Forget the box of brownie mix from your local grocery store. This popular dessert is easy to make for family celebrations, potlucks and holiday picnics.
Baking from scratch doesn’t have to take a lot of time, effort and ingredients. This recipe calls for cooking a mixture of butter, water, oil and cocoa in a pan, adding the mix to dry ingredients and then pouring a fudgy icing over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Is it a brownie or is it a cake?
Buttermilk Brownies is also known as Texas Sheet Cake. But is this a brownie or a cake? Is there a difference? Well, yes there is. The two might call for flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and in this case, cocoa, but there the similarity ends.
The main difference between the two desserts as far as ingredients go is that a cake calls for leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder, which makes a cake such as my Italian Cream Cake lighter. Brownies don’t call for these so they end up more chewy and dense. Cakes typically call for a lot more flour, too.
The texture and appearance of brownies and cake also differ. You want brownies to have a cracked top. You wouldn’t want that for your cake, even if it will be frosted. And Buttermilk Brownies does have a smooth surface before it's frosted.
Ok, now that we’ve established that this is more cake than brownie based on the above criteria, let’s get down to the business of making it.
Don't have buttermilk?
You can make your own by adding 1 T of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Stir slightly and set it aside for a minute or two.
- 1 stick margerine
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
Other steps to take:
Prepare a 11" x14" x1" baking pan by lightly spraying it with a cooking spray such as Pam.
Preheat the oven to 400°
Set out a couple cake racks to put the baking sheet on to cool the cake.
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 pound box of powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla
- dash of salt
Making the Buttermilk Browines
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
- Combine butter, oil, water and cocoa in a large pan on the stove. Bring it to a boil.
- When the mixture on the stove comes to a boil, pour it over the dry ingredients in the bowl.
- Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Blend well. You can do this by hand or use a small electric hand mixer.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes.
- While the cake is in the oven, make the icing. You will need to ice the cake immediately after it comes out of the oven so you need to have the icing ready.
Making the Icing for Buttermilk Brownies
- Combine butter, cocoa and buttermilk in a large pan on the stove (you can use the same pan you made the cake in).
- Bring them to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the rest of the icing ingredients.
- Blend well (you can just do this by hand).
If I still have a lot of time left before the cake comes out of the oven, I put the pan back on the burner on low so it doesn't harden. Even though you'll pour it over the hot cake, if the icing has cooled, it will be hard to spread and might tear the top of the cake.
And by the way, this dessert freezes well so if your kids are out of the house, like mine are, you can still make this. Just cut the cake into serving-sized pieces, wrap them well and pop them into the freezer. The pieces thaw quickly (or you could warm them in the microwave) and you have dessert in no time. They should be good 4-6 months, if they last that long.