Tangled Brownie-Blondie Cake

by Katie Stymiest May 14, 2020

Tangled Brownie-Blondie Cake by Rebecca Wilhelm of Roses and Whiskers
Yields: 12 servings

Spoiler alert: If you've never seen Disney's "Tangled," skip straight to the recipe! Or go straight to Disney Plus and watch the movie, because it's a cute one. :) That movie is the inspiration behind this soft and fudgy brownie-blondie cake. Top it off with the perfect theme sprinkles, Sprinkle Pop's "Braids for Days Princess Sprinkle" mix.

Okay, the movie spoilers start now! The story begins with a golden-haired Rapunzel, endearingly nicknamed "Blondie" by thief-turned-love-interest Flynn Rider. "Blondie" is both the obvious nickname choice and the obvious movie-themed dessert. But, by story's end Rapunzel is a brunette, so it seemed only fitting to tangle up the blondie with a brownie! And there you have it, the inspiration behind this yummy treat.

Now let's get baking! We'll get the hardest step out of the way first, browning the butter for the blondies. If you've never browned butter before, don't worry, I'll walk you through it:

  • Put 6 tbsp of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan and turn your stovetop to medium-low.
  • Stir frequently with a wooden spoon as the butter begins to melt.
  • The butter will foam as it melts. Once the foam begins to disappear, you'll notice little flakes forming. Those flakes are milk solids.
  • The milk solids will begin to brown and settle onto the bottom of the pan. Once the butter smells nutty, everything happens fast.
  • The butter will brown more quickly, turning an orangish-brown color. At this point remove the butter from the heat and pour it into a glass container. 
  • Browned butter becomes burnt butter pretty quickly so be careful!

Make the blondie batter once the butter reaches room temperature. (Be sure and get out the other ingredients that need to reach room temperature, too.) The batter will be the consistency of a wet cookie dough.

Then make the brownie batter. There are a couple of "unusual" ingredients that you might not have on hand in the pantry, but trust me, they are both worth the investment: Hershey's chocolate syrup and espresso powder. Both are key for the fudgy texture and chocolaty taste. I've heard that substituting instant coffee powder is also a good option, but I've never tried that.

Pour the brownie batter into a 9-inch round cake pan greased with butter and flour and lined with parchment paper. (The parchment paper only needs to line the bottom of the pan.) Scoop dollops of blondie batter on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to tangle them together. The batters will look marbled.

Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, about two hours.

Make the brown sugar frosting while the cake cools. Start by melting the butter, Crisco, brown sugar and heavy cream on medium-low heat. Remove from the heat as soon as the mixture begins to boil. Pour the brown sugar mixture into a heatproof container and let it cool to room temperature, about an hour.

Finish the frosting once the brown sugar cools. Mix in the sifted sugar, milk, vanilla and food coloring. (Use a mesh colander if you don't have a sifter.)

Then, turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire cooling rack. The bottom of the cake will be facing up. Flip it again, this time onto a cake board or large plate. Now the top is facing up and ready to decorate.

First, fit a piping bag with Wilton tip 32. Then create a rope border by piping an interlocking "S" pattern. Tuck in the ends with an offset spatula and/or hide them with sprinkles! Top with more sprinkles and you're ready to serve!

The cake will stay fresh in an airtight container for several days. No need to refrigerate! It will also freeze well. Happy baking!

Brownie Ingredients:

½ cup flour (or substitute gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp espresso powder
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blondie Ingredients:

¾ cup + 2 tbsp flour (or substitute gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour)
¼ tsp baking powder
6 tbsp unsalted butter, browned, melted and cooled to room temperature
¾ cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract

Brown Sugar Frosting Ingredients:

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp Crisco
¼ cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
4 tsp heavy cream
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp whole milk
2 to 3 drops yellow food coloring
Sprinkle Pop's "Braids for Days Princess Sprinkles" mix

Directions:

  1. Start by browning the butter for the blondies. Melt it on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. The butter will foam as it begins to melt. Once the foam begins to disappear you’ll notice the milk solids settling on the bottom of the pan and beginning to brown. As the butter browns you’ll start to smell a nutty aroma. When the melted butter turns a light brown color quickly remove it from the heat and pour into a glass bowl. There’s a fine line between brown butter and burnt butter, so be careful. Let it rest for an hour until it comes to room temperature.
  2. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease with butter again and coat the pan lightly with flour. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  3. Start by making the blondie mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk the brown butter, egg, vanilla and brown sugar until combined. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined. The batter will resemble cookie dough. Set aside.
  4. Next, make the brownie batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and espresso powder. In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, Hershey's syrup and sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs and then mix in the vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Scoop dollops of blondie batter on top, and use a butter knife to gently cut into the brownie mix, so that the batters look marbled.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan, about two hours.
  7. Make the frosting while the brownie-blondie cake is cooling. Mix the butter, Crisco, brown sugar and heavy cream over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the butter and Crisco melt. Let the mixture come to a boil and then immediately remove it from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl. Let it cool to room temperature, about an hour.
  8. Pour the cooled brown sugar mixture into a different heatproof bowl and then stir in the sifted powdered sugar on low speed until incorporated. Add the milk, vanilla and food coloring and beat on high speed until creamy and fluffy.
  9. Turn the cooled cake out of the pan onto a wire cooling rack. (The bottom will be facing up.) Then flip the cake onto a cake board or large plate so that the top is now facing up. You might need to run a butter knife along the edges of the cake to help it slide out of the pan.
  10. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with WIlton tip 32. Create a rope border by piping an interlocking S pattern around the edge of the cake. Use an offset spatula to tuck in any edges that are sticking out. Then top with sprinkles!
  11. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!




Katie Stymiest


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