Spiderweb Cheesecake Brownies

If you can’t have a little bit of fun in the kitchen during Halloween then when can you? We all know I’m not a huge fondant fan (I lack the patience & the will!), I generally only tend to crack it out around Christmas time for my production line of boozy cakes (no joke). I much prefer a more natural kind of decoration on my bakes, preferably with ingredients I’m already using.

Is it kind of lazy? Yes, it probably is, I mean it cuts down on hands on time & the washing up, win, win! But for me it’s also about not wanting to waste anything or open up/use ingredients that I could put to better use in something else, not just decorating stuff. If there’s one thing I hope that I’ve proved over the years however, it’s that this kind of decorating style is just as effective as it’s fondant based counterpart.

You don’t have to confine covering, moulding & piping to just icing, just about anything with the same consistency will work just as well! That’s exactly where the idea of these brownies came from, well that & my love of a quick & easy win. I wanted to create something a little bit indulgent but with a spooky theme about it. I immediately turned my thoughts to piping, thinking about the various ways I could use a piping bag to create some spider web designs.

Instead of baking a batch of brownies & merely piping my design on top with icing however, I figured why not bake the design straight into them instead?! All I needed was my go-to brownie recipe, a tiny bit of cheesecake mixture, very minimal effort & I’ve got a striking, spooky, spiderweb. These are rich, indulgent, squidgy & perfect for Halloween!

SPIDERWEB CHEESECAKE BROWNIES
(makes one large 23cm brownie)

Ingredients:

  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 70g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80ml rapeseed oil
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 65g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g chocolate chips (or whatever you like, try Smarties or buttons)

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 110g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 1/2 a whisked egg

Method:

  • Grease & line an 36cm round cake tin with baking parchment
  • Begin by making the cheesecake mixture, place all of the ingredients together in a bowl & whisk until smooth
  • Carefully pour the mixture into a small piping bag & set aside for later
  • To make the brownie, in a large saucepan, gently melt the butter & mix in the sugar (it will look lumpy but don’t worry)
  • Remove the pan from the heat & mix in in the eggs, oil & vanilla
  • Place a sieve over the pan & sift over the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate & cornflour
  • Use a spatula to fold through the dry ingredient before adding in the chocolate chips & mixing through
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin
  • Next, cut a small hole in the tip of the piping bag & starting from the centre, carefully pipe concentric circles on top of the brownie (it should end up looking like a target)
  • Once piped, use a skewer or the handle of a spoon to create the spiderweb feathering; start by placing the skwer or handle into the centre of the mixture/circles & drag outwards in a straight line to the edge of the cake tin, repeat until you have the desired effect
  • Bake the brownies at 170C for 30-35 minutes until they still have a slight wobble & a skewer inserted into the centre of the brownies still comes out with a few crumbs (check to see if the cheesecake mixture starts to brown too quickly after 20 minutes, if it is, cover the tin loosely with a sheet of foil)
  • Leave the brownies to cool completely in their tin before slicing

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