Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin-Swirl BrownieCakeThingamajig

Sorry, TWD'ers. I can't think of many things that sound less tasty than sweet potato biscuits. Biscuits should be of the buttermilk variety, and sweet potatoes should be of the not-in-my-house variety, so it's a pass for me this week.

However, I have been baking up a storm lately, and one of my recent favorites were these Pumpkin-Swirl "Brownies." The recipe calls them brownies, but as you can see, the slices are approximately as tall as your average toddler, so I would place them firmly in the "cake" category. And what a lovely slice of cake they yield!
I had my doubts about these browniecakes (brakes? brokes? crownies?). Of course, the 9x9 pan filled to the brim with batter was a bit suspicious, but there wasn't a graceful way to remove the artfully swirled batter to a large pan without catastrophe, so I let it be. And then they seemed to take ages to bake--waaaaay longer than the recommended 40-45 minutes--and I was sure I was going to end up with burnt toast ends on the outside and gooey pumpkin baby food on the inside after all was said and done. It also didn't help that the top turned kind of a uniform muddy brown color. (Alas, beautiful swirling, I hardly knew ye).

However, my utter lack of faith was rewarded with deeeelicious pumpkin-chocolate brownie-cake extravaganza! The pumpkin kept it nice and moist, and the spices (the usual fall suspects, plus cayenne) made it interesting and flavorful. The chocolate flavor wasn't too pronounced, which is another reason I think this falls closer to a pumpkin-chocolate cake than an actual brownie.

My only regret was that I didn't have any ice cream to serve with it. Because this cake, plus vanilla ice cream? Sounds obscenely good. If you've been looking for a recipe to jump-start your fall baking, and if you don't mind that said recipe is tragically misnamed, give these browkes (cawnies?) a go. Recipe after the jump...

Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies
From the Queen of Baking herself

* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 3/4 cups sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter lining. [I recommend a 9x13 pan if you want more of a "brownie" sized bar.]
2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. [...or not. This is why microwaves were invented!]
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.
4. Divide batter between two medium bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). [Or just stir half into the chocolate bowl, and add the pumpkin to the remaining half in the mixing bowl. Save yourself some washing up.] Stir chocolate mixture into one bowl. In other bowl, stir in pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don't set.
5. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with nuts.
6. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. [If using a 9x9 pan it might take longer, mine was closer to 55 minutes. Use a toothpick in the center to test for doneness.] Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.


  1. Never doubt Martha :-) She knows what she's doing. These look fabulous!

  2. Too funny--all the name choices!
    I kinda love the pumpkin/chocolate combo, so these cumpkin phocolate pakes sound great! ;)

  3. This looks wonderful. I think I'm going to have to try it.

  4. I need to make these. I love pumpkin and chocolate together. I posted a bundt cake today:)

  5. Dang it! I made that same recipe a few weeks ago and it wasn't so good. The pumpkin layer was rubbery - and that's not a good visual now is it?

  6. I'll take these over biscuits any day!

  7. The biscuits are actually good but not as good as your browniecake looks!

  8. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Wow, the swirls look so pretty! I love pumpkin and chocolate so this sounds like the perfect cake/brownie to me! =)

  9. Anonymous5:22 PM

    Pumpkin brownies sound wonderful!

  10. love the mix of pumpkin and chocolate!

  11. you have no idea what you're missing with the biscuits ;) iiiii can't STAND sweet potato, but i knew i could pawn them off on my mom. (she did eat a hefty amount) but i tried one. and then two. let's just say i was elbows deep in biscuits and i was ashamed of myself ;)

  12. These look very artfully swirled AND so much better than the sweet potato biscuits! Good call on that one.

  13. I am not a biscuit girl either, but I tried those TWD sweet potato biscuits TWICE trying to get them to resemble the flaky goodness you describe, to no avail. Guys ate them anyway...teenage guys are like that, they will eat pretty much anything not nailed down. I tasted one and the flavor was good, surprisingly enough as mine didn't rise worth a darn. I love your entry here...wouldn't these look wonderful on the Thanksgiving buffet? So pretty and different. Will have to give this brownie a try, thanks!

  14. Brownie Thingamajig!! GREAT name!!!! And they are beautiful.

    I didn't care for the biscuits. I agree with you - buttermilk. I ended up with SP disks.

  15. Anonymous3:35 PM

    It does look more like a cake than a brownie (though I'm sure Martha would never say "thingamajig"!). Whatever it is, it looks really tasty and the swirling on the inside is pretty!

  16. Heeee, I feel the same way about sweet potatoes! I used regular mashed potatoes to make these biscuits, but it was still a total failure.

    Those brownie thingys look GREAT. I have very recently become enamoured of pumpkin in baked goods, so I may try these in a bit (I'm currently overdosing on PB brownies). Yum!

  17. This is an original and amazing way to use pumpkin! Thanks for sharing :)

  18. I just love make new things. This is also new for me. I am going to make it also. It is looking so tasty. I hope so it will become as shown in picture. Thank you very much for sharing such wonderful recipe with us.