Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The "ultimate" cookie cake...

YUMMMM, cookie cake. Who doesn't like cookie cake?? I mean come ONNNN. But this is seriously the ULTIMATE, 5 layers, with cream cheese frosting, GIANT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE CAKE! "Droooooool."

That was the expression when I brought this out at a little summer kick off, pool party I had the other day. My friends couldn't believe this thing, jaw's dropped while I was cutting slices...trying not to ruin each slice as I cut through all 5 LAYERSS. 
This recipe is definitely a keeper, and I'll be making this again.

The recipe's from no other than the Martha Stewart blog, and while I was browsing it, looking for something to make for the party, my eye instantly went straight to it. Who can resist layersss of chewy, chocolate chip cookies, with cream cheese frosting as the glue to hold it all together. Just pure YUMMINESS.

serves 16
*to make an even circle of batter, trace an 8 inch 
on the underside of the parchment paper.
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 tbs. unsalted butter, softened 
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 ounces (5 packages) cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugars into mixer bowl; mix on medium until pale and fluffy.  Mix in vanilla, eggs, and yolks. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with cream.  Stir in chocolate chips.

2. For each of the 5 layers, drop one level cup batter onto center of a baking sheet, lined with parchment (keep unbaked dough refrigerated.) Using a small offset spatula, spread into an 8 inch circle.* Bake until edges are pale golden brown, about 12 minutes. Use offset spatula to reshape circle. Return to oven, bake until edges are golden brown, 8-10 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack, let cool. Can be stored airtight, up to one day.

3. Mix cream cheese, and confectioners sugar in clean mixer bowl on medium-high, until pale and fluffy. Spread onto 4 cookies. Stack cookies, placing unfrosted cookie on top. Refrigerate until frosting is set, at least 20 minutes, or up to 4 hours. Serve at room temp.

This turned out verrrry good. And it was gone by the end of the day.

Happy Birthday Dadddd....

So, it was my dad's birthday the other day, and I was sooo thrilled when both he and my mom asked me to bake. His actual birthday was on a sunday, but we made reservations that saturday night for dinner, at his good friends restaurant on Melrose called ComeCa. It's a fairly new restaurant, that has a sort of old, french type of cuisine. Verrrry good. 

Any way, I knew his absolute FAVORITE type of cake was carrot cake. So I of course went to my "baking bible", Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to yours, and decided to make "Bills Big Carrot Cake."

It was actually easier than I thought, and turned out GREAT. But then again, ALL of Dories recipes turn out great. I served it with some vanilla ice cream, and my whole family loved it. I've so far made this cake 3 times in the past, and this is always my go-to recipe for carrot cake.

Bills Big Carrot Cake:
From "Baking from my home to yours"
For the cake-
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon 
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut(sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup moist, plump raisins(dark or golden)- I used dark
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil or safflower oil( I used regular canola)
4 large eggs

For the Frosting-
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp.
1 stick(8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 pound(3 3/4 cups) confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready-
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 325 F. Butter three 9x2 inch round cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess. Put two pans on one baking sheet, and one on another.

To make the cake-
Whisk together the flour, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut and raisins. 

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with hand mixer in a large bowl, beat sugar and oil together on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix in the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the pans. 

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean; the cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and un-mold them. Invert, and cool to room temp. right side up.

To make the frosting-
Working with the stand mixer, preferably fitted with a pattle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice.
If you would like coconut in the filling, scoop out about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.

To assemble the cake-
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or protected by strips of parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer. Use an offset cake spatula, or spoon to spread the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with second layer, this time placing the cake top side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
Make sure to serve with a nice BIG scoop of vanilla ice cream =]]

**I wanted to frost the WHOLE cake, cause I know my family loves frosting, so I had to double the recipe for the frosting, and covered the whole cake.
Although, just frosting in between the layers of course works out fine.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sort of "new" to all this...

Hey, so i'm not really sure how to start all this off, but I guess i'll start with saying hii! My name's Bronte. (Like bron-tay). I absolutely LOVE to bake. Havn't really been doing it for a long long time, but in the oh, year and a half I have been baking, i've just completely fallen in love with it. I chose the name, "The little dancing baker", cause one, i'm not very old...and two, i'm a dancer. Have been since I was about 3 years old, and have been doing it ever since. I've been on a competitive dance team for a long time now, and since I was little, I always thought that dancing was ultimately what I wanted to do as a career. But as i've grown up, I have realized that the life of a dancer is extremely hard. It depends what you want to do with dance, but you're basically living your life audition to audition, and that's just something I don't want to do.

Sooo with dancing as just a hobby and good type of exercise, I've picked up baking. And it's been great. Not only is it therapeutic, and takes my mind off of whatever's going on...but I just LOVE how the finished product comes out. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. Plus, having others enjoy what you bake, and thank you for it, is really an added bonus. So that's generally what i'm here for. To bake, and talk about baking, as well as sharing those tasty treats with all you!

I kind of have an idea on how this "blogging" thing works cause before I decided to get my own blog, I have been looking, and reading other peoples blogs, so I guess I get a sense of what to do....I hope. Haha. So I hope you all will read and comment my stuff! I look forward to talking to some of you, and I hope you guy's like my stuff!

(About that picture up there...I tried, hahaha.)