When you hear ‘chocolate chip cookie cake’, you probably think of the giant pizza-like slices, slathered in frosting that you used to beg your mom to buy you at the mall.
This, clearly, is not that cookie cake.
This is a four layer cake with a buttercream that could fool you into thinking it’s raw cookie dough. (I may save some of the frosting in the fridge and eat it by the spoonful.) Top it all off with a rich dark chocolate ganache, and stuff some mini-chips between the layers, and you’ll always want this when you hear ‘cookie cake.’ The recipe is a mix of a few favorites, but Martha Stewart’s Brown Sugar Layer Cake and her Brown Sugar Buttercream do the heavy lifting, with a few tweaks.
– 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
– 2 c. dark brown sugar
– 1 c. granulated sugar
– 6 large eggs
– 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
– 3 c. cake flour
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 8 oz. sour cream
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 8 large egg whites
– 2 c. light brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 3 c. (6 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
– 2 bags mini chocolate chips
Chocolate Ganache Drip
– 1 1/8 c. heavy cream
– 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
– Set of measuring cups and spoons
– 1 large bowl, 1 medium bowl, 1 small bowl
– 1 mixer
– 1 spatula
– 2 9-in. round cake pans
– Parchment, Wilton Cake Release or butter & flour
– cooling racks
– 1 10-in. round cake board
– 1 small saucepan
– 1 heat-proof bowl
– 1 whisk
– 1 icing spatula
– 1 bench scraper
– 1 squeeze bottle or spoon
Start with the cakes. Preheat your oven to 325, and grab your cake pans. (I use pans that are about two inches deep, and these cakes will cook all the way up to the top. If you’re using shallower pans, use three.) I prep mine by using Wilton Cake Release and pre-cut parchment rounds, but you can also use butter and flour.
In your large bowl, cream together butter and dark brown and granulated sugars. Mix in eggs, one to two and a time, then vanilla and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift your flour (Martha’s recipe doesn’t call for this, skip if you’d like), and combine with salt. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine sour cream and baking soda.
Mix your flour mixture into the butter mixture in three separate batches, alternating with with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.
Divide evenly across your cake pans, and put in oven. Martha’s recipe calls for 50 minutes on the timer. I typically follow that instruction, but find that I’ll need to add anywhere from 15-20 minutes once I test the cakes.
Let rest in pans for 20 minutes, then cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
While the cakes cool, begin making your buttercream. (My ingredient list makes a double batch – believe me, you’ll want the extra.) Put water in a saucepan, and place it over medium-high heat. Once it begins simmering, reduce heat to medium and place a heatproof bowl over it, then add your egg whites, light brown sugar and salt. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm. Transfer to another bowl and beat on medium for 10-15 minutes, then on high until stiff peaks form. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time while beating on medium high.
Now, if you’re like me, and no matter what you do, your frosting is still too runny at this point, pop it in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes, then beat it on low until it’s workable. (if it starts to separate, don’t panic, move your speed to medium and just keep mixing!)
Begin assembling your layers. (I like to trim my cakes down to 8 inches, then use the scraps for cake balls.) Between each, apply a layer of frosting, then sprinkle on some chocolate chips. Repeat for the first 3 layers. When you reach the last layer, apply a crumb coat, and place the frosting and cake in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the frosting from the fridge, and mix in your chips until the ratio looks like cookie dough. I eyeball it, but normally use around 1-1 1/2 cups. Pull out your cake, and GENTLY begin applying the frosting with a bench scraper. (Be very careful – if you apply too much pressure, the chips will tear into the layers and leave a crumby mess.) Once you have the cake frosted, it goes back in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Begin making your ganache, by heating up that water on the stove again. Wash out your heat-proof bowl, and place it in the pan once it simmers. Combine your heavy cream and chocolate, stirring constantly until melted. Remove bowl from heat and set aside. Once your ganache is barely warm to the touch, you can start decorating. (Beware – if it’s too warm, it will run down to the bottom of your cake, or melt your frosting. If it’s too cold, you’ll get short stubby drips.)
It typically takes about 20 minutes for the ganache to reach the temperature I like to work with, and even then, I sometimes pop it in the freezer for a minute or two to help it along. I use a plastic squeeze bottle to apply the drips, but you can also use a spoon. Go around the edge of the cake, letting the chocolate drip down the sides every 1/4 inch or so – don’t worry about making it perfect! Then put a good amount of ganache on the top of your cake, and spread with your icing spatula – being careful not to push it over the edge.
Top with more mini chips, and enjoy!
Time: 4 hours
Serves: 12-15 slices
*Cake batter recipe doubled, 6 in. cake pictured, also made 8 in. cake*