Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Cookie-Cake-Brownie Cake

Photo by Donya
For Erin's 30th birthday, there needed to be an amazing cake. Not just an amazing looking cake, but an amazing tasting cake. (Have you met the woman? Don't let the skinny exterior fool you-- girl can proudly pack in the desserts like a champ!) I struggled for some time to come up with the best cake idea, and finally, it came to me. Why limit the cake to cake?? I immediately busted out my spring form pan and set to work on the Cookie-Cake-Brownie. This was one layer of chocolate chip cookie, one layer of vanilla-butter cake, and one layer of brownie. I made all three of theses ahead of time and froze them so that I could stack/decorate them the day before the party.

Photo by Donya

Photo by my phone. Not as awesome as photos by Donya. :-)


In terms of decorating, I wanted something fabulous, but my fondant skills are very limited. I've only worked with fondant a few times and it gives me a bit of stage fright. It goes like this-- I want to practice and get better, but it's a time consuming and somewhat expensive ingredient, so I never want to 'waste' it on practice. And yet, I never want to use mediocre skill on a cake for an important occasion. This party let me find a loophole in this paradox, as the party decorations were all made out of old book pages and photographs. I carried this theme into the cake by using book pages to decorate the cake rather than making the accent decor out of fondant. The cake looked great; I got in some fondant practice; everything tasted delicious; and all we had to do was remove the paper elements when it was time to cut the cake....and hope they did not ignite when we light the candles....which, as it happens, we did twice, since toddlers were involved and, well, you know, sometimes, when toddlers are involved, things happen twice.

Photo by Donya
My original plan involved five layers, two cookie, two cake, and one brownie, but once I stacked then, the cake was ridiculously tall and resembled some sort of Dr. Seuss creation. If I do this again, I might try and construct thinner layers so that I can stack more of each type. The nice thing about this is I was able to un-stack the two extraneous layers and pop them back in the freezer for later use.

I made a full batch of this cake, these cookies, and these brownies (minus the walnuts). I baked each in a 9 inch spring form pan. I made two layers of the cake, two layers of cookie, and one of brownie. As mentioned above, next time I do this I will experiment with making three or four layers out of the cake and cookie batter so that they layers come out thinner. The cake layers baked for about 35 min. and the cookie layers baked for about 20. The brownies baked just like the regular instructions, so that was easy! If you try this, you kind of have to camp out by your oven and watch to see when the cookie layers are done. Also, I highly recommend covering the bottom of the spring form pan in foil with enough that it sticks out the bottom of the spring from ring about 2 inches on all sides. This made removing the layers super easy. 

If you are making the layers ahead of time, wrap them in a layer of foil and a layer of plastic wrap before putting them in the freezer.

Once you unwrap them, let them thaw about half way and then use a knife or a cake-leveler to make them as even as possible. The cookie layers bake the most 'uneven'. They require a large, sharp knife to cut through the thick edge that bakes up around the sides of the pan. Once the layers were even, I stacked and layered them with a basic vanilla butter cream.

After that, I just iced the cake and covered it in fondant. (I did not make the fondant, I bought it here at the recommendation of a friend.) The cake being covered in fondant made it WAY easier to transport than a cake iced in regular butter cream. It totally slid in the box a little and squished against the side, but it didn't matter because I could smooth out the fondant easily; plus, the majority of the cake was covered in paper, so small blemishes and mistakes could not been seen.
Photo by Donya

Photo by Donya
All of the paper pieces on this cake were made out of a John Steinbeck novel, (as Erin and I share all kinds of mad love for Steinbeck,) and they were inspired by the party decorations and by pinterest. (You can check out the pins here and here and here and here and here.)  None of it was hard. It took a little time, but NONE of it was hard. The numbers I made by just printing directly on to book pages with my regular ol' inkjet, and then gluing them on to skewers, much like I did making the cake toppers in this post. The tiny origami butterflies that spring out over the flowers were suspended using craft wire that I wrapped around the skewers on the cake toppers. Overall, I was totally thrilled with how it came out. I will admit I was sweating it when I originally put the fondant on (...ahem....there may or may not be patched sections....), but thanks to my buddy Mr. Steinbeck, no one knew! Also, Many thanks to Ryley for her fondant tutelage! If you live in Utah, she should be making your cakes.


Photo by Donya

No healthy books were harmed in the making of this party. 
All books were already damaged/falling apart. Books have souls, friends; treat them well. :-) 
This message brought to you by the little piece of me that can't stop being an English teacher. And the eight boxes of books that still live in the basement of my parent's house that they probably wish I would take, but I don't have space for, yet can't get rid of. You're welcome, Mom and Dad.

12 comments:

  1. 1/4 of this amazing cake is still in my freezer, waiting for a very special "need to eat my feelings" day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my house, that is everyday. :-)

      Delete
  2. Ok, i realize that I'm a broken record when I visit here, but...YUM

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Muhahahaahah! Can't wait for our weekend of tents sale and nonsense!

      Delete
  4. Yummy yum yum yum! OK, so MY birthday is in February. Just so you know. I'm assuming this ships well? :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm totally fascinated by how people ship cake! HOW IS IT DONE?? :-) And, I haven't forgotten I owe you some treats! Life got insane; treats are coming. I mean, you NEED them now, with a baby in there stealing all the calories, right? :-)

      Delete
  5. You did a fabulous job with this cake...and it looks yummy! I'm visiting you from Michelle's Tasty Creations and I'm now a follower. I would if you could follow me back. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks Fabulous and super yummy. Thanks for sharing at Creative Thursday last week. I can't wait to see what you link up this week. Have a great day :)
    Michelle

    ReplyDelete