I will take any excuse for cake making I can. I love planning flavors, scheming stylings, the stress involved in stacking layers, & of course eating it… everything about it to me is fun.
So when I was asked to make a girlfriend’s baby shower cake with “make it something chocolate-y” as the only stipulation, I wholeheartedly agreed.
I knew the frosting I would use, a delicious buttercream my friend Beth taught me. She learned the recipe from her grandmother, who despite having passed away years before, people still say was the best baker they ever knew. As for the cake recipe, I have a go to for this sort of thing, but needed something to bump it up a notch. Something extra…
Then I saw the expecting gal at a party, a plate of chocolate chip cookies in hand, stating she couldn’t eat enough of them lately …and I knew what she needed. The cookie dough filling recipe adaptation and the sweet styling inspiration came from this post on Style Sweet CA. And so it was that a…
Chocolate cake piled high with cookies, wrapped in the rosy & sweet pink frosting, combined with a love of polka dots, made this cake the perfect thing to celebrate the coming of a new baby girl to the world.
And in the end I was pretty please with this whimsical yummy creation, so I had to share it with you!
Milk & Cookies Chocolate Cake + chocolate chip cookie dough filling (recipe makes a 4 layer – 9 inch cake, enough for 20 -30 people depending on how generous you feel, easily halved)
The cookies topping this cake are my favorite Soft and Chewy Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies, recipe modified by withholding the mint.
for the chocolate cake
- 2 – 9 inch wide / 2 inch deep cake pans
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the pans
- 8 ounces unsweetened bakers chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
- 2 cups coffee
- 1 cup water
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 Tablespoons buttermilk powder
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 8 large whole eggs + 4 yolks, at room temperature
- 24 Tablespoons or 3 sticks of unsalted butter, very soft
for the buttermilk glaze
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/8 cup butter, cubed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
for the cookie dough filling
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
for the buttercream frosting
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4-5 Tablespoons half & half
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- food coloring (optional)
the chocolate cake
Heat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit, with rack placed in the middle for baking two cakes at a time. Grease and flour each pan, and line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, cut to fit.
In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan combine the coffee, cocoa powder, chopped bakers chocolate, and 1 cup of sugar. Whisk continuously over low heat until the chocolate melts, combines, and becomes glossy. This will take 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Sift together the flour, buttermilk powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the 8 eggs + the 4 yolks on medium speed until combined, 10-15 seconds. Add in the remaining 2 & 1/2 cups of sugar and whip on medium speed until it becomes pale in color and very fluffy. This will take approximately 3-4 minutes.
Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment and over medium speed combine the cooled chocolate mixture with the fluffy sugar egg blend. Then 1 tablespoon at a time add in the butter waiting until each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula then add in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Blend until fully mixed then add in 1/2 cup water followed by another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more and resume mixing by adding in the final 1/2 cup of water and the vanilla extract. Finally add in the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture, pause to scrape down the sides one final time and blend until the batter has no lumps and is fully mixed, it will appear almost airy.
Divide the batter evenly, placing a quarter of the batter in each pan, tap pans on counter lightly to evenly fill. Bake the first two cakes for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Upon removal from the oven glaze the top of the cake with the buttermilk glaze, cool in pans for 10 minutes, then flip onto cooling racks to glaze the sides and finish cooling. Re-grease, flour, and line pans with parchment paper once more, fill with the remaining batter (1/4 of the original amount in each pan), bake as with the first two cakes, glaze, and then cool.
the buttermilk glaze
In a small saucepan combine the sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, and butter cubes. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently as the butter melts and the glaze thickens. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Brush over the still warm cakes being sure to coat the top and sides fully.
the cookie dough filling
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the brown sugar and butter on medium until fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add in the vanilla, flour, and salt. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Increase speed to medium and slowly but steadily pour in the milk until the dough reaches a thick but spreadable consistency. Reduce to low speed once again and fold in the chocolate chips until distributed throughout the dough.
the buttercream frosting
Once cakes are fully cooled, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment cream together the butter cubes and powdered sugar on medium speed for approximately 4-6 minutes until it is fluffy, uniformly mixed, and no lumps remain. Add in the half & half a tablespoon at a time until a desired consistency is reached, it typically takes 4-5 tablespoons for my liking, Whip in the vanilla and food coloring last, adding a drop of color at a time to titrate effect slowly. Frost cake immediately and store any unused frosting in the freezer for up to 3 months, bring to room temperature, and gently rewhip before using.
to assemble the cake
If desired, trim the glazed, cooled cakes so the their tops are flat for ease of stacking. I typically trim all but my top layer leaving a round top for more cake to serve! Place the bottom layer of your cake on the plate, stand, or tray you will be serving on because once this baby is assembled transferring is out of the question! Spread the bottom layer with half the cookie dough filling, and carefully top with the second cake layer, being sure that edges are aligned as you stack. Upon the second layer spread a thick covering of frosting and top with the third cake layer. The third layer will be topped by the remaining cookie dough filling. Carefully place the fourth and final cake layer onto the cake and cover the cake in a thick, smooth layer of frosting. Finish by using chocolate chips for the polka dots, I used extra large dark chocolate melting chips on the cake, and then piled high a dozen or so cookies on top. Serve tall thin cut slices with a large glass of cold milk!
~Chocolate Cake recipe adapted from “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook”