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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

July 8, 2008

Strawberry Banana Brownie Cake

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Scott is my next door neighbor and has been for the last five and a half years. I can't recall a time when I have see him without a big smile on his face. He's just a happy go lucky guy! Usually when I do see him, he's outside in the street playing games with his kids, which always warms my heart. You just don't see that very often anymore! Scott's a great neighbor, a loving husband, and super devoted dad; so when I found out it was his 40th birthday, I couldn't wait to make him something as fabulous as he is.
When I asked him what he wanted, he said he liked chocolate, strawberries, and bananas. I had a few recipes to work with but eventually decided to take the best of both and invent something new. This is what I came up with. It's got everything: brownies, cheesecake, chocolate whipped cream, strawberries, bananas, and chocolate!

It sounds really complicated but it was easy to whip together. It's also fairly economical to make and feeds a lot of people so I could see making this for a BBQ or potluck (providing you can keep it cold). It will hold up to room temperature for about and hour. If you wanted it to last longer you could use chocolate flavored Cool Whip instead of the whipped cream but you will sacrifice some of the flavor. 

Strawberry Banana Brownie Cake
Yield: Depending on large you cut the slices, you could easily serve 16 or more.

Brownies
1 package (19.8 ounce) fudge brownie mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs, at room temperature, whisked together in a bowl
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips but normal sized should work too)

Cheesecake
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar

Filling and Toppings
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced lengthwise
1 medium firm banana, sliced
1 oz semisweet chocolate curls (optional) I use a vegie peeler and a small block of chocolate

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Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a jelly roll pan (I used one that was 16 1/2 by 11 1/2 by 1 inch) with wax or parchment paper. Fold the paper in half (like a book) and make a sharp crease in the paper (this will come in handy later then you need to cut the brownie in half). Lay the paper into the jellyroll pan, butter the paper and lightly dust with flour (or use Pam with Flour -- I love it!). Put the mixer bowl and whisk (or beaters) into the fridge to chill.

In another large bowl, combine the brownie mix, oil, water, eggs, and chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are incorporated, roughly 50 strokes. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth it out with a rubber spatula. Place it into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Spread over brownie and bake 10-12 minutes longer or until topping is set and dry looking. Cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Sift the cocoa and powdered sugar together. Remove the whisk/beaters, bowl, and cream from the fridge. Pour the cream into the bowl and whisk on the highest setting for 1 minute (I like to put a kitchen towel over the mixer and bowl to avoid splattering). When the mixture just starts to look like it's getting thick, add the cocoa and sugar and continue whipping for another 1-3 minutes until the whipped cream gets thick and stiff peaks form. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill.

When the brownies are cool, put the strawberry preserves into a microwave save dish and heat on high for 30 seconds. Pour the strawberries over the surface and spread as best you can. If you don't have enough to cover the entire surface of the pan just heat a little more of the preserves and repeat the process.

Now it's time to assemble it!* Remember the crease you made in the parchment paper earlier? Use it as your guide to cut the brownie in half. Be sure to cut all the way down, through the waxed paper. Place half of the brownie on a serving platter, dish, or cake board (be sure to remove the waxed paper). Cover with a layer of strawberries and then cover with thinly sliced banana. Use the entire banana on this layer ( you don't need to save any for the top layer because it will turn brown and look unsightly). Top the strawberries and bananas with 3/4 of the whipped cream. Next, place the second half of the brownie on top. This is where it gets a little tricky.. there is no right or wrong way to put the top layer of brownie on top. I flipped it over so the cheesecake layer was pointing down and the flat bottom was facing up, however, if layering it cheesecake side up is easier for you, go for it. I just found it easier to flip it. Top this layer with the remaining chocolate whipped cream, strawberries, and if you want, chocolate curls.

*If you're not in a hurry you can place the brownies (lightly wrapped in foil) into the freezer to firm up for up to 30 minutes. This will make it easier to assemble if the pieces are slightly frozen. You can also cut the brownie into thirds or even quarters and make the stack even higher. It's totally up to you!

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5 comments:

  1. Good god this looks amazing!! brownie and stack must be the best two words in any sentence ever ;-)

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  2. OK those look just amazing and I'm telling you, 40 is the new 30!

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  3. I've really got to find a spot in your kitchen to hide in and eat the leftovers after you all go to sleep:) And as you've inspired me...I'm making homemade peach pie right now. Can you believe it? I'm baking! I'll post pics on my blog and give everyone an ego boost;)

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  4. wow! this is an awesome cake! so creative and well packed into one! wow!

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  5. holy cow! this looks delicious :) anything with brownies and I'm in! i'm drooling over these pictures.

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