If you asked me for my favorite dessert, I’d answer brownies—without fail. The reason: They are consistent. Cookies can be crumbly, pies can be soupy and cakes can be oily. (Check out these must-try tricks for better baked treats.) Brownies, in all their rich and fudgy glory, are always tasty. (These are our favorite brownie recipes.) Smothered in creamy frosting, dotted with toasty nuts, paired with a cold glass of milk or topped with a heaping scoop of ice cream, this chocolaty bar is a dessert staple for a reason.
Despite my love of brownies, I must admit I rarely take the time to make them from scratch. Like the San Franciscan I am, I often just reach for the Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix (and this clever Baker’s Edge pan), but I recently discovered another “mix” method I’d never before considered. Instead of using brownie mix, you can use pudding and cake mixes for moist, equally scrumptious results. With four ingredients and three steps, this technique is so easy and irresistible, it practically makes brownie mixes obsolete (but not quite).
Read on to learn—step by step—how to make cake mix brownies.
How to Make Cake Mix Brownies
- 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix (plus other ingredients mentioned on the package)
- 1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)
- 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Vanilla ice cream, optional
Step 1: Combine
Mix up the chocolate pudding mix as the box instructs. Then, whisk in the dry cake mix (note: you won’t need the extra ingredients listed on the packaging). Stir in the chocolate chips.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you want to add a different layer of flavor to your brownies, try subbing peanut butter chips, chopped walnuts or other common mix-ins for the semisweet chocolate chips.
Step 2: Bake
Pour the delightfully chunky mixture into a greased baking sheet and spread it in the pan evenly. Bake the bars at 350 degrees until the top springs back when lightly touched; this should take 30-35 minutes.
Step 3: Dust (and eat!)
Sprinkle the cooled bars with confectioners’ sugar and cut into serving-size pieces. If you like, top each serving with a scoop of softened vanilla (or chocolate or mint or cookies ‘n’ cream) ice cream. Mmm!
Test Kitchen Tip: To easily cut these brownies, line the pan with foil before baking. Make sure to allow the edges of the foil to hang over the sides of the pan to act as handles. When the brownies are cooled, lift the foil from the pan and then cut them into bars, squares or diamonds.
Can you use expired cake mix?
The short answer is yes. Generally healthy people can eat cake mixes up to five months after their best-by date so long as they’ve been stored in a cool and dry place. (Here are other foods you can eat past their use-by date.) However, we don’t suggest using expired chocolate chips for this recipe—they could result in a lackluster or off flavor. And isn’t a maximum chocolaty flavor the whole point?!