Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brownie-Bottom Coconut Chocolate Cream Cake over Dulce de Leche

Anyone ever been over to Willow Bird Baking? That chick can spin sugar into gold, and she's a dang good writer to boot. Julie, someday we'll meet and we'll gab the afternoon away through chocolate-laden teeth.

When I saw her Brownie-Bottom Coconut Chocolate Cream Cake, my eyes got wide and I knew that thing was going to be in my mouth before month's end. I mean, please. Look at it! I'm having a hard time imagining a dessert I'd rather eat..... Nope; can't think of one. At least not one I can make myself. It's dense, it's light, it's fluffy, it's sticky, it's warm, it's cold, it's flaky, it's smooth, and it tastes like coconut chocolate heaven. Just stick some creamy vanilla ice cream on the side and you'll be moaning your way into oblivion. It's un perfecto finale to the Cinco de Mayo Menu.

Brownie-Bottom Coconut Chocolate Cream Cake over Dulce de Leche
adapted from and inspired by this recipe by Willow Bird Baking
with this and this recipe borrowed from Epicurious.
 Brownie Ingredients
1 recipe of your favorite dark chocolate or bittersweet brownies (baked in a 9-inch springform pan.)
For homemade brownies from scratch, I recommend this recipe WITHOUT the dulce de leche incorporated. (The dulce de leche will play a different role this time.) If you want to go with a boxed mix, I recommend Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix. It's delicious, and the chocolate chips add extra texture.

Coconut Cream Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients
2 cups chilled heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

Whipped Cream Ingredients

1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
shaved chocolate OR toasted coconut

Dulce de Leche Ingredients
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

NOTE: This cake sounds complicated, but  It’s much easier than it seems, especially if you just go with a good boxed brownie mix. Also, you it's easier if you divide up the work, since many of the steps can be done on separate days. You can make the brownie and coconut layer one day, make the chocolate mousse layer on day two, and top and serve the cake on day three.

TO MAKE THE COCONUT CREAM: Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and flour in medium bowl. Bring milk and coconut to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add hot coconut milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return to same saucepan; cook until pastry cream thickens and boils, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla extract. Pour pastry cream on top of the brownie layer. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface to prevent formation of skin. Chill overnight.

TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 150°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly. Pour over coconut cream layer and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. 

TO MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM: Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, and coconut extract in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over top of mousse layer and then top with shaved chocolate or toasted coconut.

TO MAKE THE DULCE DE LECHE: (via David Lebovitz) Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).
Pour one can (400 gr/14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt. Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate. 
Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary). Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth. 
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.

FINAL SERVING INSTRUCTIONS: Once the dulce de leche is warm, ladle a small pool of it onto a plate and top with a slice of Brownie-Bottom Coconut Chocolate Cream Cake and a scoop of quality vanilla ice cream.


  1. seriously Janna this is ridiculous. I'm TOTALLY going to try it.

    1. Aw, thanks, Tiffani! Please DO try it and come back to tell us how it turned out!

  2. Hi Janna, today I'm collecting cake recipes. Please drop me a line on if you are ok with me linking to your post in my blog (Carole's Chatter). Cheers