown Eyed Baker

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar I used just under 1 c each of brown and white sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature I used 5 tbsp. Yes, I think that accounts for a lot.
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon I might have used more cinnamon. I might not have. Knowing would involve measurement. 


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside. I used a round 9×9 pan. After they took twice as long to bake I checked the actual instructions.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

I mixed the ingredients together in any old order. I don’t think that helped.

3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.

4. Spread the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.