Monday, September 30, 2013

Baseball Cookie Cake

Every year I make a birthday cookie cake for my boys.  I guess it started with me because that is my favorite type of cake to have on my birthday.  I just made what I like but when I ask them what kind of cake they want me to make they always tell me a cookie cake.  I will never argue with that.  There is just something about chocolate cookies with icing on them that is so delicious.

Whenever I make a cookie cake, I try to personalize it for them.  It used to be that I just wrote and decorated in their favorite colors.  Last year, I tried to go all in and make it look like a soccer ball.  Let’s just say it wasn’t as successful as I wanted.  In May, my 5-year-old had a birthday and he wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on his cake.  I don’t mind sharing that picture because, if I do say so myself, I think it turned out pretty darn good.

This year my 10 year old wanted me to decorate with some sort of sports.  After my attempt at the soccer ball last year I decided to go a bit easier.  Ah, a baseball; all white with just a little red icing involved. I could do that.

When it came time to bake, I realized I didn’t have any chocolate chips.  I’m not sure how that happened because I always have ingredients for chocolate chip cookies but, of course, not ON my son's birthday.  Ugh.   

Since I didn't have any chocolate chips, I used the next best thing I had:  Nestle Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels left over from Christmas.  I used the left over cookie dough to make Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies which were delicious.  For the cookie cake, though, I had to go one step further and put icing on it.  I had a grand plan to make a mint flavored icing but it was way too much mint so for the recipe, I just stuck with just regular vanilla buttercream.

Baseball Cookie Cake

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups (10-oz pkg) Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels (You can also substitute a 10-oz pkg of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, depending on your preference)

1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
5. Slowly beat the flour mixture in to the wet ingredients.
6. Once everything is beaten, fold the chocolate chips into the mixture with a spatula.

To make the cookie cake, place about to ¾ of the cookie dough mixture on an ungreased pizza pan or round cookie sheet.  The pan I used was a 12-in pizza pan.  If you have a larger pan, you may want to use a bit more of the dough.

Spread the dough flat at about ½ inch thickness.  Leave a little room around the edges of the pan, around ½ to 1 inch room.  The dough will flatten and spread out.  If you don’t leave room, the dough will go over the edges of the pan.  I've learned from experience.

Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes on the middle rack.

You may find that the dough still goes over the edges a bit.  It’s okay.  You can always cut this off and frost over it, if need be.  Also, the edges for me always get a little crispier so you can cut the crisp off as well.

Let your cookie cake cool entirely before frosting so it doesn't melt right off.

When your cookie has cooled, it's time to frost it.  I love this recipe for vanilla buttercream because not only is it versatile (you can can out vanilla extract for other flavors), but it's not too sweet.

Vanilla Buttermilk Frosting
4 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup stick butter, softened
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbsp milk

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar and butter then stir in the vanilla and add milk until it's smooth and at the consistency you are looking for.

Once your frosting is ready, put a small amount aside, about ½ - ¾ cup, to use for the red baseball stitches, unless you want to use a prepackaged red icing in a tube for convenience, like the Wilton 10 oz cookie icing (shown on the left).Then, using a knife or spreader, spread the frosting over the top of the cookie cake.  I prefer to make the layer thin because it becomes way too sweet with a thick layer of frosting. 

Put some frosting in a bag with a tip to cover the edges of the cake.  The tip I use is the same one I use for my cupcakes, Wilton 1M Star, but you can use whatever size you want, depending on the look you want. 

After the edges are done, you can make the baseball design.  If you are making your icing, I recommend using a gel like the jar shown on the right, which is Wilton brand icing gel.  

If you use food coloring, you’ll have to use an awful lot to make it red and it will make your icing super watery.  Even in this instance of making a small amount of icing, I had to use about ½ the jar of red gel.  It’s easy to make, though.  Just scoop some gel out and mix it into the white icing.  Keep adding gel until you get the shade you want.

Next, put your red icing in a small bag.  I know Martha Stewart says you can use a Ziplock bag for this but I tell you every time I do it my bag busts!  I’m done with that.  I still use disposable bags but I use the ones specifically for icing, like the Wilton Disposable 12” bags which are pretty cheap and actually hold up to my icing decorating. 

Draw your long lines with the red icing.

Then add the marks along the lines, as shown in the picture.  The left side lines are pointing down so when you go to do the next side, you would make them pointing up.

 Finally you can add your Happy Birthday wishes!  I regretted not using a different color for the “Happy Birthday” text.  If I was using pre-made icing, I would probably buy a different color and do that.  Since I made the icing, I used red since I had quite a bit left! 

After it's frosted and decorated it's ready to enjoy!

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