Birthday Brownies, easy from-scratch chocolate cake-like brownies topped with a simple homemade white buttercream frosting and colorful jimmies sprinkles. A perfect decorated sweet treat to say Happy Birthday to your family and friends.
Nothing says Happy Birthday more than colorful sprinkles, right? These Birthday Brownies are a fun treat for the special people in your life. Part cake, part brownie, and part fun! Topped with a simple white buttercream frosting and colorful sprinkles, it makes a great dessert.
These brownies taste like chocolate heaven! They’re not super-rich and overly chocolate in flavor so you can still taste the frosting and sprinkles without them being overpowered. Kids (and adults…) always seem to love colorful sprinkles so a great way to say Happy Birthday!
You could also stack the brownies into a tower for a delicious brownie birthday cake! Serve with your favorite ice cream and no need for a full cake. Easy! I haven’t tried it but I bet this brownie and buttercream frosting would also be the best for brownie cake pops that could be dipped in chocolate and decorated.
So as I mentioned these are from-scratch chocolate cake-like brownies, meaning cakey brownies, not dense fudgy brownies. If you’re looking for more of a fudgy brownie, try my Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies, Turtle Brownies, or Mint Brownies.
Cake Brownies vs. Fudge Brownies
I’m generally more of a #TeamFudgeBrownie kind of person but since birthday are generally all about cake, a cakey chocolate brownie seems like the way to to go.
Cake brownies, are naturally more like cake in consistency and a fluffy soft crumb texture. Fudgy brownies, are generally more like fudge of course but not quite candy. They have more of a dense and gooey texture rather than light and fluffy.
One is not necessarily better than the other. All just personal preference. Would love to hear which one you think is best!
Equipment You May Need
- Mixing Bowl –Can never go wrong with a nice mixing bowl set especially one that can go in the microwave in this cake to heat the butter and milk.
- Whisk – A strong large whisk to mix the brownie batter will be helpful.
- Electric Mixer – I like to use an electric hand mixer for the frosting but you could of course use a stand mixer.
- Parchment Paper – Parchment paper to line the pan is nice if you want to remove the whole pan of brownies.
- Offset Spatula – An offset spatula is a great tool to have to spread the brownie batter and frosting.
- Spatula – A soft silicone or rubber spatula to get every last drop of the brownie batter and frosting is always a good thing.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Birthday Brownies Ingredients
- All-Purpose Flour – Regular flour. I would not recommend making any substitutes.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – I like to use Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder, but you can use your favorite kind. You could also try a dark unsweetened cocoa powder for a different flavor.
- Baking Soda
- Unsalted Butter – If you want to use salted butter, be sure to adjust the salt in the recipe.
- Granulated Sugar – You might be able to use some brown sugar as well, but I have not tried.
- Milk – I used skim because that’s what we generally have, but 2% or whole milk should be fine.
- Eggs – Large eggs.
- Vanilla Extract – Or use your favorite flavoring such as almond extract.
- Unsalted Butter – If you’d rather use salted butter, omit the salt. I’d suggest using a lighter-colored butter (rather than a bright yellow brand) for a whiter frosting. For an even whiter frosting, you can substitute some (white) shortening for the butter.
- Powdered Sugar – Might want to sift the powdered sugar to get out any lumps for a smooth frosting.
- Vanilla Extract – Or again, you can use your favorite flavoring extract.
- Salt – Just a dash makes such a great difference.
- Milk – Again used skim milk but you can use whatever you have or even heavy whipping cream.
- Sprinkles – I used rainbow jimmies, but you can use your favorite. Depending on how many sprinkles you want, you may want to use more or less.
How to Make Chocolate Birthday Brownies
Step One: Preheat oven and prepare pan with parchment paper or lightly grease.
Step Two: Whisk together dry ingredients for brownies.
Step Three: Whisk together wet ingredients until well combined then whisk in dry until just combined.
Step Four: Spread brownie batter in pan into even layer.
Step Five: Bake brownies until just set in the middle and toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Be careful to not overbake.
Step Six: Make frosting when brownies are cool. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar, then salt and vanilla. Add a little milk or cream as needed until smooth and creamy.
Step Seven: Spread frosting on cooled brownies and add sprinkles right away. Gently press sprinkles into frosting so they stick.
(Full printable recipe card with full details is at bottom of post.)
Birthday Brownies Decorating Ideas
- You can add your favorite sweet mix-ins to the brownie batter like chocolate chips, toffee chips, nuts, or even sprinkles!
- Instead of rainbow jimmies, you can use your favorite sprinkles such as chocolate jimmies, rainbow nonpareils, or your favorite combination of various sprinkles!
- If sprinkles aren’t quite your thing, chopped candy, M&Ms, chopped Oreos, or even some maraschino cherries would be fun decorating ideas.
- Other flavors of frosting would be fun such as this Strawberry Frosting or this Marshmallow Frosting. This Peanut Butter Frosting would also be delicious with chocolate sprinkles.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Be careful to not mix warm butter and cold milk together or the butter will harden.
- If you want a thinner brownie, you could use a 13×9-inch pan and increase the baking time.
- Don’t worry if there are a few lumps in the brownie batter before baking. Try not to overmix the batter.
- These cakey brownies can dry out if over-baked so be careful to not cook too long.
- A good baking pan and parchment paper can really help create the perfect brownie!
- For the frosting, be sure the butter is well softened to prevent lumps and for more of a white color use a butter that is lighter in color and not bright yellow.
- I cut these brownies into 9 big jumbo brownies, however, I’d suggest cutting them into 16 for a more reasonable size.
Homemade Birthday Brownies FAQ
How should I store brownies?
I would store the brownies in an airtight covered container at room temperature.
Can I freeze the Birthday Brownies?
Yes! Although the sprinkles may “bleed” a bit into the frosting when defrosted.
How long will the brownies last?
Brownies are generally at their best the first few days after being baked. They should last a little longer in the fridge or a few months in the freezer if well wrapped.
Instead of rainbow jimmies, you can use your favorite sprinkles, chopped candy or M & Ms, chopped Oreos or cookies, nuts, chocolate chips, or your favorite toppings! For the frosting, if you want more of a white color, you can use half shortening and half butter. Instead of vanilla extract, you can use your favorite flavoring.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
I used skim milk (although 2% or whole milk should be fine). Some low-fat butters and margarine should also be ok but might not sure about all brands.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can add your favorite mix-ins to the brownie batter if you’d like such as chocolate chips, toffee chips, or nuts. Just note your brownies will be thicker. You can also add your favorite food dye to color the frosting if you’d like. You could also add a little instant coffee to the milk and heat it up for a richer flavor and taste for the brownies.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – You’ll need to try with a vegan butter, eggs, and milk. I haven’t tried and not sure the results would be the best.
Vegetarian – It’s vegetarian. Be sure to check individual brands/products just to be sure though.
Low-Carb – You can try your favorite baking sugar substitute and powdered sugar substitute and omit the sprinkles. I wouldn’t recommend using a low-carb flour alternative.
Gluten-Free – You can try a gluten-free baking flour that has a 1:1 substitute ratio.
Other Chocolate Recipes You May Enjoy
- German Chocolate Pie Bars – Ooey gooey bars that are part cookie and part pie with chocolate, coconut, and nuts.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake – A rich three-layer cake with a delicious homemade peanut butter frosting. Also perfect for birthdays.
- Chocolate Dump Cake – Simple homemade dessert with only a handful of ingredients. Top with ice cream or whipped cream!
- Texas Sheet Cake – A family favorite and perfect for chocolate lovers.
Hope you enjoy this delicious homemade Birthday Brownies recipe. Tell me in the comments what kind of sprinkles or topping you used.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together melted butter and granulated sugar. Whisk in eggs, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well combined. Gently whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan and spread to form an even layer.
- Bake brownies at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool completely.
- When brownies are cool, start frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and dash of salt. Add a little milk at a time until desired consistency. Continue beating until smooth and creamy.
- Spread frosting over cooled brownies. Spoon sprinkles on top right away and gently press into frosting.
(Nutrition data is provided when available for informational purposes only and calculated using an online nutritional calculator. For the most accurate information please calculate based on specific ingredients and brands you use as well as any changes you made to the recipe. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietician and any nutritional information provided should only be used as a general guideline and estimate.)