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Cake help: Chocolate brownie disaster

Help! How can I fix these sunken brownies?

sunken brownies

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.