It’s the second anniversary of my creating this blog and it’s been an interesting experience running the site for the past two years. Originally my intention was at most to document for my own purposes and reference the things I had made. But having the blog changed the way I cook and bake. The need for posts, especially early on, drove me to more cooking and baking that I might otherwise do. It also drove me to push my own limits, if only to keep what I had to write about interesting. It’s also encouraged me to experiment. I can’t post about recipes I’ve made before, and so I have to keep pushing for new things. While this means that I don’t return too much (there are a few, like the tiramisu cupcakes, or the double pumpkin cupcakes, that I will come back to over and over), it also means I keep looking for new things to try. It also just seems boring to make other people’s recipes, I can review them I suppose, and sometimes I do, but at the same time I feel like that’s not adding anything. I’d rather try to make a snickers bar cupcake, or one with candied prosciutto in it, than just making the same old thing. And while I am far from the most creative person out there, I like to at least think I’ve done a few things that if nothing else, no one else has bothered doing, at least in the same way I have.
Interestingly, running the blog has also been an interesting way for me to catalogue my own life. A friend of mine recently went through the blog and made a slideshow of all of the best pictures on the website (I know they’re not all winners). I remembered each baked good, both what I was seeing, as well as what I had made them for, the various parties, potlucks, events, and tribulations of law school over the past two years since starting Amicus Cupcake. And while I don’t tend to add the kinds of persona vignettes that many other bloggers do, for me at least the pictures and the recipes act as triggers of memory far more extensive than what is written.
I know that of course my blogging has slowed down lately. When I was celebrating my 1 year blogoversary, I was also celebrating my 100th post. Now I’m only remarking my 136th, certainly a nearly 2/3 reduction in postings is noteworthy, but it’s just been necessitated by my life. When I do repeat recipes, I don’t have anything to write. Sometimes I don’t have time to take pictures between baking and serving, which means no blog posting. Law school also just takes a lot of time and energy, and I often just don’t feel like writing up my recipes. Last, and probably most important, has been a change in the way I bake. In an effort to eat healthier I’ve instituted personal rules on when I bake, most notably I only bake when I have a good reason, and a way to get rid of it (without eating it all myself). The consequence is less baking, but a healthier me. I think it’s been a fair tradeoff.
Now on to the cake! Earlier this month Annie of Annie’s Eats posted a recipe for cookie dough cupcakes. I’m always a sucker for cookie dough, and so I decided to turn it into a layer cake. The recipe, however, looked a little off to me, and so I went to Bakewise and made a few changes. Namely I reduced the amount of butter (3 sticks seem like a lot for 2 cake layers), reducing the milk, and increasing the sugar. As a result, I can’t actually comment on Annie’s version of the recipe.
That disclaimer aside, I thought this cake was really good, but very dense and rich. The layers of cake were thick, and had a texture that reminded me of pound cake. The edges of the cake were a little overcooked, making the cake harder to cut through, but it didn’t mess up the taste. I would say overall the layers reminded me of cookies. The cookie dough filling itself was great. At first I thought that it tasted too much like sweetened condensed milk, but after a night in the fridge the tastes mellowed and it made an excellent cookie dough substitute. As for the frosting, I omitted the flour to make it lighter, and also took out some of the sugar, because I tend to think buttercreams just have too much sugar in them. I thought the light frosting went well with the heavier cake and filling though.
Cookie Dough Cake
Makes 2 eight inch cake layers1 ¼ cups (2.5 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 8 inch cake pans, line with parchment, and butter the parchment. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together and set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides as necessary. In a measuring cup combine the milk and the vanilla.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to slow. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter, followed by half of the milk. Continue alternating between the two, ending with the dry ingredients5. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Divide the dough into the prepared cake pans, level off the tops of the cake batter.
6. Bake the cake layers for 30 to 32 minutes, until layers are golden on top, pulling away from the sides, and a tester comes out clean. The cakes will probably dome, mine did.
7. Remove to cooling racks and let cool. Invert to remove from pans once cooled.
Cookie Dough Filling
This makes more than enough. You can use the extra to make decorations, cookie dough truffles, or do like me and just eat it with a spoon½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
2. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla until combined
3. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer dough to a bowl, cover in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for several hours to firm up, or overnight
Brown sugar buttercream
This made just barely enough for me to cover the outside of the cake1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1. Cream together the butter and the brown sugar until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth.
2. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined. Add more milk (to loosen) or powdered sugar (to stiffen) to adjust the consistency as you desire.
1. Line an 8 inch cake pan with plastic wrap. Press some of the cookie dough filling into the pan, until you have a disk that is 8 inches across, and ½ inch to 1 inch thick. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes
2. Level off the tops of the cakes, so that they are flat. Place the first layer cut side up on your serving plate.
3. Remove the cookie dough from the freezer. Remove it from the cake pan, and peel off the plastic wrap. Place the cookie dough disk upside down (flat side up) on the cake layer. If it sinks a little in the middle (mine bowed a bit), you can work the dough in your hands till it becomes putty-like, and push it into the disk to make it level.
4. Put the second cake layer on top, cut side down. Press the sides of the cake, to make sure the cookie dough layer is flush with the cake.
5. Spread about a quarter of the frosting on the cake as the crumb coat, Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.6. Add the remaining frosting to the cake, spread evenly around the outside of the cake. Stud the cake with mini chocolate chips for decoration. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.