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.


Anonymous said...

You have tunnels in your cake...that would never have passed in 4-H. teehee - Sounds good though.

Melony said...

I want to try this! It looks so yummy! And cake is so good for me! :D

Rachel said...

The tunnels were from the whipped egg whites, as in soufflé-type tunnels.

Speaking of 4-H, though, my blueberry muffins from today would have received glares even from the passers-by at the 4-H building. Lovely and delicate though they were, I used thawed blueberries and didn't bother to strain the juice or coat them in flour. But they sure do taste good!

Rachel said...

Melony, it is yummy! Let me know if you try it. :)

Nancy said...

This may be a little random, but I was wondering what type of stand mixer you use. I want to get one, but I'm not sure if I should go with a Kitchen Aid or a Bosch or maybe something else entirely. Any advice?

Di~ said...

now now have you shared your blueberry muffins recipe???knowing how I struggled with them 2 weeks ago...you must! I did make them again, using updated baking powder and l c. cake flour. It helped quite a bit, but I'm still not fully satisfied.
~D Spack~

Rachel said...


I love my KitchenAid stand mixer. It's a Professional 600, and it can do pretty much anything. I use it on a very regular basis for bread, cakes, whipping cream or egg whites, other desserts, potatoes, and tons of other things. I absolutely recommend a Kitchen Aid. I also use attachments for making pasta and grinding meat.

A Bosch is also nice, but there are several products I mix that would not work in a Bosch because of its mixing method, so I definitely favor the Kitchen Aid.

If you do buy a KitchenAid, buy the size best-suited to you. The Professional 600 has a 6-quart bowl which is great for my bigger jobs, like breads, but if you'll be using it to mix a lot of desserts and other standard-size recipes, choose a mixer with a 5-quart bowl, as it will do a better job than a bowl that is too big. I really like the Professional line because the motors are really strong and can stand up to a lot.

Also, if you're going to purchase a KitchenAid product, I definitely recommend buying refurbished from their site. They come with a 6-month warranty (instead of 12-month), cost less than you'll find anywhere else, and have free shipping. You can find a link (because I can't post one in comments) just before the recipe in the "Peach Pie" post from August 2007. The KitchenAid site is confusing to navigate, so I recommend scrolling through my archive list to find my link, as it will take you right to the refurbished area.

Good luck in your decision! Let me know what you do!

Rachel said...


Okay. Coming soon. Maybe without a picture, though!


Heidi said...

Made the cake and it turned out beautifully, even with the milk substitution!

Sarah said...

When do you re-add the egg whites?????

Rachel said...


I'm so sorry! Fold in the egg whites at the end. I'll add that note to the recipe.