Feb 22, 2010

Double-Chocolate-Whammy Groom's Cake (or Poker Group Cake)

I have a burgeoning collection of NordicWare cake pans, but I drew the line at purchasing the stadium cake pan. I have no plans to have a Super Bowl party, because we rarely watch the Super Bowl, and, when we do, it's only to root for the underdog, which is generally not that satisfying. But when Woody offered to lend me his pan, and it was Jim's turn to host the neighborhood poker club, it seemed like a karmic merger of the chocolate-double-whammy elements.
It's another Rose Special--a two-day affair, with several different elements and a multitude of steps, but I'm so accustomed to it now that it barely gives me pause.

Day one: make the Fudgy Pudgy brownies. Frankly, the name "fudgy pudgy" does not pass my presidential dessert name test. Say the president and his wife come to dinner. Say everything has gone well so far. It's time for dessert. You serve it. The president dives in, smiles, and asks what it is. "Well, President Obama, these are Fudgy Pudgy brownies." No, it just won't do. The Secret Service men are snickering. "Double whammy" is bad enough, but "double whammy with fudgy pudgy"--nope.
That being said, these brownies are awfully good. Indeed, they're so fudgy that I understand the urge to make "fudgy" part of the name.

The brownies start with a mixture of unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, white chocolate, and butter, all melted together. I've made cocoa brownies and I've made brownies with unsweetened chocolate, but I've never used both. I expect the white chocolate adds a little sweetness without being too sugary.

The dry ingredients and the walnuts (optional, but I recommend them unless you hate nuts), are stirred in, making a very thick batter, which goes in a square pan, lined with parchment and surrounded with a cake strip.

After just a half hour, you have a pan of brownies that looks good enough to be dessert in its own right, but, of course, you're not done yet.

Day Two: Make the chocolate cake, which is just called "batter," and doesn't have its own cute name. This is a nice sour cream and cocoa cake, which is probably quite good in its own right, although I didn't taste it alone. Here it is before you start adding cut-up brownies to it.

And here is the big pile of cut-up brownies that you add to the batter:

Cutting the pan of brownies into quarter-inch squares is the most time-consuming part of the project. It's one of those things that takes much longer than you think it will and ends up driving you crazy if you're a person of little patience.

And stirring all these little pieces into the batter is the most physically challenging because it's a big bowl, a ton of brownie pieces, and it's hard for a wimpy person to go all the way down to the bottom of the bowl and try to make sure that every little brownie piece is covered in batter.
The mixture goes into the stadium pan (you can also use a tube pan, but then you can't call it a stadium cake), and has to be tamped down so that it doesn't leave holes and bubbles at the bottom of the pan.

As it bakes, it goes up over the top of the pan, and you worry that that may be a problem, and that it won't unmold properly, but it's okay.

It was hard to get a picture of the interior of the cake so you can actually see the pieces of brownie suspended in the cake. This is the best shot:

I was lucky I got home in time to have a piece myself. It was better than I expected. I thought it was more a showpiece for the stadium pan, but it was an excellent chocolate cake. I agree with the anonymous taster who loved the nuggets inside. I may not have liked the name "fudgy pudgy," but I did like the results.
Jim was crazy about this cake. In fact, I think it's the first one I've made that he told me I couldn't take into work. (I think that night of macho poker-playing put him in an assertive mood).

The Garfield Avenue Poker Group

“It’s a giant brownie.”
“It would have been better if served by the Dallas cheerleaders.” (Jim thinks this was aimed at me).
“I like the crunchy outside and soft inside.” (Jim says there was some dissent about the outside; most liked it, but the dissenters thought it was "too dry" or "too hard." He said that everyone liked the middle.)
“Rich; creamy in the middle.”
“It had the right amount of nuts.”
“I like the nuggets.”


Virginia Taylors said...

This looks like a chocolate wonder! Have a great trip!!

NancyB said...

I had a suspicion this cake will turn out to be a favorite whenever I get around to making it, and your write-up confirms it. I had no idea that there was so little cake batter to the amount of brownies!

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

this is SO embarrasing! i'm sitting here all alone and laughing out loud but not jsut out loud, loudly out loud and three times as i read the whole posting. only you marie.....!!!

you did mention whether or not you spritzed with the maker's mark bourbon. i bet not as it would have softened the outer crust. this is one on my most wacky concepts ever--baking a brownie into a cake--so it HAD to have a somewhat wacky name don't you think?

Melinda said...

How good you are to make this for Jim's poker night!
I think you should rent a Dallas cheerleader costume and give them a surprise next poker night and ask if the cake does taste any better! Your heavenly cake baker audience need impartial opinions.

It is my guess the president would like tricky named brownies. Michelle would ask for the recipe.

Lisa said...

Mmm. This looks like chocolate heaven!

I have a brownie recipe I LOVE and make as a staple for pot-lucks, ect. I'll have to try Rose's Fudgy Pudgy and see if they can conquer my favorite treat.

Rose - You have definitely increased my liquor cabinet. Actually, started my liquor cabinet. Now I can offer visitors a cocktail! Most recently cranberry and Triple Sec. Yum. And since I am going to have to try this cake asap, it looks like I'm going to add some bourbon! :-)

Vicki said...

Holy smokes, this sets back Lent!
Can you imagine this with a side of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream? And I hope Jim shared his share of the winnings!

Monica said...

WAIT??? how did I miss this from the list? Brownies into a cake? It's like the PERFECT COMBINATION! With Mark Bourbon!


*running to the pantry right now to see if I have the ingredients*

And I agree, it would not be a brownie unless had nuts in it.

Jenn said...

LOL! Marie, I like your enactment with having the President over for dinner. And your argument against "fudgy pudgy." Beautiful cake! I think that's the prettiest stadium I've ever seen, :).

doughadear said...

I like your imagination! As for the name of the cake, the pudgy part would be more appropriate to how I'd feel after a slice or two.

The stadium pan is very macho - perfect for a poker night.

Marie said...

((Ha--I'll stop calling you Virginia now). It's really good if you like chocolate. And thanks.

Nancy B.,
You can't tell how brownie-rich it is from looking at the pictures--that's why I wanted to show that big pile of brownies.

There are several people in Jim's poker club who don't drink, so I didn't do the bourbon-spritzing step. I think that would have added a lovely dimension.

It would be very bad for my ego if I greeted people in a Dallas cheerleaders costume, and all the men went screaming out of the house.

I know what you mean about the liquor cabinet. Mine now has a lot of interesting choices, especially for after-dinner drinks. I guess I'll have to start serving after-dinner drinks.

This poker group has played penny-ante (literally) poker for as long as they've existed. I keep trying to encourage them to make it a little more interesting, but they're sticklers for tradition. There's certain food that must always be served--Cheetos, for example. Once someone tried to get away with generic Cheetos. This was maybe 10 or 15 years ago, and he's still not widely trusted in the neighborhood.

Not on the list--this is my free choice cake.

Oh, I know--isn't it cute?

Yes, "fudgy pudgy" is very descriptive of how you'd feel after a piece or two (especially two).

Hanaâ said...

What a cool looking cake, Marie! Glad it was a big hit. I mean, how could it not be? Talk about chocolate-overdose (if such thing really exists). Reminds me of a choc cake I made last year: 2 layers of devil’s food cake, filled with a mixture of ganache + crumbled homemade brownies, covered in ganache!! You can find pictures HERE.

Hanaâ said...

I made the Choc Streusel Coffee Cake for the free choice week. I noticed that on day #2, the choc streusel became grainy. On day #1 it was smooth and chocolatey. Did any of you have the same problem?

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

just a suggestion: if you make it again--or anyone does and wants to serve it to non-drinkers: pass the bourbon in a little spray atomizer! i did that even though i had already doused the cake bc some guys like extra!

Mendy said...


Wow! What a fun cake.

Marie said...

That's a very similar concept--it's really a great idea! On the chocolate streusel cake, I didn't have any left for a Day 2 test.

I wish I'd thought of that--I love the idea of passing the bourbon spritzer!

It really impressed the poker boys.

faithy said...

Hi Marie! Your cake looks wonderful! I planned to bake the double valentine but a cake disaster happened so i couldn't bake along with all of you.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

this note is to everyone. words can't describe (this is NOT a cop out) how much i enjoyed seeing all the different cakes you've chosen and how beautiful the decor!

all i can say is that when you all have finished the bake through we'll have to have another book ready because i'll miss you all too much!

Lois B said...

Marie, in spite of my "cake is a vehicle for frosting" comment on another blog, this is a great looking cake, one I think the men in my family would enjoy immensely (no pun intended).

Rose, I'm glad to hear you'll have another book ready. I've been thinking lately about how much I look forward to Mondays to see what everyone has done and to Marie's recap on Thursday because I enjoy the witty humor and the chance to catch up on anything I might have missed.

Jenn said...

Rose and all, how about baking through The Cake Bible? :). It would be more of a challenge for us "visual learners" as there are less pictures, but should still be fun. Just want to throw it out there.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

jenn, what a terrific idea! and you KNOW you all will be done way before i can finish another book! it would be quite a learning experience!

Jenn said...

Rose, it is so nice to know that there will be another wonderful book in the horizon! I wonder what it will be called, :).
Marie - so what do you think about The Cake Bible bake-a-long? I'm sure that everyone else will agree that we need your buy off (being that you are our fearless "leader").

Marie said...

I saw your disaster! But you really persevered. If I were you, I'd never make a yacht cake again.

I think I'm down to only about 52 cakes left to bake--just another year. I was also just thinking how much I'll miss everyone when this project is done.

I think that cake is a good vehicle for whipped cream, but really--this cake didn't need either one. (I do wish I'd tried it with the spritz of bourbon).

Ask me next year. I think I'd have to be crazy to take on another cakebook now. But there's no rule that says I have to be the leader. :-)

NancyB said...

Not to interrupt a potential ground-swell for the Cake Bible, but there's also the Pie and Pastry Bible as an option. Or even some of the smaller cookbooks, which would be a shorter commitment--I have several favorites in Rose's Celebrations, and would love an impetus to bake more from Rose's Christmas Cookies.

Hanaâ said...

Nancy, you read my mind, kind of. Maybe we could bake from the P&PB or even the BB, once a month to shake things up and bake something other than cake (don't get me wrong, I love cake!) :o)

Nicola said...


Personally I would be more impressed with this cake than a Dallas cheerleader. Call me weird! And very funny Jim calling the shots on his cake - perhaps next time he could cut up the wee squares.

You have the patience of a saint cutting that brownie into little squares.

Enjoy Maui. I will be thinking of you all week. Especially in your Dallas cheerleader outfit.

evil cake lady said...

I think this cake should be called the fudgy pudgy cake! I'll have to save this one for the doulas; they LOVE chocolate anything.

Jenn said...

Nancy and Hanaa,
The only reason I suggested The Cake Bible is because I thought this gang (HCB bakers) are more into cakes - I guess I was wrong LOL! I love pastries and so I would be in for it as well. The only caveat with P&PB is that some use seasonal fruits so it might not be something to do all year round (but maybe we can do PP&B and TCB bake a long - it'll be like years of commitment, :)!). Don't have Rose's Celebrations or the Christmas Cookies but don't mind getting them (I have all the bibles and RHC anyway so might as well complete the collection :).

Marie said...

I think we have to plan a huge party where we all get together in some central location and Rose, Woody, and Hector will come and bake mountains of desserts for us. When we're all on a sugar high, we'll decide what project to tackle next.

Marie said...
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Marie said...
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