Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer Cake


Is it a cake? Is it cookies? Well, really, it’s kind of both!  It’s a chocolate chip cookie layer cake!

For my husband’s birthday last month, I made two dessert items.  One was a giant coconut cake with homemade pineapple jam filling, which he took to his office for a holiday party. I felt like we also needed a birthday dessert at home for our celebration. And for this second item, I nixed a traditional cake went a bit on the avant guard side....


Although my husband does like traditional cake, I knew that by the time we had our celebration at home, he already would have eaten a portion of the cake I had made for his office.  Plus, he is really a fan of chocolate chip cookies.


I could have made a simple, single layer chocolate chip cookie cake, but instead I went the more tedious route: I layered 9 crispy, jumbo chocolate chip cookies with American buttercream between the cookies.  All stacked together they make an impressive sight!  And oh my goodness, was it delicious!  Especially with a nice cold glass of milk.


This cake does require a bit of planning and a good amount of time....  It’s not one you can just “whip up,” assemble, and serve immediately. The crispy cookies have to flattened, individually, all to the (relatively) same size (though not all were exactly perfect). And I could only bake two jumbo cookies at a time. So, I spent the better portion of a morning, just flattening & baking & cooling the cookie layers.  Then, once the cookies were baked & cooled, and the frosting was spread, the entire cake needed to chill at least 12 hours so that the “cake” would soften enough to be cut.


In the end, this may be one of my favorite “cakes” I have ever made. And the photo I "instagramed" of it was very well received too :)  I can foresee myself doing different flavor variations on this same concept--any flat, sturdy cookie & filling could work! And it’s a great “cake” for those crazy people who don’t like actual cake :)


Notes: 

  • Yes, both of the components to this cake use shortening, specifically Crisco.  Do I think it's healthy to consume Crisco on a daily basis?  No. However, I do believe in making exceptions for birthdays. My husband grew up eating Crisco-based icing on birthday cakes and I wanted to make icing that he would really like.  
  • I have also found that the crispiest cookies usually have some sort of shortening in them. I was under a bit of a time (and budget) crunch and thus could not experiment with other alternatives. This "cake" probably isn't one you would be making or consuming on a daily basis anyway :) 
  • I made my cookies gluten free (so that I could eat them) by substituting Jeanne’s Gluten Free AP Mix for the AP Flour.  I've made the cookies both GF and with regular flour & they turn out great either way.  



Chocolate Chip Cookie Base
Adapted from On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals (2nd Edition)  


Makes plenty of cookie dough--more than is needed for the cake. But once you have made your cake "layers" you can bake the rest of the dough as regular cookies or freeze the dough for future uses.

8 oz Vegetable Shortening
6 oz Light Brown Sugar
4 oz Granulated Sugar
2 each Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
10 oz AP Flour (I substituted Jeanne’s Gluten Free AP Mix
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Fine Grain Sea Salt
1# Chocolate Chips (mini, if you can find them.  I couldn’t find any, so I used regular) 


  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and the sugars. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed. 
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients to combine, then add to the mixer bowl. Mix half way. 
  4. Add the chocolate chips & mix until completely combined. 
  5. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper.  Prepare 4 cooling racks. On one pan, portion approximately 6 Tbl of dough (I used my two scoops from my OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop ) into the center of the pan.  Top the dough with a second piece of parchment & flatten the dough as much as possible, while still keeping the shape circular.  Repeat on a second pan.  
  6. Bake the two pans until golden and crispy, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Rotate the pans half way through baking.  
  7. While the first two pans are baking, repeat the portioning & flattening with the remaining two pans to form an assembly line process for baking.  Continue the process until you have 8 to 10 giant cookie layers.  
  8. Cool baked cookies on cooling racks. 


American Buttercream 
4 oz/1 stick Butter, room temperature 
4 oz Vegetable Shortening
1# Confectioners Sugar, sifted
1 tsp Vanilla
Milk or cream, as needed 


  1.  Cream together the butter and shortening in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the sides well.  
  2. Add the sifted confectioners sugar gradually. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often to ensure all the ingredients are being mixed.  
  3. Add the vanilla & thin with a little milk or cream if the icing is too thick to spread. 


Assembly

  1.  On a cake turntable, place one of the cooled cookies.  Add a scoop of icing (I, again, used my OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop ) and spread the icing out with a small offset spatula.  
  2. Top with a second cookie & repeat the process until all the cookies are used.  
  3. Place the “cake” in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before serving to allow the cookies to soften slightly
  4. When ready to serve, use a very sharp knife to cut the cake into wedges.  Note, the portions need not be large.... the cake is very rich (and very tall!) 



2 comments:

  1. Mmmm lovely idea, photos and post, Laura!
    A very special birthday cake indeed. Thank you for sharing ... I'm sharpening my knives he he
    Amy

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  2. Love love this. I will definitely have to try this. Truthfully, it is almost to pretty to eat - key word here is 'almost'.

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