I make this cake every year for my son’s birthday…and maybe at other times, too. It is so good!
It’s a plain chocolate brownie base layered over with mint flavored white chocolate under a shiny dark chocolate granache. I can’t remember where I originally got the recipe, but have tweaked it to suit our tastes. It reminds me of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies which my father would buy from my sister and me and secretly hoard them at his office.
To me, it a slice of America in a foreign land. Unsweetened Baker’s chocolate is virtually impossible to get here except from a few mail order places or a rare specialty food store, usually located closer to London.
I am lucky that relatives and friends from the States tend to bring or send me Baker’s chocolate that I have yet to run out. Nevertheless, another American expat friend who has been in this country much longer than I have has modified her brownie recipe to deal with the absence of unsweetened cooking chocolate. I’m keeping her recipe in reserve for the day when my chocolate stash runs out. Because we both agree that no matter how our lives have acclimatized to expat life, it would not be the same without brownies.
The brownie cake base (the same as my usual brownie recipe)
- 2 squares of Baker’s chocolate (2 oz. each)
- 4 oz. (1 stick) sweet unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use a good Madagascar extract)
- 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the sides and bottom of a cake pan (9 inches diameter). Cut and lay a disk of baking parchment on. the bottom, grease this as well and then dust the pan with a light coating of flour. In a large saucepan, melt chocolate and butter. When completely melted, turn off the heat and add sugar and vanilla. Once sugar has been incorporated, add the flour, stirring until mixed. The mixture will be quite thick. Quickly beat in one egg at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in its pan, then, after running a knife around the edges, remove the cake from the pan, peeling off the parchment from the bottom. Let it completely cool on rack.
White chocolate mint center
- 4 oz. good white chocolate such as Lindt
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon mint extract
Once the brownie cake is completely cool, place it on its serving plate. Prepare the white chocolate mint layer. Break up the white chocolate into pieces and chop as finely as you can. Put cream in a pyrex bowl and microwave for 20 seconds on high. Put the white chocolate in the hot cream and stir until melted. You may need to rewarm the bowl with a few more seconds in the microwave, but be careful not to overcook. When the mixture is smooth, add the mint extract. Smooth on top of the brownie cake with a palate knife. Place in refrigerator to cool completely and to allow the white chocolate layer to harden.
Dark chocolate granache topping
- 6 oz. a good dark semi-sweet chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids- do not be tempted to use chocolate chips!)
- 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
- A few sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
Break up and chop the chocolate as you did for the white chocolate. Heat the cream in the microwave for approximately 40 seconds then add the chocolate, stirring to melt. When you have a glossy dark chocolate mixture, spread over the top and sides of the the chilled cake. Return to the refrigerator to harden the chocolate for at least an hour before serving. Decorate with sprigs of fresh mint if you have it. Cut with a sharp knife, serving small pieces as it is very rich. Store in refrigerator, though it won’t last long.
Note: Butter does not come packed in “sticks” in Britain. It comes in blocks of 250 or 500 grams. Even the butter dishes are shaped differently!