Recipe: The “I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Brownie” Cake

I did it again, and it is glorious.

Only the fourth iteration within the last 1.5 years, what began as a hasty, emotional solution to a culinary accident has turned into a sensation. Manifesting itself much like the blue moon or Haley’s comet, when only a few have tasted the goodness and have extolled its virtues far and wide, the “I can’t believe it’s not a brownie” cake is a precious site to behold. The thickness has to be seen to be believed. The warmth that emanates from it is surprising every time. Oh, just look at it!

Gluten-free dairy-free vegan brownie cake

Gluten-free dairy-free vegan brownie cake

It is, without a doubt, the best, truly the best, thing I have ever made.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask Debbi or Amy or Shane. Or Elizabeth and the sangha when they try this Wednesday night. Or you can try it for yourself, if you dare.

Plus, your vegan friends will love it, and so will you. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free and wheat-free. (It’s so free of gluten, that the lettering for it on the package is bigger than the description of the actual product.)

I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Brownie Cake

Dry ingredients

Other ingredients (as listed on the mix packaging)

  • 1-1/4 cups melted butter or margarine (such as Smart Balance light)
  • 3 large eggs (or a flaxseed meal alternative; see below)
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (cow, soy, rice or nut; I use Rice Dream)
  • 3/4 + 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice


Bob's Red Mill brownie and chocolate cake mixes

Bob's Red Mill brownie and chocolate cake mixes

This is really easy. Essentially, all we’re doing is following the directions on each of the Bob’s Red Mill mix packaging simultaneously. I’ve done this slightly differently each time I made it. The last time, I mixed the two powder mixes together first, then added the liquids, etc. Today, I added the powder last.

  1. Generously grease a 13″x9″ Pirex pan. This will give you a THICK cake. (If you want a regular brownie thickness, you’ll want TWO 13″x9″ pans!)
  2. Place the butter in a VERY LARGE mixing bowl. (I actually didn’t notice it was supposed to be melted until I started typing this, but if it’s whipped or at room temperature, it’s OK.)
  3. Add the eggs. (Or if you’re vegan, or bought a whole package of flaxseed meal once like I did and need to use it for something as delicious as this, grab a cereal bowl and put 3 Tablespoons of flaxseed meal and add in 9 Tablespoons of water. Mix and let it settle for a few minutes.)
  4. Add vanilla and lemon juice.
  5. Add the (3/4 + 1/3 cups) water.
  6. Add the milk.
  7. Now add the flaxseed meal mix if you didn’t add eggs earlier.
  8. Use an electric hand mixer on the lowest setting, and mix these liquids together, just a little bit. Try not to splash a lot on yourself.
  9. Now add BOTH the brownie mix and the chocolate cake mix.
  10. If you want the room to have chocolate dust float in the air, turn on the electric mixer. If not, best use a big spoon to blend the dry with the wet first, until you see a typical wet chocolate batter.
  11. Mix with the electric mixer for a few minutes, on the lowest or second-lowest setting. (There may be more batter than the mixer beaters can handle. Use your best judgment on how to overcome this obstacle.)
  12. Add the optional chocolate chips. (The brownie mix recipe says to add 1/4 cup, but I added just about 1 full cup! Mmmm. And I’m pretty sure Trader Joe’s chips are vegan-friendly. Crossing fingers.)
  13. Add the optional nuts, and perhaps whatever else you dare to. (Today I didn’t add nuts because I’m not sure if my recipients are sensitive to them.)
  14. Pour contents into the pre-greased pan(s). (Women or small people may need a helper to hold the bowl for them while they scrape out the batter.)
  15. If you’re a chocoholic like I am, sprinkle some more chocolate chips (or nuts, etc.) on the top of the batter.
  16. Bake for 38 minutes. Best to check it at 30 minutes to be safe.
  17. Let it cool for awhile, but do try a piece while it’s still warm. That is when it’s the yummiest.
  18. Refrigeration is not recommended. Group consumption is.
  19. Keep in pan under cling wrap to hold in the moisture.

Cross-section of yummy goodness!

Close-up of brownie cake

Close-up of brownie cake

Don’t deny it. You want it. (Thanks to my roommate Shane for the photos.)

Alternatives (as if you need any!)

You may want to do the Fudge topping recipe on the Brownie Mix package. I haven’t done it. The same package also suggests going a step further to create Cream Cheese Brownies. With the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Brownie” Cake, that would be an interesting next step in the evolution. Try it and let me know how it goes.

There is also a cupcake option on the Chocolate Cake mix, but I believe the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Brownie” Cake is too dense for cupcakes. Perhaps a lover of cupcakes can try it and report back.

Comments welcome!

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