What’s for Supper Cake special: Cambridge Cookery gluten free Sea salt Brownies

Our Brownies and Swedish cinnamon buns, baked after my Grandmother Greta’s recipes, are our signature bakes. Each day, a batch of each goes on the counter first thing at 9am. By mid morning we put out a second round and late lunch time we usually put out a third.

This recipe was originally tweaked into perfection by my youngest daughter when she was 14 or 15. An engineer, who by her own admission is happiest if she is not required to perform any kind of domestic activity, she surprised herself, as much those of us who know her, by producing one of the best cake recipes ever, during one rare creative afternoon in the kitchen.

I have yet to meet anyone who does not agree that these Brownies are the sine qua non of any cake counter worth its name. And the method is super easy and super quick to make!

In the café, we make these with gluten free flour but you can, of course, use normal plain flour.

As for the eggs, the hot tip of the day is that eggs can be frozen. Simply crack and pour into freezer bags. I tend do freeze three at a time, as most of my cake recipes are based on 3 eggs.

Cambridge Cookery Brownies

200g unsalted butter

200g dark chocolate

3 large, organic eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

250g caster sugar

110g gluten free or normal plain flour

1/2 teaspoon to a full teaspoon sea salt (not table salt). If you don’t have sea salt I would suggest a teaspoon of dark soy sauce rather than using iodine-rich table salt. If you have never tried adding a splash of dark soy sauce to toffee, caramel or white chocolate based sauce, do! It is sensational.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

2. Line a medium baking tray (slightly smaller than an A4 sheet) with baking paper.

3. Melt the butter and chocolate. You can do this in a microwave or on the hob. You don’t need a Bain Marie (see blog on Béarnaise) if you melt chocolate with other ingredients such as butter or cream, as long as you do it over low heat. Remove to cool down a little.


4. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.

CLICK HERE TO SEE Texture of whisked eggs and adding chocolate

CLICK HERE TO SEE How to fold to combine

5. Once the chocolate butter mixture has cooled a fraction, pour into the eggs and sugar.

6. Sift in the flour and salt. Fold together the ingredients. Folding means using a large spoon, preferably metal, and twisting it in your hand, so it gently lifts and drops back down sections of cake mixture. It’s more gentle than stirring. The less you agitate the mixture the lighter it will be.

7. Pour into the tray and bake for 16-17 minutes.

This is what my knife looks like when I run it through the baked Brownie tray.

The exact time will depend the size and depth of your baking tin and on your oven. After 15 minutes you should the see the almost lacquered top layer typical of a good Brownie. Open the oven, very gently press two fingers down on the centre of the Brownie mixture. It should feel very soft. Not so soft that you suspect that the interior is still completely liquid, but definitely nowhere near as firm as baked sponge. Be brave and err on the side of under baked, as the Brownies set as they cool down. There are thousands of recipes in circulation which result in dry Brownies and as many café counters up and down the country offering dry Brownies. So disappointing.


These are gooey, intensely chocolatey and have a lovely hint of saltiness to offset the high amount of sugar. I like using 70% cocoa solid dark chocolate. Anything higher is a little too bitter for me, but you may disagree and prefer a higher cocoa content.

CLICK HERE TO START SALIVATING…and listen to the sound the spoon makes as it cuts into the Brownie.

The Brownies freeze well, in the unlikely event that the whole batch does not get devoured on the day of baking. It is easiest to freeze what is left in the baking tray.

To serve, you could dust with icing sugar, add a sprig of fresh mint, then add a few berries.

Or serve as a dessert, with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche, as well as some fruit.

Tomorrow’s recipe: Hot Cross Buns from the hand of one of our team of amazing chefs and teachers, Clare. Clare, like the rest of us, is Leiths trained. However, she stands out even among our group of exceptional bakers, through her baking skills learned at Le Cordon Bleu.