- Food & Drink
Are these brownies or teeny tiny T-bone steaks? It's almost impossible to tell
When my friends have a birthday, two thoughts occur to me. The first is that I absolutely must remember not to drink too much wine at their party (ha!). The second is: what meat-shaped novelty cake shall I make them? Because there’s no better way to say happy birthday than with a shakily-iced fairy cake disguised as a chicken drummer or mini burger.
This weekend was Shed’s birthday and I wanted to make her a steak cake. Some select googling led me to this blog post and the genius idea of stamping steaks out of brownies. I like making things out of brownie. They’re a very forgiving cake to sculpt with. If a bit falls off, you can normally squidge it back on and smooth over the join. A Victoria sponge isn’t nearly so co-operative.
Armed with all the chocolate, a skewer and a paintbrush, I set about baking my way into Hero Friend status. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I’m terrible at cake decorating. So if you have a butcher friend that needs the kind of lift only a novelty cake can supply, these are the brownies for you.
Makes loads or just a few, depending on the size of your cutter
180g unsalted butter, chopped into chunks, plus extra for greasing
250g 70% dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
3 medium eggs
280g caster sugar
100g plain flour
50g 70% dark chocolate, broken into chunks
50ml double cream
Black gel icing
White icing (I cheated and used a ready-made writing icing. You can make up some glacé icing and pipe that, or the original blog post used peanut butter, which sounds nice)
Smoked sea salt
1 Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan quarter filled with simmering water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl). Keep over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter and chocolate have melted and are smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Or melt them in the microwave like I did. It’ll take about 30 seconds.
2 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Grease a 30cm x 24cm brownie pan (or square cake tin or Swiss roll tin, whatever you have) and line the base with baking parchment.
3 Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk for 3–4 minutes until they are very pale, thick and creamy. Using a flexible spatula, stir the melted chocolate into the eggs, trying not to knock too much air out. Sift in the flour with a small pinch of salt. Stir in to combine. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for about 25 minutes, until a crust has formed.
4 Get an ice bath ready: chuck a couple of handfuls of ice into a big wide bowl and pour in a little water. Take the brownies out of the oven and rest them in the ice bath (without covering the whole thing in water, obviously) to cool them quickly. Once they’re cool, pop them in the freezer for an hour or so.
5 Bend a small heart-shaped cutter into a steak shape (pic guide here). Make sure the brownies are at room temperature before you start to stamp steaks out of them or you’ll just bend the cutters. Stamp as many steaks out of the brownie as you can. The brownies should be quite fudgy, so you’ll need to gently press them out of the cutter each time. If a bit falls off, squidge it back on. No one will know.
6 Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Scald the cream so it’s just steaming hot. Pour over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes, then gently stir to combine them. You’ll end up with a thick chocolate ganache. Paint the ganache on top of all the steaks.
7 The ganache will start setting, so keep your eye on the brownies. When it’s almost set is the best time to drag a skewer across the ganache to make grill marks. Paint a little black gel into each grill mark. Pipe some white icing across the top and down the middle to make the T-bone. Sprinkle each stake with a little sea salt. The brownies will keep for a week in an airtight tin.