Cake help: Chocolate brownie disaster

Help! How can I fix these sunken brownies?

So here I was, baking chocolate brownies for Christmas gifts. They looked great and smelled great when I took them out of the oven. A few minutes later, my brownies sank in the middle.

This wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d made them for me. I’d just eat the evidence and no one would be the wiser. But I had a party to go to and no time to make anything else. I had to make these brownies look good fast using what I already had on hand.

Find out how I fixed this brownie disaster.

Help for uneven cakes and brownies

sunken browniesI used a brownie mix and followed the instructions for fudge brownies. They’re meant to be gooey in the middle, kind of like a flourless chocolate cake. In my experience it’s pretty normal for the center to be lower than the sides.

A lot of times you can trim the top of a cake or brownies to even them out, then top them off with a thick layer of frosting. But my brownies were too sunken in the middle to even out that way. The center was about an inch lower than the sides.

So I decided to turn them into “filled” brownies.

My quick solution for sunken brownies

Make a filling for the center

fixed sunken browniesI decided the best way to salvage my brownies was to fill the center. All I had on hand were ingredients to make buttercream frosting and M&M candies for decoration. So I made a filling from a mixture of brownie crumbs and chocolate frosting.

I trimmed around the edges of the brownies and made crumbs from the trimmings. Then I mixed the crumbs with about an equal amount of homemade chocolate frosting which is similar to making cake pops. Sounds a little funny but it tastes good.

I spread the filling in the center, sealed the cut edges with a crumb coat, then frosted and decorated. See my step by step photos below.

Trim off the brownie edges

trim edges off brownies

Take a knife and slice off the edges of the brownies.

Brownies after edges trimmed off

trimmed brownies

After the edges are trimmed off, it’s more even but there’s still a depression in the center.

A bowl of brownie trimmings

bowl of brownie trimmings

These are trimmings from five pans of brownies.

Make crumbs from the brownie trimmings

brownie crumbs

My mini chopper turns brownie trimmings into crumbs super fast.

Add brownie crumbs to homemade chocolate buttercream frosting (recipe below)

add brownie crumbs to frosting

Make about an equal amount of frosting to the amount of crumbs you have.

Basic buttercream frosting recipe

Cream one stick of butter. Add one pound of powdered sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and a few tablespoons of milk or water to thin the frosting.

For chocolate buttercream frosting, mix in powdered cocoa along with the powdered sugar. I don’t measure this; I just go by how it looks, but I think you need ½ to ¾ cup of cocoa powder.

The finished brownie crumb filling

brownie crumb filling

Here’s what the filling looks like after mixing the brownie crumbs with the frosting. It’s very thick and will do a beautiful job of filling in the sunken brownies. It might look a little strange but, trust me, it tastes really good!

Fill the center of the brownies and add a “crumb coat” to the cut edges

cake help brownie10

I just made a glaze with powdered sugar and water to spread over the cut edges of the brownies. This helps seal in the crumbs before adding the frosting. I probably would have skipped this step if I was going to be using chocolate frosting. But since I wanted to do white, any chocolate crumbs would really show.

Add edible glitter to frosted brownies

edible glitter on frosted brownies

I frosted the brownies with white frosting and sprinkled with edible glitter.

Frosted and decorated brownies. Disaster averted!

frosted and decorated filled brownies

White frosting, a little edible clear glitter and some M&Ms are the finishing touches to these rescued brownies.

Brownies topped with a pretty bow. A simple gift of brownies looks special with a pretty bow on top.

wrapped brownies

These brownies are now ready for the party!

More ideas to disguise sunken cakes and brownies. Turn them into a decadent dessert!

My brownies were so sunken in they almost looked like tart shells, and that gave me an idea. Why not add some no-bake fillings and make something really special. So here are some ideas to get you started. I’m sure you can think of more:

  1. Black forest brownies. Spread a can of prepared cherry pie filling on top of the brownies, top with whipped cream or Cool Whip, garnish with chocolate sprinkles
  2. Boston cream brownies. Make vanilla pudding and spread on top of brownies. After the pudding sets up, melt 2 oz of chocolate chips and drizzle over the top.
  3. Chocolate chip cream cheese brownies. Mix 8 oz cream cheese, 14 oz sweetened condensed milk, ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 tsp vanilla together. Pour over brownies and cover the top with chocolate chips.
  4. Chocolate and peanut butter fudge brownies. Mix one at a time: 1 lb powdered sugar, ½ cup peanut butter, 6T butter, 1/4 tsp salt, 4 tsp milk and 1T vanilla. Spread over the top and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
  5. Triple chocolate brownies. Make chocolate pudding and cover the brownies with it. Let the pudding set up and sprinkle chocolate chips all over.

Some brownies don’t need rescuing. These recipes are supposed to be foolproof.

You can’t beat the convenience of a boxed brownie mix and most people think the flavor is just as good as homemade. But if you’re ready to ditch the mix and make brownies from scratch, here are some really decadent brownie recipes.

Turkey soup from leftover turkey

Use Thanksgiving leftovers to make turkey soup

Thanksgiving’s over and you’re left with a few turkey scraps and the carcass. You might be tempted to throw it out, but don’t! That bird still has one more trick up its wing. Here’s an easy soup recipe you can make with your leftover turkey and carcass.

If you’re just too tired to think about cooking something else right now, no problem. Just wrap up the turkey carcass and scraps and put them in the freezer for a couple of weeks and come back to this recipe. Otherwise, let’s get started making a hearty turkey soup.

My original recipe from Thanksgiving leftovers

Stretch your food dollars and make homemade turkey soup

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to make Thanksgiving dinner, and even luckier that my hostess sends me home with the carcass and some leftover meat. So I came up with this turkey soup recipe that’s foolproof and tasty every time. And you wouldn’t believe how wonderful it smells while it’s cooking! Savory poultry seasoning is the key.

And you’re not limited to just using turkey leftovers at Thanksgiving. This is a great recipe to make year round using leftover chicken carcasses. Think about those yummy rotisserie chickens you can get at the market, Costco or Sam’s Club. Wrap up the carcass and stick it in the freezer. When you get two or three of them, go ahead and make this recipe. You’ll get a few extra meals from those $5 chickens. How’s that for stretching a buck!

homemade turkey soup from carcassIngredients

  • Turkey carcass and leftover turkey (cut into chunks)
  • 12 oz carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1½ onions chopped
  • 5 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2½T poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes
  • ½ stick of butter (2 oz)
  • ¼ to ½ cup of regular or whole wheat flour

Instructions

  1. Place the turkey carcass in a large pot along with the vegetables, rice and seasoning. (The leftover turkey meat, butter and flour will be used later.) Put enough water in the pot to nearly cover the turkey carcass. Bring to a boil and cook for about an hour. The veggies should be tender.
  2. Remove the turkey carcass from the pot and take the meat off the bones. Put the turkey scraps back in the pot along with the leftover turkey meat.
  3. In a small frying pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook 3 to 5 minutes to make a roux. Gradually add some broth into the roux and stir all the lumps out. When the roux is about the thickness of gravy, gradually add it into the soup. Mix well and cook until the broth is thickened, about 15 minutes or so. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Poultry seasoning, the key to a flavorful turkey soup

Poultry seasoning, a blend of sage, marjoram and thyme, makes a tasty soup with leftover turkey. Here’s a good recipe to make your own poultry seasoning blend with spices you probably already have in your cupboard.

Pictorial for making turkey soup from a carcass

Put the turkey carcass, spices and vegetables in the pot with enough water to almost cover the carcass.

Turkey carcass prior to making soup

Turkey carcass prior to making soup

Remove the carcass after boiling for an hour and take the meat off the bones.

meat removed from turkey carcass

Meat removed from turkey carcass

Make the roux. This is what it looks like after cooking for about five minutes, prior to adding broth.

Making the roux for turkey soup

Making the roux for turkey soup

Add broth to the roux until it’s about as thick as gravy, then mix the roux into the soup.

Roux with broth added

Roux with broth added

Cook the soup for about 15 minutes after adding the roux.

Homemade turkey soup

Homemade turkey soup

Time to eat!

Savory turkey soup from leftover turkey

Savory turkey soup from leftover turkey 

Cream of carrot soup with pie spice

A warm and spicy cream of carrot soup recipe

Here’s a simple recipe I invented for carrot soup seasoned with pumpkin pie spice. I thought the naturally sweet carrots would go well with the warm blend of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in the pumpkin pie spice. And they’re perfect together!

By itself this cream of carrot soup is a good appetizer or you can serve it with other sides to make it a more balanced meal. I’ve served it with a grilled cheese sandwich, or three-bean salad or a piece of broiled chicken.

It’s easy to make and you can whip it up in no time. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

Here’s what you need for cream of carrot soup

ingredients for cream of carrot soup with warm spices

Carrots, onion, chicken bouillon, sour cream, white and black pepper and pumpkin pie spice. I get the pumpkin pie spice from Trader Joe’s.

The cream of carrot soup recipe follows:

Ingredients

1 lb carrots peeled and sliced
1 onion chopped
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1T pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp white pepper or more to taste
water to just about cover vegetables
1 cup sour cream
salt to taste

Instructions

Cream of carrot soup with warm spices

Cream of carrot soup with warm spices

  1. Combine everything except the sour cream into a pan and cook at least 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or regular blender.
  2. Then add sour cream and blend again. You may need to add a little extra water if the soup is too thick. Heat the soup to bring it back up to temperature (almost boiling).
  3. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired. Enjoy!

Step by step pictorial for cream of carrot soup

Cook the vegetables in broth with spices.

Cooked vegetables for carrot soup

Cooked vegetables for cream of carrot soup

Use an immersion blender to purée the cream of carrot soup. You can also use a blender but this is easier.

Puree carrot soup with immersion blender

Puree carrot soup with immersion blender

Purée until it looks like this.

Carrot soup after it's pureed

Carrot soup after it’s pureed

Add sour cream and blend again with immersion blender.

Blending sour cream into carrot soup

Blending sour cream into carrot soup

The finished cream of carrot soup.

Cream of carrot soup with sour cream blended in

Cream of carrot soup with sour cream blended in

Garnish with sour cream and serve!

Cream of carrot soup with pie spice

Cream of carrot soup with pie spice

The finished cream of carrot soup is smooth and creamy, warm and comforting.