it was birthday time on my team again– this time for kevin, who runs eleet music, so the logical cake choice for him was music-related. i considered one that was shaped like a musical note, but i realized that since i don’t have a pan shaped like that i would be cutting from a half-sheet, which would result in less cake. and around here, we like more cake! i went with what i thought was the next best thing, decorating a cake with a bar of “happy birthday to you”. when i was looking up the sheet music, i found that no two were identical (different keys, etc), so i just picked one. turns out that i still can’t decorate a cake very well…but it’s the thought that counts. right…? i hope so.

for the cake itself, i went with the brownie that kevin had voted as his favorite from the perfect brownie search i did this winter, except since he said he would like it better with nuts, i made a crushed pecan and cookie crumb base for half the cake, and left the other half nut-free since, well, sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t. also, because some people in the office don’t like nuts in their brownies. i iced it with my favorite buttercream, then cheated and used a decorating gel from the grocery store for part of it to get a true black (i didn’t have any black food coloring and the baking supply store was closed. needless to say, since the brownies were a bit hit when i made them for the contest, the cake was also a hit.


Baker’s One Bowl Brownies:

4 squares BAKER’S Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar

3   eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup  flour

1 cup coarsely chopped PLANTERS Pecans

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and pecans; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.

BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

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