Brownie lasagna (Olive Garden copycat)

This luscious brownie dessert is layered like a lasagna – with four layers of brownies, cream cheese frosting and chocolate toppings, it’s a thing of beauty!

brownie lasagna (Olive Garden copycat)

Lasagna, to many, is a comfort food. I first learned about it as a young child, when I read the comics and came to know Garfield. Because English is my second language, I had no idea how to pronounce the word. In my head, it was called “lah-ZAG-nah.” When one of my school classmates mentioned lasagna, I didn’t know what they were referring to because I had never heard the word before.

Funny enough, but lasagna was the first meal my now-husband made for me when we were dating. He invited me over for a home-cooked meal and made me a lasagna from scratch. Obviously, that was a smooth move on his part, because his charm worked its wonders (we will be married 19 years this year!).

brownie lasagna (Olive Garden copycat)

For my husband, lasagna was always a comfort food. My mother-in-law makes this for us every time we visit her in the Midwest. We recently found a veggie lasagna recipe that we adore and is reminiscent of the Stouffer’s version from the grocery store freezer.

So when I found this recipe in a cookbook that was sitting in the bookstore’s bargain bin, imagine my surprise and delight. A dessert lasagna? Yes, please! What I learned from this particular recipe is that apparently it is a copycat recipe from The Olive Garden (sadly, the menu item has since been retired).

brownie lasagna (Olive Garden copycat)

I was super excited to make this recipe. What I found challenging, however, was slicing each layer of brownie in half horizontally. You can’t tell from the photos above, but my layers were uneven, and I had to piece together some scraps to fill in the holes and gaps in my sad, uneven layers.

However, the lasagna itself was fantastic. I could have added some chocolate/fudge sauce, caramel sauce, or even more chocolate on top to put this way over the top, but I didn’t. Instead, I added chocolate chips and some chocolate chunks for some texture. Addie and I loved this lasagna, while my husband said it was just OK. It’s fine – he’s not quite a chocoholic like my daughter and I . More for us!

Husband’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Brownie lasagna

This brownie lasagna is a copycat recipe from Olive Garden. It has four layers of brownies with cream cheese frosting in between. It's topped with chocolate to finish it off!
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chilling time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 55 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Brownies
Servings: 8
Author: Eva Bakes

Ingredients

Brownies

  • ¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter melted
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules optional but recommended
  • 1 and ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 and ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks for topping, optional
  • hot fudge sauce or caramel sauce for topping, optional

Instructions

Make the brownies

  • Preheat your oven to 350℉. Grease and line a standard 13" x 9" baking pan with parchment paper. I normally don't use parchment when baking brownies but it's imperative that you use it here. You'll want to have some parchment paper overlapping the edges of the pan to create a "sling" so that you can easily lift it out and cut it when ready to assemble.
  • In a large bowl, melt the butter. Add the cocoa powder and stir with a spatula until well blended. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to cool down slightly.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder until well mixed.
  • Add the sugar, vegetable oil, and water to the bowl with the cocoa powder. Mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk vigorously. Add in the vanilla.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the cocoa powder mixture. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
  • Allow the brownies to sit at room temperature to cool for a bit. Then transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Make the frosting (do not do this until ready to assemble the brownie lasagna)

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix well. Then add the vanilla and mix until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Assemble the brownie lasagna

  • Lift the brownie out of the pan and place it on a flat surface. Cut the brownie in half, cross-wise so you have two halves. Cut each brownie piece in half horizontally so you end up with four thin layers.
  • Place one layer on a plate or serving platter. Add about ⅔ cup of frosting on top, using a spatula to even it out. Repeat with the remaining layers of brownies.
  • For the final layer, you can top with any remaining frosting and then garnish the top with chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, or chocolate chunks.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. If desired, you can drizzle on some chocolate sauce/syrup or even some caramel sauce to make it even more decadent.

Notes

Leftover brownie lasagna should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator and will last several days.
Source: I got this from a copycat restaurant recipes cookbook that I saw at Barnes & Noble in the bargain bin; sadly, I didn't get a photo of the title (please let me know where to credit this if you happen to know which cookbook this is from)

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