Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Cake

i *cannot* seem to get used to cooking for two people. 

Seriously, it’s a little ridiculous sometimes. I cooked with my mom for years, and all the recipes I learned from her were scaled for our family of 7 – and now cooking for just my husband and I, I CANNOT get the hang of cooking for just two people to save my frickin life.

My lifesaver – rescuing our food budget from my habitual big batch cooking – has been our big garage freezer. Freezing leftovers works like a charm, because the number of times I’ve put a 9x13 pan of lasagna, casserole, enchiladas, etc into the oven and thought “You know, I really didn’t need to make that much of that” is many more than I really care to admit. >< 

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your view of the situation – the same tendency spills over into baking.

If I’m making a bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, by default modus operandum I make the same batch I’ve made for years, which usually turns out about 3 dozen. Then I wonder why I have SO many leftover a couple of days later – when I made 36-40 cookies for TWO PEOPLE. Duh.

I’m sure freezing cookies would work too, but in this case Pinterest came to my rescue with a different – slightly more exciting solution 😉 I stumbled across a “Homemade Cookie Butter” recipe to use up the drying-out remainder of the huge batch of cookies I made 😉

Once I had a jar of homemade chocolate chip cookie butter, THEN I had to decide what to do with it! The possibilities with cookie butter are ENDLESS because it’s amazing stuff, but I thought it would make an amaaazing filling for a cake 😉 The idea for this Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Cake was born! Recipe below 😊 😊 😊

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Layers:

Note - this is a slightly-simplified layer cake recipe from ChelSweets.com - I highly recommend checking out her site if you haven't before; it's amazing!! 

-3 1/4 c.  all purpose flour
-3 c.  granulated sugar
-2 1/2 t. baking powder
-1 t.  salt
-1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature
-2 t. vanilla extract
-5 eggs 
-1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
-¾ c mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 3 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.

Note – another easier/faster option is to use 2 white cake mixes baked with 1 c butter, 2 c water, and 6 eggs – mix according to package directions and fold in ¾ c mini chocolate chips before baking. 😊

While you’re waiting, make your cookie butter and your frosting! 😉

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter: (recipe credit: ABeautifulMess.com)

Note – I LOVE cookie butter, but I was a bit surprised at the amount of hands-on time that it took to make it. It WILL be 100% worth it to make your own, but if you’re just wanting to make the cake and short on time, stirring cookie crumbs into about 1c of frosting would also work in a pinch 😉

-2 cups cookie crumbs (Chips Ahoy cookies will work, or TopSecretRecipes has a Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that I love!)
-1/2 stick butter
-1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
-1/4 cup evaporated milk
water as needed

First you’ll want to make your cookie crumbs. Place your cookies into the food processor and blend until it forms a very fine powder. You’ll need 2 cups, so just keep blending cookies until you get there (cookies come in all different sizes, so I’m not sure how to give you a count of exactly how many you’ll need).

In a small saucepan, heat the butter over low heat until melted, and then stir in your sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk until it’s all melted together. Starting with 1/2 cup of the liquid, pour it into your cookie crumbs and mix together with a spoon. Keep adding small amounts of the liquid until the cookie butter is just wet enough to stay together. Depending on how dry the cookie is to begin with, you’ll need more or less liquid. Really buttery cookies (like the sugar cookies) didn’t need nearly as much as the drier Oreo cookies, so just keep checking and stirring as you add the liquid.

Once your cookie butter is blended, allow it to cool in the fridge for an hour or two. If you want to, you can actually stop at this point, and it will taste delicious. But if you want to make the cookie butter smoother and easier to dip things in, then remove the cookie butter from the fridge and stir very small amounts of water (start with 1/8 teaspoon) into the dough. At first it will look like the water is separating from the dough, but just keep stirring and mashing. You should start to notice that the cookie butter loosens up a bit as you stir in more water. Keep adding and stirring until you get to a consistency you like and refrigerate the mixture again.

Store your cookie butter in the fridge and it should be good for at least a week or two. It may be good for even longer but it usually doesn’t last long enough to find out! 

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
-8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
-16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
-6-7 c powdered sugar
-2-4 Tablespoons milk
-1 T clear vanilla extract
-1/4 t. salt
Beat softened cream cheese and gradually add in softened butter; beat well. Slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.

Additional Supplies/Equipment:
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- small piping bag
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! 
- about 20 mini chocolate chip cookies for decorating – I made a batch of mini cookies, but Chips Ahoy cookies are about the same size if you want to use those 😉
- ¼ c regular-size chocolate chips for decorating
- ¼ c mini chocolate chips for decorating

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Fill your piping bag with frosting, and pipe a border of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer. Spread the layer with cookie butter, keeping it inside the rim you piped so it doesn’t smear into your outer frosting layer. This part is optional, but I crumbled a couple of mini cookies and added cookie crumbs and a few chocolate chips in between the layers as well. Go big or go home, right?
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers, adding the final layer on top.

Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer 😉 
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the freezer to set the frosting and ensure that your chocolate ganache drip will set.

Speaking of which… meanwhile, make chocolate ganache for your drip!

Chocolate ganache drip:
12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. (This can also be done in the microwave – place chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half power in 30-second increments until smooth, stirring in between microwave times).

Okaaaay......on to adding the drip!

When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. A spoon will work if you don’t have either of those, I’ve just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.
Slowly drizzle ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Return cake to the fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to set the drips.

Once the drips have chilled in place, you’re ready to add your decorations! I used a large scoop of cookie butter on top of the cake to hold my pile of mini chocolate chip cookies on top of the cake. I piled them as high as they would stay on top of the cake, and then quartered a couple of the remaining cookies and added them in 2-4 inch intervals around the base of the cake. I added a mix of regular and mini chocolate chips in a ‘large-to-small’ gradient up the side of the cake, and added a few more around the upper rim of the cake.

Done and done! Enjoy! 🙂

Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo! 🙂 

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