Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Recipe Exchange: Chocolate Cake with Cookie Dough Buttercream and Whipped Ganache

The Holiday Recipe Swap, hosted by My Baking Addition and GoodLife Eats, enters its third week today. And this is when things get serious. Really serious.

The sponsor for this week is Scharffen Berger.

Which means: they provide the prize.

Which means: The theme is chocolate. Any recipe that involves chocolate is legit for this week, so this chocolate cake with cookie-dough buttercream and whipped chocolate ganache is a the perfect candidate.

And that means that you should do this: Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap Sponsored by Scharffen Berger.

Which is a nice way of saying please vote for this cake. I need that Scharffen Berger prize. In a bad, bad way. So I pulled out the best resource I had on hand: Nick Malgieri’s new cookbook, Bake!.

The first thing I had to tackler were some layers of chocolate butter cake, a recipe that I adapted to better fit my concept.

Chocolate Butter Cake Ingredients (adapted from Nick Malgieri's Bake!)

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg +1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1/3 cup cream

For the most important ingredient in the cake layers, I pulled out the best unsweetened chocolate I had: Scharffen Berger, of course.

Making the batter for this cake is fairly straightforward: mix the dry ingredients, let them hang out on their own while creaming the butter and sugar, add the egg mixture and vanilla to the butter and sugar, then add the chocolate. After that, it was time to alternate mixing in portions of the dry ingredients (in three additions) and the cream (in two additions) until the batter is just mixed.

Now we need to take the prepared batter, pour it in an 8” springform pan, and bake it at 350° F for 25 minutes.

Once the cake cooled, I sliced it into two layers, and got to work on my cookie dough frosting.

Despite previous issues with making meringue buttercream, I decided to give this another stab, but this time, I used the detailed steps that Nick Malgieri outlines in his recipe of Perfect Meringue Buttercream, and adapted the recipe to flavor it and to make the right quantity of frosting.

Cookie Dough Buttercream Ingredients

½ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

½ teaspoon salt

1 teapoon vanilla

¾ cup sugar

3 egg whites

16 tablespoons butter, very soft

I mixed the sour cream, molasses, salt, and vanilla together, and set these aside. These were what would make this taste like cookie dough.

Then it was time for the scary step of making meringue buttercream. I cannot possibly convey what Nick wrote here, but in his book, the instructions are flawless. You need his book.

Per his instructions, I whisked the sugar and egg whites over pot of simmering water until hot.

Then I immediately start beating the mixture at medium speed with the whisk attachment of stand mixer. Once the bowl is merely warm, instead of hot, I switched to the paddle attachment and beat at low speed until the bowl was cool.

THEN, and only then, was it acceptable to add the butter. Once all the butter was incorporated, I increase the mixer speed to medium and let it run until I had a beautiful, fluffy buttercream.


Then I added in the cookie-dough-flavoring mixture, whipped it up a bit, and had delicious frosting.

I frosted the two layers of chocolate butter cake.

Then I wrapped this up, and set this aside in the freezer until the day it was getting consumed. It was then time to make some whipped chocolate ganache. Using Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate in a blatant attempt to get points with the contest sponsor, even though that doesn’t affect the results of the contest.

I melted this chocolate, and let it cool to room temperature as I whipped up a cup of heavy whipping cream until it was starting to take on some structure.

Then I added in the cooled, melted chocolate and whipped away some more.

I finished the cake by piping the whipped ganache around the cake, and the bittersweet chocolate contrasted well with the sweet cookie-dough buttercream.

The folks who were at the Thanksgiving dinner I brought it to certainly enjoyed it. If it looks good to you, too, go vote for it!


  1. THIS LOOKS SOOOO FREAKING GOOD. I am not even a hardcore baker like you but I think I will just have to try it.

  2. See if you can get your hands on a copy of Bake! - it totally made the frosting-making process simple. The cake itself is pretty basic and a little dry, so you'll need some rich frosting along with it (darn it, darn it).

  3. NOM!!! This looks and sounds life-changing, and I'm not even big on cookie dough. I've been hearing about this cookbook and need to check it out! Been lusting after the cookbooks with the same name in the past tense. Good luck!! I'mma go vote for you now.

  4. ok, obviously I hadn't checked out that site yet. D'oh! Will vote for you in a few days! :)

  5. Thanks for the support, Jessica! Nick's cookbook is AMAZING - he does a great job of outlining things step-by-step, with *pictures* and explanations of *why* we do things the way we do them when we bake.

    Also, this Friday, a friend and I are making a blue and white zebra bundt cake for Hanukkah.

  6. Nice! It's on my list of books to ogle at Borders.


  7. Oh wow!!!!!!! Seriously, this looks amazing!!!! If I have to go wardrobe shopping due to weight gain, its your fault. But it'll be sooo worth it!

  8. Jessica, you will be so, so happy when you have that book, and if you have questions, you can email Nick and he'll get right back to you. How cool is that!

  9. Oh, my fellow chocoholic, just find unsuspecting friends and family to share with and you'll have nothing to worry about. One of my friends took 3/4 of this home to share with her housemates, and I got to enjoy making it. Everybody wins!

  10. Lovely cake, so glad you like the buttercream, and once you do it you'll never be afraid to tackle it again...

  11. Thanks, Nick! Your newest cookbook is truly amazing; I have been using "Chocolate" since it came out and still love it, but the step-by-step instructions and photos in "Bake!" are unlike anything else out there. I might even try to tackle bread now that I have it.

  12. I can't make this. I can't. And not because I can't access that chocolate in Australia, it's because I know I'll eat that cookie dough buttercream straight. Molasses in it too? Be still my beating heart!

  13. Do they have Scharffen Berger in Australia? If so, that is wonderful for all of you! I love their bittersweet chocolate as couverture for truffles. Also, I totally had to frost the cake immediately and then freeze it. The frosting was just too delicious. It had this subtle salty bite to it and...oh my...

  14. OK, the whole recipe sounds amazing, but honestly, I'll just take a bowl of the cookie dough buttercream please. Thank you. :) Remind me to vote on the 5th!

  15. Thanks, Heather! I'm actually making some cookies filled with it, I could mail a couple to you :). And tomorrow's post features raspberry goat cheese buttercream - I thought of you while making it!

  16. How much will it take for you to bring this to my house ASAP?! Haha, mmm it looks heavenly!

  17. @Rachel Well, Rachel, since you live in San Diego, you might have to pay my airfare :). Probably easier (and more fun!) to try it on your own. It's not that hard, and the frosting is delicious.