Chocolate Cake with Brown Sugar Heath Bar Frosting


My Sarah turned 21 yesterday, which called for a pretty fabulous birthday cake.  But I was a bit short on time (surprise, surprise).  I had to prioritize my efforts, as a had an entire dinner for eight to conjure up.

So, I cheated.  I used a cake mix. (gasp!)  But it was actually really, really good cake mix.  If you can find the all-natural Immaculate Chocolate Scratch Mix in your corner of the world (I found it at Safeway), I would recommend it.  I’ll admit, I’ve never been nearly as interested in the actual cake as in the frosting… and this is one heck of a frosting.  It’s rich and buttery and completely delicious.  I’m not sure it actually matters what kind of cake you put it on, though this one was delicious.


It is a variation on a recipe I found in Warren Brown’s Cake Love cookbook years ago… (though I have to suspect Warren would not be inclined to use a mix – his cake recipes are as amazing as the frosting… and he seems to have more time to bake from scratch than I do.)

If you are going to try this recipe, I suggest you read the instructions carefully before you begin… I never make things that are terribly complicated, but this is a cooked frosting, and has a few steps that need to be followed very carefully.  Everyone who has had this frosting has raved about it.   The results are creamy and light, with a rich toffee flavor complemented by the crunch of the heath bars.  Well worth the effort.  I promise.

Besides the cake, one of the highlights of the day for Sarah was this Facebook post, in which her brother Luke tells the following (true) story from their childhood.  It’s completely hilarious, so I’ve decided Luke will be a guest contributor for the day:

Gold’s Gym, 1997 – My mother left me and my sister in the small gym daycare so she could spend an hour working out in peace. She probably thought a four-year old and a two-year old couldn’t get into much trouble. She was mistaken. An older kid, probably around five, started pushing me around because I took one of his blocks. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t know I had a hyper-defensive older sister. Sarah bit this older kid. Then she bit him again. And again and again and again.

“That’s my brother!” she shrieked between bites.

I smiled, laughed, and clapped.

The Morell Family has not been welcome back at Gold’s Gym since.

Happy 21st Birthday Sarah and thanks for always having my back!!


I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Oh, and it’s all good – The way I remember it, it was really only one bite (but who am I to let facts get in the way of a good story?)  Though I couldn’t have been more horrified at the time, we all did recover, and Sarah never bit another small human again.  Eventually found a new gym.  (Which I suppose has been important with cakes like this to celebrate life’s big occasions at House Morell:)



Brown Sugar Heath Bar Frosting

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 pound salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 package heath bar bits
  • more heath bar bits to decorate
In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and potato starch.
In a large saucepan on the stove, bring the milk and the 2/3 cup brown sugar and 2/3 cup white sugar to a boil. Slowly whisk the milk into the yolks until combined, then pour the new mixture back into the pan and return to the stove.  Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles. Boil for one minute, then pour the mixture into a stand mixer bowl and whip (with whip attachment) until it’s cooled to room temperature. This takes about 10 minutes. It’s important that your mixture is cool or the frosting will go all runny on you.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-low and add 1 pound of unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pats, one pat at a time, plus 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  When it’s all in, whip on medium speed until smooth. The buttercream can be a bit wet at room temperature, but firms up like butter in your fridge, so you want it to be slightly cooler than room temp, but not cold. I think it’s best to frost and serve the same day if possible.

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