Written by: Cherry Zhou, September 2020
You are having guests over for dinner tonight, but you have no idea what to impress them with for dessert. Luckily, you find a box of brownie mix at the back of your pantry. At first, it seems like the perfect choice, but then you realize that you always make brownies for dessert.
But don’t worry, we have the perfect solution for you to save the day.
Transform your Brownie Mix into a chocolate “Cake”
Did you know that the main ingredients in a typical brownie and in a typical chocolate “cake” are the same?
The main ingredients are always a mixture of flour, sugar, some sort of fat, leavening agents, and of course, chocolate or cocoa powder. What really makes the difference is their proportions. This means that, by playing around with the quantity of these 5 ingredients, you can easily transform your quick brownie mix into a delicate chocolate cake.
To keep things easy-peasy, only 3 of these 5 key ingredients need to be adjusted! Here are the 3 steps to turn your brownie mix into a chocolate cake:
-Step 1: Add more flour
Flour is used in baked goods to provide a basic structure. The fibers and the proteins in your flour will swell once they come in contact with your wet ingredients and the heat (1). Ultimately, your tiny flour granules will form a gel that serves to hold the structure together.
If you think about the main characteristic that stands out in a cake, it is probably its fluffy texture. Therefore, to get this extra volume, you want to have more little flour granules in your batter, all swelling together.
-Step 2: Add more baking powder
Baking powder acts as a leavening agent in your brownie mix to make your brownie rise in the oven. It produces air bubbles which also helps to define the fluffy texture of your delicious cake.
Therefore, if you want to turn your brownie mix into a cake batter, you need to add a bit of extra baking powder.
- A good rule of thumb: 1 cup of flour usually requires 1-2 tsp of baking powder.
If you do not have baking powder on hand, baking soda works too! But remember to add a bit of cream of tartar or buttermilk to it. This is because baking soda needs an acid to work and produce those air bubbles. On the other side, baking powder is the combination of baking soda and an acid already mixed in for you.
Also, keep in mind that baking soda is about 4 times stronger than baking powder. So, make sure to use 4 times less baking soda if you are using it as an alternative to baking powder.
In fact, you do not want to go “extra” with baking soda. Too much of it will lead to a soapy taste which is “a big no no”. Unless that is what you are looking for…but I would highly doubt so.
As a guide, you can replace 1 tsp of baking powder with the following:
Fun fact: Baking soda can affect the color of your chocolate desserts. If you add too much of it, your cake will turn out with a reddish tone.
-Step 3: Add less oil
The fat in a brownie provides more tenderness to the batter. It forms a coat around the proteins that are in your flour. This extra fat layer limits the amount of water that can reach your flours’ proteins. Therefore, the brownie mix will remain moist. In addition, less swelling of your little flour granules will occur.
The fat basically helps to prevent the batter from over-rising and turning into a cake. It keeps a brownie just the way you like it: dense, moist, rich, and fudgy.
However, if you are going in the direction from brownie to cake, then simply reduce the amount of oil that you will put into the brownie mix.
Make sure to not excessively cut down on it either as you need fat to soften the texture of your cake. A dry and crumbly cake is also a big no no.
- Remark: From a food science point of view, this will transform your brownie mix into a “muffin” instead of a “cake”. This is because cakes are made from yeast and muffins are leavened by baking powder or baking soda. However, you can totally add the frosting and decorate it just like your favorite chocolate cake.
How to Replace the Eggs in a Brownie Mix to Make it Vegan?
Now that you know how to perfectly transform your brownie mix into a fluffy chocolate cake, you realize that one of your guests is vegan. Now you’re stuck because you don’t want them to miss out on your delicious dessert. But don’t, here is what you can do to replace the egg in your brownie mix.
The main role of eggs in a brownie is to act as a binding agent to make sure that your dry ingredients combine well with your oil and liquids. To replace the eggs, you can use pureed fruits like applesauce. Pureed banana and prunes would also be good options.
Another alternative is to use silken tofu or soy yogurt and 1 tsp of starch.
For example: 3 tbsp soy yogurt + 1tsp cornstarch.
For more ideas of egg substitutes, check out this article. (2)
Other Uses for Brownie Mixes
Want to get even more creative with your brownie mix? Let’s see what else we can make besides cake.
If you can make a cake out of a brownie mix, then you can also turn it into chocolate pancakes or waffles. Here again, it is all about the proportions. And obviously, the type of kitchen equipment that you will use to add heat.
- An oven for brownies, cakes, and cookies
- A pan for pancakes
- A waffle machine for waffles
As we know, pancake and waffle batters are more pourable than cake batters. So all you need to do is add more liquid to your cake batter. In general, a pourable batter usually needs 2/3 to 1 cup of water per 1 cup of flour. It is also important to note that pancake batter requires less fat than waffle batter.
The table below show you some idea and the relative proportions of the ingredients (1)
||1 cup||1 cup||1 tbsp||1||1/4 tsp|
||1 cup||1 cup||1/4 cup||1||1/4 tsp|
||1 cup||1/2 cup||2 tbsp||½||2 tsp|
||1 cup||1/3 cup||2 ½ tbsp||0||2 tsp|
With all of this new info, it is your time to shine. I promise that nobody will realize that your chocolate cake was made from a box of brownie mix that took you no longer than 5 minutes to prepare.
Bean Bark Brownie Mix
Our Limited Edition Bean Bark Brownie mix stands out among the popular brands of brownies you would normally find at the grocery stores. The Bean Bark Brownie mix is packed with plant-based protein, and it is much lower in sugar. With around 66% increase in iron content compared to similar alternatives, it is just “oh-so rich” in chocolate flavor. It also contains small hints of fruit flavor from grinded pieces of real apples, peaches, or cranberries.
Practice time: Turn Your Bean Bark Brownie Mix into a Healthy Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients until smooth.
- Line your pan with oil or use parchment paper.
- Pour the batter into your pan.
- Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Add little chunks of Bean Barks into the batter before cooking
- Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract for extra flavor
Summary of Ingredients in Bean Bark Brownie Mix vs Bean Bark Chocolate Cake.
The ingredients modified are the ones that are highlighted in the cake column.
|Bean bark brownie mix||1||1|
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Brown, A. (2015). Understanding Food Principles and Preparation (5th ed.). Wadsworth: Thomson.
Top 31 Proven Egg Substitutes in Baking Recipes. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.egglesscooking.com/egg-substitutes/