The Bakery: Triple Layer Decadent Brownies

A short story followed by a recipe, both sharing a connection to each other

By Ayla Iqbal

Sometimes I’m so clumsy, I surprise myself. I’ll be walking down the street, see an object on the floor and think: Just keep a foot’s distance from it and you’ll be good. Yet somehow, despite this very active warning in my head, I’ve managed to trip over the said object, while simultaneously shoving a man who is holding a birthday cake for his daughter, into a woman who is riding a bike. Next thing I know, the woman and bike are on the floor, the cake is ruined and I stubbed my toe.

Okay so clearly the other two people have bigger problems, but I have to deal with the embarrassment of starting the whole predicament to begin with. Do you know how many cakes I’ve had to reimburse people? I’ve had to create a separate column on my monthly budget excel sheet just for cakes. And cakes for other people that I will not even be able to consume. I get so upset every time I buy a cake for a stranger, that I end up buying one for myself. I just keep spending that money and piling on those pounds.

So there I was, rubbing my stubbed toe and offering to purchase yet another cake. I half-heartedly extended my hand to the woman on the floor and pulled her up. I gasped when I saw her face. Her chin looked quite cut up; “That’s going to be one hell of a scab,” I thought to myself, without realising I actually said it out loud. To cover my tracks, I quickly asked her if she would like a cupcake to ease her pain. She acted insulted that I would even ask, “I don’t eat sugar or gluten.” Just grabbed her bike and went off. But not without giving me the finger. “Alright, jeez, I’m SORRY!” I yelled back. “So sensitive, am I right?” I looked at the cake man, who started looking extremely nervous.

He was just muttering to himself, something about his wife and being late and the cake being ruined and how he was going to have to sleep in the garbage or garage. I honestly couldn’t be bothered to listen carefully but part of me kind of felt bad.

I grabbed his shoulders and marched him back inside the bakery. “Don’t worry man, I’m here all the time, these guys love me, they’ll sort you out in no time.”

Excusing myself, I throw myself on my counter, looking as nonchalant as possible, “George, my main man, I need a birthday cake STAT. What you got available? Chocolate, vanilla, maybe some red velvet?”

“Sam,” I could already hear disapproval in his voice, “seriously, you’re here again this week?”

I felt a tap on my shoulders, so I turned around to find a woman who looked very much like a crow in my face. “Excuse ME, but I was waiting in line! It’s my turn to place an order!”

“Listen, lady, you see that guy over there, the one who looks like he may shit himself. I’m with him, and we have a birthday cake emergency. You see, George is my best friend, and we have an understanding so he always helps me first.” Waving my hands across the room to George’s sister who worked behind the cash register, “Lucille! Hey! What’s up girl, can you help me out? Mrs Crow needs some assistance. THANKS!”

Completely over this situation already, I huffed and faced George who started saying, “Sam, you can’t cut in line and we are not best friends.”

“That is hurtful George. I’m here almost every day and I really thought we had a special bond.”

“You’re incorrigible Samantha.”

“Wowwww, getting into a dictionary, good for you! Now, guy, hey! Come over here!” The nervous man pottered over, “George will help you out and I will pay for the cake, so put it on my tab! Good day!”

I started to walk out so I could get on with this boring situation when I got called out, “We don’t have tabs Sam, you’ll have to wait.”

“Ugh fine, though, you really should for me at this point.” I twirled around on the spot and something new caught my eye. I ran towards the counter on the west side and planted my face on top. Take a look at that beauty. A new product, very intriguing. I looked around and everyone seemed to be preoccupied. I couldn’t be expected to wait any longer for service so I popped my hand over the counter, reached down and yanked a piece. Surprisingly, no one saw, even more surprisingly I didn’t knock anything down in the process. That’s fate for you.

This was something magnificent. I took one bite and my whole world changed. Perfect flavour combinations with each layer contributing to create the ultimate dessert. It was as if time had stopped, but also moved forward and backward at the same time. As if all the oceans were colliding in this very moment, while the most beautiful note was ever sung.

“SAM! What are you doing?” My eyes popped open, looking directly at a very miffed George.

Shoving the rest in my mouth, “I’ll buy the rest of these, thank you very much.”

Whenever I make dessert, I tend to be very good with restraining myself and not consuming that much; with the exception of this dessert. All restraint and ideas of being healthy are thrown out the window and I will happily eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner until it is all consumed. I also don’t particularly like sharing as I want it all to myself.

Now that I’ve substantially raised the expectations on this recipe, there are three steps to assemble the brownies and it is well worth it.

First Step:*

Line the baking pan with either aluminum foil or parchment paper before putting the brownie mixture in


5 tablespoons of unsalted butter (71 grams)
2 ounces dark chocolate
¾ cup of white sugar
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup of cocoa (sifted)
⅓ cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¼ tsp baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup of flour
½ cup of chocolate chips



1. In a saucepan, on low heat, first put the butter and dark chocolate and melt.
2. Then add the sugars and combine, then add the vegetable oil and vanilla, and the cocoa. The mixture will be quite runny.
3. Take it off the heat, and add in the eggs – making sure that the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot (you don’t want scrambled eggs!) This will thicken up everything.
4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined, finally adding the chocolate chips.
5. Have your pan (8×8 inch) lined with either aluminum foil coated with cooking spray or parchment paper.
6. In the oven for 20 minutes at 175 Celsius.

*If you aren’t feeling the desire to make the brownie from scratch, go ahead and use boxed brownie mix. But I would recommend adding chocolate chips to any mix, it definitely adds in something special.

While that is in the oven, get started on the second step:


1 cup milk
1 packet of instant vanilla pudding, or custard powder (3.4 oz)
1 cup peanut butter
½ cup of icing sugar


1. Whisk together the milk and instant pudding
2. Then add peanut butter and icing sugar and leave in the fridge while brownies cool

Third Step:


100 grams dark chocolate – chopped
100 grams single cream/whipping cream*


1. Put the chocolate in a bowl, heat the cream on a pan on the stove. Once boiled, add to the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
2. Then stir to get the ganache

*If you want the ganache to be thinner, add in 150 grams of cream instead of 100 grams

Baked brownies and the peanut butter and ganache layer ready to go

1. When the brownies are done in the oven, keep in the fridge for an hour to completely cool
2. Add in the peanut butter layer, and put back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

Once the brownies have cooled, put the first layer evenly on top

3. Then smooth on the chocolate ganache layer, and back in the fridge, for another 30 minutes

After the peanut butter has cooled, spread on the ganache and cool again

4. Remove from pan and cut into squares

This story is part of a series, which is updated weekly. You can read the previous entry here

For the full story, you can visit the author’s personal website here

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