Brownie Birthday Cake Recipe and Ideas

Published August 10, 2018
Brownie Birthday Cake Combination


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of cake mix batter with sprinkles, mixed according to directions on box

Only a small part of the cake mix batter is needed, so feel free to make the rest into cupcakes according to the box's instructions.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the sugar and cocoa powder together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  3. Set up a double boiler on your stove.
  4. Put the butter in the boiler and stir until it's melted.
  5. Remove the butter from the heat and allow it a few minutes to cool.
  6. Once the butter is no longer piping hot, stir it into the sugar and cocoa powder mixture.
  7. In a separate bowl, crack all four eggs and stir together with a fork.
  8. Slowly add eggs to the sugar and cocoa mixture, stirring as you add them.
  9. Add vanilla.
  10. Beat with mixer until combined.
  11. Add flour; stir until well combined.
  12. Grease a 9x13 cake pan or 10x15 bar pan.
  13. Pour the brownie batter into the cake pan first.
  14. Then, put dollops of the cake mix batter across the top of the brownies.
  15. Use a knife to swirl the cake batter into the brownies.
  16. Bake the brownie and cake batter mixture in the cake pan for approximately 35-40 minutes and the bar pan for approximately 30-35 minutes. Keep an eye on the brownies as your baking time may differ.
  17. The brownies are done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out completely clean. Do not underbake. The top should be golden brown.
  18. Allow the brownies time to cool.
  19. Store covered on your counter for about a week.

Yield: Approximately 24 brownies in the 9x13 pan

Frosting Suggestions

Frost the brownie birthday cake bars so you can use them as a birthday cake alternative or for another special occasion. Consider topping them with:

  • A tangy cream cheese frosting
  • Classic buttercream frosting
  • Chocolate fudge or Swiss buttercream frosting

Then finish decorating the brownie birthday cake using techniques similar to other decorated cakes.

Brownie Base for Layer Cakes

If desired, you can make your brownies part of a larger layered birthday cake. Since brownies are heavier than traditional cake layers, you'll want the brownie to be the base. Then add your frosting to the top and place the cake layers above it just like you would for a traditional cake. Decorate however you like for the birthday boy or girl!

Brownies by Themselves

Of course, you can always make the brownie recipe and skip stirring in the cake batter. The brownie recipe alone results in a dense brownie that has a shell-like top that's not cracked. This makes it perfect for frosting similar to a traditional cake and for use as a stand-in to chocolate cake. Shorten baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.

plain cake-like brownies
frosted brownies

Mix-In Ideas

If you don't plan to frost your brownies, you might want to consider stirring something delicious in to take your brownies to the next level. Consider stirring in:

  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, pecans, or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup mini M&Ms, chocolate chips, or white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup crushed pretzels and 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup crushed Andes mints
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermints
  • 1/2 cup crushed Oreos
  • 1/2 cup miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1/2 cup crushed chocolate chip cookies

These brownies are also delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or topped with homemade whipped cream.

A Delicious Alternative to Traditional Cakes

If a traditional chocolate cake is something you'd rather skip, but you still want to incorporate a chocolate dessert into the festivities, this recipe is sure to please. The brownie and cake combination is the perfect compromise for anyone who wants a cross between the two favorite treats.

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Brownie Birthday Cake Recipe and Ideas