Belgian brownie cakelets, revisited

If you’ve met me for more than about five minutes, you probably figured out that I love chocolate kind of beyond reason. And if we talked for more than 10 minutes, you likely know that I want nothing more than to spend my weekends in the kitchen trouble-shooting recipes. So when I saw these Belgian brownie cakelets on Smitten Kitchen, with both an unreasonable amount of chocolate and a note about the top losing its shine in the gluten-free version, it basically made my day.

Belgian brownie cakelets, revisited |

Two weeks, six versions of this decadent brownie, and more than two pounds of chocolate later, I regret nothing.

To give you an idea of where we’re starting, the recipe has 200 g of chocolate and 20 g of flour—that’s my kind of recipe! The gluten-free version replaces the flour with cocoa powder, which gives you a similar texture (most of the structure comes from the chocolate and the eggs), but you lose the glossy top. It wasn’t the end of the world by any means, but I couldn’t resist fiddling with it.

Along with the original recipe and the straight cocoa-for-flour swap, I tried two solutions: more sugar and whipped egg whites. Since white sugar gives brownies their shiny, crinkly tops, I thought increasing it might help bring that shine back. As for the whipped egg whites, I was thinking about the beautiful crust on pavlovas—and also I just love whipped egg whites.

Belgian brownie cakelets, revisited |
Clockwise from top: the original, with whipped egg whites, cocoa powder replacement, extra sugar.

So what worked? The short answer is everything. These things are SO. DELICIOUS. But to get the shiny tops, it turns out that the egg whites backfired and more sugar is the answer. With the added bitterness of the cocoa powder, I also preferred the flavor of the extra-sugar version, so it worked out perfectly.

Full recipe coming soon! In the meantime, check out the original recipe on Smitten Kitchen.

Belgian brownie cakelets, revisited | Belgian brownie cakelets, revisited | Belgian brownie cakelets, revisited |


  1. I think care packages for those aging parents are in order…

    1. Janelle |

      That could possibly be arranged…

  2. […] super hard because there’s literally ten times more chocolate than flour in the original—but I tweaked Smitten Kitchen’s recipe to bring back the shine on the GF version. So whatever bribes you need to […]

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