A Cookie Dough Valentine's Cake

Well, here it is, my birthday-eve, and Friday afternoon, and I'm sitting here eating "red doritos" and  drinking honey and lemon tea trying not to get sick for (what seems like) the millionth time this winter.  Especially for my birthday.

Ok, not really.  And don't worry, I'm not having an existential crisis or anything, I'm just tired.  It's been a busy semester so far, and I'm coming to realize that it's not really "I've had a busy day" or "I've had a busy week" at this point . . . this is how life is.  The fact that we've had 4(?) major snowstorms since the first blizzard (and yes, I just said first blizzard, as in there was a second) has probably added to that feeling.  Because as much as I love the snow and wouldn't give up the memories we are making this winter, digging a car out of snowbanks covering it 4(?) times within 3 weeks just gets a little tiring.  And this was our first five day week of the semester.  So that was that.

But everything is just so beautiful.  I know things have been better around here, and many people have been pushed into dangerous situations.  Thankfully we haven't had to deal with any damage.  Yet.

I love snowstorms (just look back at prior winters to see that), and I love posting about baking adventures during the big ones.  I've just run out of time to bake and to post every time there's a big storm.  So enjoy the following montage of snow pictures.  And if you're sick of snow pictures, sorry.

And we had a weekend to ourselves for Valentine's day last weekend.  It was the first weekend we weren't out (unless we were sheltering from a snow storm -- which we were technically, but that's ok) and about anywhere.  It was really nice.

In case you haven't been around for previous Valentine's days, NES and I split up our dinner responsibilities every year and alternate.  This year, NES was on dinner duty and I was on dessert duty.

After a morning of watching NES make demi glace, ask about soy sauce and bread flour, and toasting baking soda in the oven (??), I was completely clueless as to what he was making.  I was thinking something Asian, but that was as far as I got.

After hearing the squeaky-squeaky-squeaky of the pasta maker, I was thinking maybe some sort of dumplings or something similar to that.

Then homemade ramen came out of the kitchen!  Complete with beef, homemade noodles, mushrooms and more!  (He used these three recipes for different parts of the soup.)

It was so good.

And then, while watching Austenland (at NES's request, I'll have you know!), we ate cake.

Now, this cake comes with a story of its own.  It starts with cupcakes I told NES about that were vanilla cake filled with cookie dough with cookie dough frosting.  He was so disappointed that he didn't get one.  So I knew I had to do something similar for Valentine's day.

I found this cake on Pinterest (shock of all shocks)  and liked how different it was.  It's assembled in Momofuku Milk Bar style, a bakery in NYC I've heard of, but didn't know much about.

Making the cake itself wasn't very hard.  I made some egg-free cookie dough, then froze it while I made the cake batter.

And the cake was literally just a 9x13 pan of brown sugar-vanilla cake with cookie dough pieces in it.  How much easier can it get?

The challenge came in assembling the cake.  I'd never tried making a cake this way, and I tried to find the correct tools for it, and failed.  So, I went with it.

First of all, it meant cutting out two 6 inch circles from the 9x13 cake.  At this point, you're theoretically supposed to use a cake ring to stuff the excess into a cohesive layer.  I, on the other hand, couldn't find a cake ring.  So, I made one with aluminum foil and duct tape.  Complete with penguins on it!  And it was kinda nice to just be able to snip it off the cake to take it off.
I wasn't sure how it'd work, but I stuffed the excess in there anyway!  Then I brushed it with milk and vanilla and after a night in the freezer, it really was like another layer of cake!

Then a layer of frosting (that was basically cookie dough!), and a layer of cookie dough.

Then more frosting, another cake layer, more milk and vanilla and repeat the frosting, cookie dough, frosting, a final layer topped with frosting and cookie dough!

The hardest part came in trying to keep the cake stacked.  I also didn't have the acetate strips that the recipe called for, so I winged it.  And I did lose a small section of cake, but once I did, it stayed.  So I shoved it in the freezer as fast as I could and showed it to NES as soon as I took it out in case of collapse.  It didn't though!  Once it froze, it seemed to stay stacked nicely.

NES and I both agree that it makes pretty fantastic cake, even if mine wasn't extremely pretty!

The Half-Baked Cake
from Glazed and Confused

Cookie Dough:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla.  Slowly add the flour and salt.  Mix until the dough comes together.  Mix in the chocolate chips.

Press into a 1/4-1/2 inch think rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at least half an hour.

2 2/3 cup cake flour (or 2 2/3 cups flour -3 tbsp. flour +3 tbsp. corn starch)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan or two 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar till light and fluffy with a mixer.

Add the eggs one at a time.  Add the vegetable oil and vanilla.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending to with the dry ingredients.

Cut 2/3 of the frozen cookie dough into 1/4 inch pieces, and fold into the batter.

Pour the batter into the sprayed pans.  Bake a 9x13 pan for 30 minutes, or two 9 inch pans for 35-40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely.

Cookie Dough Buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. milk

Cream together the butter and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla, flour and salt.

Add the milk until the frosting is the desired consistency.

Feel free to frost the cake like a usual cake (9x13 or a double layer cake) with cookie dough on top or in the middle.  If you'd like to try making the cake Milk Bar style, check out Glazed and Confused instructions or Momofuku's recipe page!


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