I receive a lot of press releases in my inbox. They usually start with a chipper greeting and an assurance that “I know your readers will love this!” before seguing into a pitch about gluten-free dog biscuits, or fat-burning pumpkins from Peru, or my personal favorite, a man who invented a new form of psychological therapy that takes place on a skateboard. (I mean, it doesn’t have anything to do with dessert, but all snarking aside, how fun does that sound?)
Either those PR pros are out of touch with what my readers actually love, or I am, because if I had to estimate the number of times those pitches actually seemed relevant to SugarHero, the answer would rhyme with “shmero.”
Recently, I received an email telling me that May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Unfortunately, I don’t actually know what the email was trying to promote, because I stopped reading after that and sprinted to my calendar to make sure that I had this important holiday marked down. (However, if other pitches are any indication, the email probably took a left turn and was about chocolate chip-flavored steak sauce or cookie-scented perfume.) **
**Update: the day after I wrote this blog, I got a press release about chocolate chip flavored salad dressing. Not joking! I think I should win some sort of Most Psychic Blogger prize.
No matter—it had accomplished its mission. I love cookies, and I love made-up food holidays, so you know that I’m going to be celebrating National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day tomorrow, and I hope you will too. Hang the cookie wreath and play the cookie carols! I’m bringing this Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake to celebrate.
This might look like a typical cake, but the layers are actually made from chocolate chip cookie dough, baked in 8-inch cake pans. I tweaked the dough to produce extra cakey cookies, so the layers bake up soft and fluffy—you don’t want to be sawing through chewy cookie layers when you’re trying to serve it! They still have the familiar brown sugar taste of chocolate chip cookies, though, and are still packed with (you guessed it) lots and lots of chocolate chips.
In between each giant cookie is a thick layer of frosting, because I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t want to frost, or a cake I didn’t want to embiggen. If you’re less of a frosting fan you can easily cut the recipe by a third to make a more reasonable portion, but the cookie layers were substantial enough that I found they stood up well to a big ole scoop of frosting.
Besides, this cake is as much about the frosting as it is about the cookies. The layers of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla frosting are what make it special, and Neapolitan-ish, and they elevate it from the typical giant cookie cakes you can get at the mall. I used unsweetened chocolate to give the chocolate layer a deep, rich taste, while the strawberry layer gets its light and tangy flavor from freeze-dried strawberry powder.
I’m not saying you have to make this cake for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, but I do think you should eat some sort of chocolate chip cookie to celebrate. Let not all those press releases be sent in vain. Carpe cookie!
- 13¾ oz (3¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 9 oz butter
- 11¼ oz (1½ cups) brown sugar, lightly packed
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 18 oz (3 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 cups freeze-dried strawberries
- 12 oz butter, at room temperature
- 36 oz (9 cups) powdered sugar
- ½ cup milk, divided use
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, and spray them with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Stop the mixer and finish mixing by hand, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well. Add the chocolate chips and stir them in completely.
- Divide the dough between the 3 prepared pans—if you want to use a scale to portion them, each pan should get about 20 oz. Bake the cakes for about 22 minutes, until they're golden brown, starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cookie cakes on a wire rack until completely cool. They can be made in advance and kept, well-wrapped in plastic, for several days until ready to use.
- Place the unsweetened chocolate in a small bowl and microwave it in 30-second increments until melted. Once melted and smooth, set it aside to cool to room temperature.
- Place the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor and process them until they are a fine powder.
- Combine the butter, powdered sugar, ⅓ cup milk, vanilla extract, and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until the sugar is moistened, then raise the speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Divide the frosting into three approximately equal portions, making one slightly larger than the other two. (This will be the top layer, which requires more frosting for piping decorations.) Add the melted chocolate and a tablespoon of milk to the second portion, and stir until well-mixed. Add the strawberry powder and the remaining milk to the third portion and stir until well-mixed.
- Place one cookie layer on your serving plate, and spread the chocolate frosting on top of the cookie. Add a second cookie on top, and spread the strawberry frosting on the second cookie. Finally, top the stack with the third cookie. Spread some vanilla frosting on top, and use the rest to pipe rosettes or other decorations around the edge. Top with chocolate chips, sprinkles, or mini cookies.
This recipe provides a very generous amount of frosting. If you like thinner layers of frosting, or don't want to do decorative piping on top of the cake, you can reduce it by a third.
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