Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Cookie Dough Cake
This is a great cake. A great cake. Let me tell you why.
First, it's homemade. There's no box involved. That means the cake will have a cake-like texture to it, rather than a pile of crumbs. It will be moist and soft, but it will stay in one piece when you lift a forkful to your anxious mouth. And in case you don't already know, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You know how box cakes take 5 minutes to put together? Homemade cakes take 10-20 minutes, tops, even the difficult ones, and this one isn't a difficult one. Ask yourself: do you have an extra 10 minutes to spare for a cake that is 10 times better?
Second, it's guiltless. Well, for cake, it's guiltless, since I wouldn't bother with a dessert that is flavorless or falls flat on your tongue. It's quite light, using only one stick (4 oz.) of butter in the cake and another 3 oz. of butter in the frosting. In fact, I had a second piece later on in the evening and had no guilt whatsoever. I did, I admit, have a light dinner.
Most importantly, it is delicious! It's a brown sugar cake (that may be a term I just made up), and tastes more of brown sugar and vanilla than anything else, just like chocolate chip cookie dough (before you add the chips). And there are few things as good as a bite of chocolate chip cookie dough.
So, when I concocted this batter and tasted it, I decided it needed to have a good chocolate chip-type frosting. Chocolate ganache had been on my list, but I'm relieved to say I was out of cream, or it would have been too heavy for the cake. I tweaked a basic ganache recipe to come up with something lighter and voilà! The perfect match.
It's all the goodness of eating a chocolate chip cookie when you're craving cake.
In the recipe, you'll see a couple of options in the brown sugar arena. This is because I have some of the world's most fantastic sugar, Billington's Dark Brown Molasses Sugar. I bought it at our Co-op, but a lot of organic grocery stores carry it. It's not remotely similar to dark brown sugar because there is so much more depth of flavor. Anyhow, if you don't have it, it's nothing to get carried away about, because I've provided you with a suitable alternative.
Also, for the chocolate, I used Guittard bittersweet chunks that I have on hand, and they are 67% cacao, meaning they're quite dark, but not inedible straight from the bin. I'll just assume you need some alternative suggestions. I'd certainly recommend getting some E. Guittard bars in the baking section of the grocery store, something between 60% and 70% cacao, but the Lindt 70% bar would also do nicely as would the Ghirardelli 60% cacao (formerly double chocolate) chips. I would classify this cake as "non-fancy" but "worth your time" and get the Ghirardelli chips myself, had I not had the perfectly-suited Guittard chunks already available. Semisweet chips and bars are also an option, but I'm not a huge fan of semisweet as they're too sugary for me.
Best of luck in your cake-baking. I'm sure you'll love it!
Cookie Dough Cake
2 c. all-purpose flour, fluffed before measuring
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. brown sugar + 2 T. molasses sugar + 3/4 c. plus 2 T. granulated sugar
OR 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar + 1 1/2 t. molasses
3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 oz. (6 T.) unsalted butter
5 oz. (about 2/3 c.) milk
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray two 9" or 8" round cake pans (I used 9"), line the bottoms with parchment paper, spray again, and dust with flour.
Next, you're going to need whipped egg whites, so I recommend doing that right off the bat if you've got a stand mixer. Place the egg whites in the bowl and whip on high until medium to stiff peaks form, but do not overmix and end up with dry peaks. Remove the whites to another bowl and keep a whisk handy.
Wipe out your mixing bowl, then add the butter and beat until fluffy and the sugars and beat again until fluffy, scraping down the sides. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gently alternate mixing the flour and sour cream into the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Then gently fold in about a third of the egg whites to lighten the batter, then fold in the remaining two-thirds until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden and just starting to brown around the edges (like a cookie) and the cake holds its own and springs back when pressed lightly in the center, 30-35 minutes for 9" pans and probably 35-40 minutes for 8" pans.
Cool 5-10 minutes then remove from pans. Cool completely before frosting.
For frosting, melt the butter and chocolate slowly together (microwave is fine if you're careful), stirring every 30 seconds. When completely melted and stirred together, heat the milk to lukewarm and whisk it into the chocolate. Chill until cold, then stir vigorously to lighten the consistency. Divide evenly between the tops of the two layers when frosting. Or double the frosting recipe if you want to cover the entire cake. Serve.