Friday, September 21, 2012
So this past weekend we celebrated Spencer's birthday and I simply could not pass up the opportunity to make him a cake. Because we all know that it's not truly a birthday without cake! I can't even begin to tell you how many ideas I had for his cake, but I know it was A LOT. To help narrow my options down, slightly, I had to determine if Spencer was in the mood for chocolate or something else particular. Once I got that nailed down I then had the daunting task of deciding which chocolate concoction to make! That was the hard part.
I searched threw all of my recipes I've compiled over time trying to seed out the ones that just didn't fit and narrow it down to the ones that I thought would be perfect. I sent Spencer one recipe and idea after another, and then I found it. Yes, IT! I found this recipe on Butter and that was it. My search was over...for now! Spencer decided on a cookies and cream cake for his birthday. Now let me tell you, he was really excited about this cake but, honestly, I think I was even more excited!
The idea of a chocolate cake filled with a cookies and cream filling, coated in more cookies and cream buttercream then coated in crushed chocolate sandwich cookies. How could this possibly be bad? Does it really get any better than this? I think not, people! Not only did the idea of the cake and flavors excite me, but the fact that I had come across a recipe for German buttercream (a buttercream I had not yet made) excited me as well. I love trying new recipes, so this entire cake, filling, frosting and all was right up my alley.
Cookies and Cream Cake
For the cake-
2 Cups all purpose flour
2 Cups granulated sugar
1 Tsp salt
10 1/2 Tbsp (5.4oz) unsalted butter
1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 Cup good quality cocoa
1 Cup water
1 Tsp vanilla
2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Cup buttermilk
For the German Buttercream-
1 1/4 Cups milk
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup cake flour
1/4 Tsp salt
4 Egg yolks
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Cups + 2 oz (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
30 Chocolate sandwich cookies (2/3 package)
For the cake-
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 (8inch) cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper (spray paper with nonstick cooking spray) and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
Place butter, oil, cocoa and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Leave over heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally. Once butter is melted remove mixture from heat and pour over the flour mixture. Mix on low to combine.
Place eggs in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup and lightly beat. While whisking continuously, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture in with the egg mixture. (This will help temper the eggs to ensure you don't cook any of the eggs with the hot liquid.) Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and mix to combine. Add vanilla and baking soda and combine. Last, add the buttermilk and beat on low to incorporate. Once ingredients are completely incorporated, increase speed to high and mix for 60 seconds.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. (Be sure not to overcook, as it will result in a dry cake) Once cakes are baked, remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
For the German Buttercream-
First you must make a pastry cream-
Pour milk into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat allowing the milk to scald (heat until bubbles begin to appear around the edges, but mixture is not yet boiling).
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, flour, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. In a large heatproof bowl combine the egg yolks and vanilla and stir to combine. While whisking continuously, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken.
Once the milk is thoroughly heated, add to the flour mixture whisking continuously. Transfer mixture back to the saucepan and return to medium heat. Whisk the mixture vigorously and continuously utnil it begins to thicken. Once the mixture has thickened significatly whisk vigorously for 10 seconds and remove from heat. Transfer to a medium, heatproof bowl and cover with plast wrap (ensuring that the plastic wrap is touching the pastry cream) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Once the pastry cream has chilled at least 4 hours the buttercream can be made. Place butter in a bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pastry cream, in batches, beating to incorporate between each addition. Once all of the pastry cream has been incorporated beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes, until mixture is light and smooth.
Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the buttercream, and set aside.
Roughly chop/crush 1/4 of the chocolate sandwich cookies and mix with 3/4 cup of the reserved buttercream. This will be the filling for the center of the cake.
Crush the remaining chocolate sandwich cookies into fine crumbs and set aside.
Place a small dab of frosting in the center of a cake board (or cake stand) and place one chocolate cake on the board or stand. Evenly spread the filling over the top of the cake. Place the other cake, top side down, on the filling and gently press.
Spread a very thin layer of buttercream over the entire cake and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.* Meanwhile, mix half of the crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with the remaining buttercream. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the cookies and cream buttercream.
Place the cake over a layer of parchment paper or wax paper. Apply the remaining crumbs to the sides and top of the cake, the parchment paper will catch any crumbs that do not stick to the cake.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup of buttercream in a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice (I used a star tip). Pip "stars" of buttercream around the top perimeter of the cake, if desired. Pipe a star in the center as well then top with an chocolate sandwich cookie.
*This is a crumb coat. It allows the top layer of buttercream to go on more smoothly and evenly. It also hides crumbs, and keeps crumbs out of the final layer of frosting but in this case doesn't matter since the outside will be coated in cookies!
Recipe source: Butter