Blackout Brownies – Two ways – Cakey and Fudgey

Disclaimer: Given I have never tried the bakery brownies that these were inspired by before, I can’t claim how similar or dissimilar my recipe is. What I can say is I and my taste testers (who have tried said bakery brownies before) enjoyed both brownies that I’ve made.☺️

Now that I have covered that bit, you might be wondering what I’m on about.


The Background

Well… there has been this bakery which has been rather famous in Singapore over the last year or so with hour long queues, strict ordering service and the latest addition – a minimum order of 12 brownies for $80 with no freedom of selection on the flavour combinations that you will be getting and it is literally stated that it will depend on your luck.

Now I totally understand the logic of demand and supply and marketing (studied a little of both) and I do understand that their current 12 brownie pack is due to covid measures at the time of which I’m writing this post.

But it is also because of this reason that my curiosity was roused behind what the cause of the hype was and thus this eventual baking project to see if I can help bring some brownies (inspired by them) into your kitchen.

I use the words “inspired by” because I really hate the word copycat. And honestly, it can’t possible be a copy cat since I haven’t tried them before.

Naming It

Which brownies am I referring to you might be wondering?

Many of you are probably not based in Singapore and whilst this is popular, it is not a “everyone definitely knows about it” thing, but it is big enough to entice people to queue way before it opens at 7:30am.

These are brownies from a bakery in Singapore called Bundt by Backyard Bakers.

I won’t say more on what I’ve heard from others about their experience with their purchase but hopefully this recipe will bring some of their brownies into your home kitchen if you are like me and unable to access them.

I personally haven’t tried them as I have mentioned above, but I have done plenty of research.

Well, as much research as one can do virtually through analyzing photos (Sherlock would have been proud), intense readings and social networking with you all to get your explanation and thoughts on what their brownies are like.

And to top it off, I drove to my friends place to get her to taste test the brownies as a reference point as she had tried them twice before.

So I’ve put in my due diligence with this recipe for you and even if it is not a replica, I do like what I have created.

I won’t call it a copycat Backyard Baker brownie. But what I will call it is my own brownies taking inspiration and aspiration from theirs and thus me naming it Blackout Brownies (which I find to be rather appropriate).

I would call it ‘The Lockdown” brownies but…that sounds a bit odd.

And since lockdown is called “Circuit Breaker” in Singapore, “Blackout” seems fitting.

Breaking It Down, Your Stories

Before we go into the nitty gritty of the ingredients etc. let’s talk about their actual brownie from hearsay.

From reviews and those who had messaged me on Instagram (thank you for being kind as always) what I’ve heard is that their brownies are like a moist cake, some say it’s fudgy, then you have others who say it’s rich and on the flip side not rich like the ‘usual brownies’ so you won’t get sick from eating a piece and can reach out for a second one easily. Some say it leaves an oily residue and aftertaste (not too my liking) some say it’s a really rich cake that drowns out all the fillings that they use.

From what I could decipher. It’s cake-like but fudgy. An oxymoron to some. But I think I manage to grasp what they mean.

Me on the other hand looooove a fudgy brownie, one that leaves me satisfied from that dense melting middles and crisp chewy edges.

Which led me to create 2 versions of the brownies to hopefully satisfy most cravings.

So all is good, I’ve got you covered if you are in either the cakey or fudgy camp (or a mix or both) because I’m sharing 2 recipes so bare with me if this post is long.

Anatomy and Textures of These ‘Blackout Brownies’

Keeping in line with fudgy brownies, after all the testing I did, the recipe I’m sharing are both fudgy but with different degrees.

One is soft and fudgy in a melting manner (cakey) whilst the other is like a firmer fudge (fudgey). Both have a density to their middles but to varying degrees.

The key difference in the textures lies in beyond the actual core and to the crust. Because of how small these are (we will get to that) the contrast is quite stark and immediate. You can go from light crisp but soft cake-like bite to melting tender middles (cakey) or crisp with a toothsome chewy crust to soft denser middles (fudgey).

Also similarly, because of the high amount of cocoa powder in these, you still end up with a cake like crumb structure to both just to varying degrees.

The Pans and Shapes

You’ll notice I’ve used a square pan in my recipe. But, if you have followed along on my instagram stories, you would have notice that I didn’t own one of these pans before developing the recipe.

As for the dimensions of the square pan that I have used for this recipe – each individual cup is 6cm x 6cm and 2.5cm deep. My pan holds 12 brownies, but this recipe makes around 6 brownies. And finally, my pan has a non-stick coating on it and I highly recommend that you get a non-stick pan.

They are also commonly called Brownie Pans so if you do a quick google search you should be able to find some.

So to answer the question that you might be wondering, do I need the pan?

The answer is not really.

I actually prefer the rounded versions that I did whilst testing as they looked like cute little brownie buttons. But these square ones have their charm too, and more importantly, it is what that said bakery uses.

I do have to clarify as well that I am not using it *just* for the shape.

I wanted to test the recipe in that square shape to make the visual comparison in order for me to ensure the recipe is going down the right path.

My recipe could be totally different from what they have but at the very least it still served to be a guide for me.

So if you have a cupcake tin, you can definitely go ahead and simply use it. It’ll bake up just fine in the same amount of time.

Cocoa powder

The colour of these brownies come mainly from the black cocoa which is extra Dutch.

What that means without getting too technical is it’s more alkaline than regular cocoa powder.

If we were to put it on a spectrum, think:

Cocoa powder > Dutch Cocoa > Black Cocoa

Regular > Dark > Extra Dark

Most common link to what the flavour of black cocoa is would be… Oreos. (The biscuit bit of oreos, not the cream :P)

That’s the flavour of black cocoa powder if you are looking for a reference point.

Black cocoa has that distinctive flavour and also lesser of that original chocolate flavour profile.

So to balance the flavours, we are using Dutch cocoa as well to ensure it doesn’t taste solely of black cocoa and to bring some fat and chocolate flavour back into the product.

Do you absolutely need it for this recipe?

No, if you aren’t trying to replicate the ones from Backyard Bakers, using all dutch cocoa powder in your brownie will be fine.

But if you are trying to replicate their brownies, then you will need to use both Black and Dutch.

It’s a rather delicate balance so please refrain from playing around with the recipe until you’ve had a go at it.

Here are some of the naming conventions to help you with your purchase:

Natural cocoa = Regular cocoa = Acidic

Dutch cocoa = Dark = Alkalised

Black cocoa = Extra Dutch = Extra Alkalised

The Bake

This is key.

Do not over bake your brownies.

Your oven may run hot, it may run cool.

It all depends on how yours works, so just watch it as it bakes on your first go.

For the cakey brownies when the tops start to rise and split on the surface of the unfilled brownies it’s ready. It’ll look wet underneath and be too soft to use your toothpick to test if it’s done, but that’s what you want.

It will continue to set and firm up as it continues to cook in the pan whilst it cools.

For the fudgey brownies, you want moist crumbs clinging to your toothpick when baking it and not batter. But 1 minute is enough to make all the difference because these are tiny so be vigilant on your first bake.

The Art of Customisation – 12 Different Brownies In One Bake.

In my recipe you will notice that I’ve made a sea salt version and a Nutella stuffed version.

But don’t be limited by just that, that was just an example for you and a starting point.

Go crazy.

Like cream cheese? Fill it with it.

What about jams or your favourite  biscuits. Maybe chocolate chunks or something savoury likes chips. Mix it up. The choice is yours.

What I will say is if you are filling it, you’ll need to layer some batter on the base to keep your filling in. Add a teaspoon (or slightly heaped one at most. Don’t get too greedy) of your filling and then cover it with more batter.

Fill your tins with batter to only 3/4 of the way or you may risk your batter overflowing and creating a “muffin top”

The cakey batter is a lot softer than the fudgey one so just take your time and gently spoon some batter on top and along the sides to cover your filling if your filling is soft.

My Nutella was quite soft when I scooped it out of the jar. So to ensure that the soft core would stay in the middle, I had keep the Nutella in the middle and not swirled all over by gently covering it with batter on all sides.

But something like a Kraft peanut butter soread is firmer and will be easier to work with and you won’t need to fuss too much about it. It all comes down to what your filling is like so I say just take your time.

There is never any rush.

The Best Part

You can make the batter in one bowl/pot and it can be ready in under 30 mins-40mins.

Product Suggestions:

Black Cocoa Powder

Dutch Cocoa Powder

Baking Tin 
(This is not the one that I’ve used but have found an example online for you :))

 


 

As usual, here are some key notes before you begin your bake:

  • The tin that I use is 6cm x 6cm and 2.5cm deep for each cup. Yours might be deeper than mine. If so, just don’t fill it too the top and fill it to around 2cm deep to mimic the pan I have.
  • Butter your tin well if you aren’t lining it with a strip of baking paper like in my video
  • I suggest lining the cups of your pan with a strip of baking paper as it ensures that it will come out in one piece when you go to remove it as the brownies are quite soft
  • If you aren’t lining it, you’ll need to let them cool for longer in the tin until they are firm enough for you to remove them.
  • Use the required mix of black and Dutch cocoa for the recipe if possible. But in a pinch you can use all Dutch cocoa.
  • The espresso powder brings out the flavour of the cocoa in the brownie. You can use instant black coffee powder in a pinch. Those instant coffee granules/powder that you can get in the supermarket will work.
  • I use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the sugar butter mixture for the fudgey brownie. But if you don’t have one, a rough indication is that after adding the sugar when the butter has almost melted and whilst stirring on low heat, your sugar mixture would be ready to go within 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • As the brownies cool after they have been baked (especially if it’s cold where you are) they firm up and become more dense. So if you want it soft again, just heat it up in 5 seconds blasts in the microwave until warm in the middle or in the oven at 180C for 4 mins or so.
  • Don’t get too excited with placing too much filling into your brownie. You want to ensure you can still cover your filling with batter and keep the amount of batter in your tin to around 3/4 full or it might overflow.
  • Go slow. For a lava core with your filling, simple ensure it stays in the middle of your tin.
  • Always preheat your oven before baking. I use a the fan mode with top and bottom heat.
  • It is key not to overbake your brownies.
    For the cakey ones just ensure it’s puffed and cracked (if there is no fillings). A toothpick test won’t work as it will come out with batter. It should feel soft and set around the edges but really tender in the middle.
    For fudgey brownies, go with the toothpick test of very moist crumbs sticking to your toothpick. You want to capture it at the moment that pretty much goes from batter to crumbs which could be within a minute because of how small these are.
  • Lastly, let me know your thoughts on the brownies if you try them, would love to hear what you think of them.
  • For the cakey brownies, if you wish to have an extra moist brownie, you can use 10g of neutral oil like canola in replacement of the water.
  • These brownie recipes have been adapted from multiple recipes and tweaked through testing to my personal preference 🙂
  • If multiplying the recipe to make a bigger batch, ensure you multiply all of the ingredients in the recipe. Also, when adding the eggs, add them one at a time and mix it in until they are incorporated before adding the next egg. Also, you may need to increase your bake time, because it’ll take your pan longer to heat up with more mixture in it.

Blackout Brownies


Cakey Brownies

Aspiring to be “Bundt by Backyard Bakers” style brownies – Recipe #2 in the video

Makes 4 sea salt or 6 Nutella filled brownies or 2 sea salt + 3 Nutella (refer you notes on pan)

Texture profile: A light crisp edge with a soft melting middle that is lighter than the fudge version. Reminiscent of a dense moist chocolate cake with fudgey texture when cooled but lighter when warm.

What you’ll need

  • 65g unsalted butter, melted
  • 89g white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, room temp 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 16g dutch cocoa powder (dark)
  • 20g black cocoa powder (extra dark)
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder (see note above)
  • 1/8tsp baking powder
  • 12g water, room temperature
  • 25g ap flour

Toppings:

  • Nutella
  • Chopped Hazelnuts
  • Sea Salt Flakes
 

Making it

Preheat your oven to 180C

Brush some softened butter and line each cup of your baking pan with a strip of parchment paper. I am using a brownie pan that is square but you can use a cupcake pan.

In a mixing bowl, add your melted butter.

Add sugar and salt and whisk until combined.

Add all the cocoa powder, baking powder and espresso powder and mix until well combined and homogenous. You are not trying to beat air into it, you just want to be sure it binds together to be like in the video.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well to combine.

Add the water and mix.

Add flour and slowly mix until just combined and you no longer see any flour.

For the Sea Salt Brownies, spoon batter into each cup until it is filled 3/4 of the way to the top and topped with flaked sea salt.

For the Nutella filled brownies, place a layer of batter into your tin to cover the base, make a small well, and add 1tsp (heaped teaspoon at most) of Nutella filling and gently add batter on the top and spread it to ensure your brownie is covered. Top with chopped hazelnuts. You want to ensure each cup is only filled to 3/4 of the cup.

Bake at 180C for 11-12 minutes.

When ready, the top should have buldge and puff and have a slight crack (in the square tins). You should be able to see moist batter in the middle but when you touch it gently, the sides should feel set and the middle should be really tender.

If in doubt, it is best to under bake them than to over bake.

Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and cooling on the rack.

Enjoy slightly warm or room temp. Once cold, they will take on a fudgier consistency.

Recipe not for commercial use, I hope you would respect my wishes and drop me a message should you wish to use it commercially


Fudgey Brownies

Inspired by Backyard Bakers but with a twist – Recipe #1 in the video

Makes 5 sea salt or 7 Nutella filled brownies or 3 sea salt + 3 Nutella (refer you notes on pan)

Texture profile: Crusty chewy edges with a melting fudge-like middle that is more compact than the cake version. Due to the high cooca content, it still retains a cake like crumb to an extent. 

What you’ll need

  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 55g 70% dark chocolate
  • 50g white sugar
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, cold from the fridge
  • 16g dutch cocoa powder (dark)
  • 16g black cocoa powder (extra dark)
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder (see note above)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 26g ap flour

Toppings:

  • Nutella
  • Chopped Hazelnuts
  • Sea Salt Flakes
 

Making it

Preheat over to 180C

Brush some softened butter and line each cup of your baking pan with a strip of parchment paper. I am using a brownie pan that is square but you can use a cupcake pan.

In a pot, melt your butter and chocolate over low heat constantly stirring to ensure your chocolate doesn’t burn.
 
When all the butter has almost melted, add the sugar and salt and heat on low heat whilst stirring until it is around 60-63C. If you do not have a thermometer, your mixture should be ready in 30seconds – 1 minute.
(Important: You are not looking for fully melted sugar, it should still feel grainy. If in doubt, take it off the heat a little earlier)
 
Remove your pot from the stove and add the fridge cold egg and stir until combined and well mixed and homogenous. You don’t need to wait for your mixture to cool before adding the egg.
Important: Your batter should be homogenous at this step. It might take 1-2 mins of mixing but the sugar, butter and egg should bind together, you shouldn’t see a layer of oil. If you do, that means you will need to mix it for longer until it’s well combined.
 
Add cocoa powders, espresso powder and vanilla and stir until combined into a smooth mixture.
 
It shouldn’t feel like it’s separating if you have mixed it well enough. It might take you 1-2 mins of mixing with a spatula to get it well combined.
 
Add the flour and mix it in until just combined.
 

For the Sea Salt Brownies, spoon batter into each cup until it is filled 3/4 of the way to the top and topped with flaked sea salt.

For the Nutella filled brownies, place a layer of batter into your tin to cover the base, make a small well, and add 1tsp (heaped teaspoon at most) of Nutella filling and gently add batter on the top and spread it to ensure your brownie is covered. Top with chopped hazelnuts. You want to ensure each cup is only filled to 3/4 of the cup.

Bake at 180C for 13-14 minutes.

When the brownies are ready, a toothpick down the middle should come out with very moist crumbs sticking to it. (see note above)

If in doubt, it is best to under bake them than to over bake.

Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and cooling on the rack.

Enjoy slightly warm or room temp. For a denser brownie, you can enjoy them cold from the fridge.
 
Recipe not for commercial use, I hope you would respect my wishes and drop me a message should you wish to use it commercially
 

Products used in my kitchen:

Kitchenaid 

Equipment Used

Camera: https://amzn.to/2WXrMlj

Mic: https://amzn.to/2XodlpD

Lens: https://amzn.to/3cZg5QT

 

39 Comments Add yours

  1. P says:

    This recipe was incredible. I couldn’t find black cocoa so I used all regular cocoa. The texture was right on and I used peanut butter and hazelnut butter as the flavor combinations. So delish!

    Like

  2. XR says:

    Hi! For dutch cocoa powder, can I use 10 – 12% alkalised cocoa powder? 🙂

    Like

  3. amateurbaker says:

    I followed the recipe exactly and the fudgy brownies turned out great!! Added peanut butter cups in the middle. Thank you for sharing your recipe, it is putting smiles on people’s faces for sure

    Like

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