The Incredible Brownie Cake

This recipe comes from perhaps my all-time favorite cookbook. Jeanette Stroh was inarguably one of the best caterers in Mendocino County; her recipes were served to practically everyone and her catering company was the most sought-after in the area. When she passed away, her daughter compiled her recipes into the greatest cookbook of all time.Without the fancy photography and exotic naming tricks implemented by so many cooks, chefs and bakers these days, this book cuts straight to the chase and gives you the best food for a crowd. I’m not sharing this recipe with you because I’m so clever for thinking of it or so talented for altering it…no, I’m sharing it with you because you need it in your repertoire of sure-fire people-pleasers. So without further ado, here is the infamous brownie cake recipe, (almost) straight from Country Cooking in Mendocino County to you.



  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup sour milk (or add 1 Tbsp vinegar to ¼ cup milk and let stand for a minute or so)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups chopped chocolate (optional)


• 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
• ¼ cup butter
• 3 Tbsp milk
• 2 Tbsp cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 350F

Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the butter, water, and cocoa powder to a boil.

Pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour and sugar. Stir until smooth.

Stir in the sour milk. Add the vanilla and baking soda, stir until smooth. Add chocolate, if using.

Pour into a 10X15X1 baking dish (basically, anything large works, this is not a thick cake)

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. When using a smaller dish, it will take at least 18-20 minutes.

Meanwhile make the frosting:

Melt the butter in a saucepan.

Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients.

Whisk until smooth.

After allowing the cake to cool for about 5 minutes, pour the frosting over the cake. Let cool completely.

Serve immediately or freeze. (Make 2 if you are planning on freezing. I bet only one of the cakes will make it to the freezer…if you are lucky)