Cookie Butter Cake

Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake

We went out 3 of the last 4 nights and my internal 80 year old body is hating me for it. Reuben’s holiday party was on Friday and I met a whole gaggle of his new work peeps. I ate a lot of patatas bravas and churros and then ended up dancing off maybe 2 churros at a bar down the street. I felt so young and so hip… until the next morning. But I ate a lot of dumplings and rallied. I mustered enough energy to go to a friend’s cookie decorating party, without getting completely overwhelmed with social anxiety, and had enough holiday spirit to go to my office’s holiday party that night. We stayed out to 2 am, ate late night gloriously mediocre bar pizza, ubered home, laughed at all the weird things that happened throughout the night before passing out hard. Miraculously, I woke up feeling ok and desperately craving something green. I put soft pants on, scurried to the farmers market for some salad fixings, came home, ate salad, and officially melted into the couch for the remainder of the day. I had big plans of baking some cookies, but my body was like NOPE.

I was hoping that spending Sunday being a blanket burrito would be enough recovery for me, but then I woke up with another big fat NOPE. The moment I got to my desk I just couldn’t wait to go back home and sleep. But then my boss asked if I wanted to go to the Warriors game that night and it took me like .00000001 seconds to say UM, YES. He has incredible season pass tickets to the Warriors. As much as I love my hometown of Cleveland, I can’t let my (lack of) hometown sports pride hold me back from insane front row (sort of) tickets. We were so close to the players, I could almost hug them. Reuben said if I tried to hug them one of the intimidating body guards would tackle me to the ground. Whatever. It was such a fun time and I couldn’t help but feel so thankful to be there. Generosity is such a great quality in people and there is just something about this season that really makes the generous spirit shine. Whether it’s gifting once in a lifetime NBA tickets to your employee, or surprising a coworker with thoughtful vintage pottery (thanks, Alex and Francis!), buying a friend coffee, or just making someone a cake. Doing nice things for each other is simply just so great, isn’t it??

I have lots of generous people to be thankful for this season, so I better get baking on all those last minute cookies! Gosh, 7 days until Christmas already?! If you’re looking to bake up a treat for the people you care about in the next week, you can either go the cookie route or the cake route. I shared a great little cookie recipe last week and this week I have one of the most delicious and festive cakes I’ve made yet! COOKIE BUTTER CAKE. Until a few weeks ago, I had never purchased the infamous cookie butter from Trader Joe’s due to fear of addiction and gaining 100lbs. But! I took the plunge and got myself a jar for the sake of recipe development. The hype is real. Cookie butter is really really good. The flavors of cookie butter in this year’s holiday cake were great because I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread. Cookie butter has a bunch of the same warming spices we all crave this time of year, but without the intense molasses flavor. Then I covered the whole cake in my true love: cream cheese frosting. If you’re making this recipe, you could totally stop right there and you’ll have a smashing good cake. Anyway, I obviously have nothing else better to do with my weekends, so I made a little sugar cookie house and matcha tuile trees. I may or may not have drafted up the elevations of the sugar cookie house in AutoCAD (for those designer nerds out there…). I took a pretty minimal approach to decorating the house and the cake in general. I just loved how delicate and vibrant the trees turned out and wanted to keep the colors and forms of the cake simple. Gosh, I sound like an architect, don’t I?? A few blobs of buttercream and gold sprinkles were all that it needed.

However, for next year I would ideally like more time to dedicate to cookie architecture. Maybe I’ll attempt a Luis Barragan or Sea Ranch inspired cookie structure. I’ll add that to my list of 2019 goals and make it happen.

I think this cake is going to be my last recipe for 2018. Crazy! I hope you all have a wonderful, restful, and belly filled Christmas!


Cookie Butter Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 1 - 2 layer 8” cake

cookie butter cake material:

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (12 tbsp)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

cream cheese frosting materials:

12 oz cream cheese - softened
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (12 tbsp) - softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups powdered sugar

to make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  3. Place softened butter and sugar into the bowl of your standmixer set with the paddle attachment. Blend for 45 seconds at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in cookie butter and blend for another 45 seconds until evenly mixed, fluffy, and lightly tan in color. Add in eggs and vanilla and blend until just mixed. Scrape down the sides when necessary.

  4. While mixing the batter on low speed, add in dry ingredients in 1/3rds, alternating with buttermilk in between. Mix until just combined, avoid over mixing.

  5. Grease 2 8” cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Add batter to cake pans. Smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Bake for 28-32 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and allow cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing from pans and placed on a wire rack to completely cool.

to make cream cheese frosting:

  1. Blend together cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually add in powdered sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides when necessary.

to decorate:

  1. Place 1 layer of cake on a cake board or plate. Plop some frosting on top and smooth out the frosting into an even layer with an offset spatula. Place second layer on top. Cover the whole cake with frosting. For the ruffle detail use a petal decorating tip (one end is skinnier than the other). Hold the piping tip at a 45 degree angle, with the fatter end touching the caking and pipe the frosting while also turning the cake stand.

  2. Top with a sugar cookie house or cut outs and matcha tuile trees! Recipes are below!

Tuile Cookie Trees Recipe
- I added 1 tsp of matcha powder and formed them around a cone mold immediately out of the oven.

Sugar Cookie Recipe
- I omitted the tahini from my recipe and made cardstock cut outs of my house to trace on my rolled out cookie dough. Adhere the cooled cookie walls together with royal icing or extra buttercream.

Cookie Butter Cake

Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies

Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies
Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies

Are you also a holiday hot mess, swirling around in circles, baking a billion christmas cookies, decorating cakes, stressing over the perfect christmas presents for your parents who want NOTHING, and tearing your closet apart to salvage a holiday party outfit? No? It’s just me? I’m happy for you then! You definitely have your life together, a lot more than me. Gosh, there is just so much to do and so little time to figure out whats wrong with my royal icing recipe (I’m terrible at it and I can’t figure out why). I’m working away (at my real job) on a project that is sort of sucking the life and holiday cheer out of me. But we have back to back holiday parties this weekend, so that will be festive and fun! Or potentially really awful and I’ll have my first hangover of 2018. Is that sad or impressive? I’m particularly excited for Reuben’s holiday party because I literally know no one from his office and sometimes I like talking to strangers and making potential new friends. I hate small talk more than anything, so let’s hope there is none of that. His party is also going to be at a Spanish restaurant and the word on the street is that there will be octopus and lots of pinxtos! I love pinxtos.

I’m making up for my complete disinterest in work with baking as many cheery bites of sugar I can. I have a super cute holiday cake coming soon that I’m so excited to share! I brought it into work this past week and it caused quite a stir in the office. I’ve always wanted to say that. In the meantime, I’m leaving these Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies for you. I love shortbread so much. The dough is so quick and easy to whip up. In the world of cookies, I definitely tend to prefer buttery cookies to sickly sweet sugar cookies. The flavors of these cookies dance on that fine line between sweet and salty, which you know I’m ALL ABOUT. I put salt on pretty much everything. I’ve been experimenting with miso in baking lately as a savory alternative to flakey sea salt and I’m obsessed! The honey miso butter I shared a few weeks ago is what I want to eat everyday forever if heart disease wasn’t a thing. The cookies have a delicate and beautifully melt in your mouth texture. The matcha white chocolate drizzle adds a nice herbaceous sweetness that is not completely necessary but definitely welcomed! The hint of green is also a nice minimal approach to holiday decorations. I had plans of putting together little cookie boxes to send to my friends, so I still have these cookies in our freezer. They freeze beautifully BTW. But I find myself taking one or two out everyday to warm up and snack on… so we will see if any of them actually make it to the cookies boxes. If we had a chimney in our apartment I would at least save a few for Santa : )

Okay gotta go. So sleepy. We stayed up way to late last night because we were researching Italy things. We bought tickets to Rome for this spring! If you have any recommends for Rome, Florence, and Tuscany please share them with me!! Ah, so excited for all the noods.


Miso Toffee Shortbread Cookies

makes about 32 2” cookies

miso toffee materials:

8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp white miso paste
*recipe makes about 3 times the amount needed for the cookies!

shortbread materials:

12 tbsp unsalted butter - softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup AP flour

matcha white chocolate materials:

4oz white chocolate
1/2 tsp food grade matcha powder

make miso toffee:

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add sugar and miso paste. Whisk to break up the sugar and miso. Bring toffee to a gentle boil while continually whisking. Gently boil for 7-8 minutes until the color is a deep amber. If you have a candy thermometer, you want the temperature to reach 285 degrees.

  2. Pour toffee over a baking tray lined with a silicone mat or aluminum. Place in the freezer and allow to chill and harden.

  3. Once hardened, break the toffee into 2”-3” ish pieces by smashing with a rolling pin or hammer. Place about a third of of the toffee shards in a ziplock bag. Lay the bag flat on half a kitchen towel. Fold the other half of the towel over the bag and crush the toffee with a hammer or rolling pin until pieces are small and fine. Pieces should no larger than 1/4”. Smaller pieces are better because the large pieces will melt and pool in the oven. Some larger pieces are okay though! Set crush toffee aside for cookies and keep the remaining toffee shards in an airtight container for treats later!

make shortbread:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a separate bowl. Whisk to evenly combine.

  2. Cream butter and powdered sugar in your standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment. While mixing at low speed, gradually add in flour mixture and combine until the dough looks like wet sand.

  3. Dump sandy dough on to a lightly floured work surface. Add crushed toffee and knead to combine for about 1 to 2 minutes until dough is smooth and toffee is evenly dispersed. Divide dough in half, form into discs, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for 1 hour.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out until it is 1/4” thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter. Place on a parchment paper lined baking tray.

  6. Bake for 14-16 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

make white chocolate drizzle:

  1. Slowly melt white chocolate over a double boiler. Add in matcha powder and mix to combine.

  2. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

DSC08879.jpg
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Hi, December! You got here real quick. Reuben and I made the innocent mistake of venturing out to the suburbs on Saturday afternoon and quickly realized that literally everyone and their mom in Daly City was out buying their Christmas trees and other holiday goodies because it was December 1st. I don't know if I've just been living in an urban bubble, but I didn't realize that holiday madness is in full swing on the 1st. All we wanted to do was run some errands at the suburban Target because the experience is so much better than the dinky city Targets, plus there are more Chip and JoJo products I can longingly gaze at. I've also been dreaming of draping garland over all the windows in our apartment! Reuben swiftly vetoed the fake stuff covered in glitter from Target, because our apartment is a strictly glitter free zone. Then the parking lot at Home Depot literally looked like hell on earth, so we gave up on the garland mission for the day. Don't worry though! We found a pile of the real deal stuff at the nursery down the street from us! (I could tell that you were worried) I bought enough to drape around 1 single window because, JEEZ, real garland is EXPENSIVE. I definitely got into the wrong profession. Back when I was in high school they did not tell us that in 10 years taking photos of your food and selling tree trimmings linked together would make you a pretty decent living.

In the 3 years that Reuben and I have lived together, we have never had a Christmas tree. Main reason being because we don't really have room for a tree and we have absolutely zero outlets left to plug anything new into. Don't look at our power strips. I think all our other plant babies would be jealous if we moved them around to make room for a temporary woodsy roommate. So this one single garland strung over my mini kitchen island is a huge step up for us in the holiday department! I just got the battery powered twinkly lights too : ) so get ready! Oh! I should decorate our rubber plant with twinkly lights! I'm semi nervous that the next month is going to fly by extremely quickly. I'm doing my best to slow down and savor the holidays. I'm making time to bake all the cookies, work on this year's holiday cake (it's going to be a good one!), listen to the few select Christmas songs I can tolerate, and be extra extra cozy at home. I miiiiiight even be able to convince Reuben to watch Love Actually with me this year!!! I'll let you know if I succeed.

To kick off the next month of holiday baking, I'm sharing this ultra moist and decadent Persimmon Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling. IT. IS. SO. GOOD. The recipe is actually based on Reuben's mom's Apple Cake. I've swapped out the apples with persimmons and added the cream cheese because you can eat all the cream cheese you want this month. I've had it once before when we were in New Jersey and it was amazing! It's one of Reuben's favorite desserts for a reason. When I was testing the recipe, I asked Reuben if he's ever watched his mom make it for him. He said no, because she would either make it early in the morning before he woke up, while is was at school, or the day earlier if he was coming from college. At the moment, I was like "Ah! I wish you had some idea if I was doing this right!". But once the cake was baked and it got Reuben’s seal of approval, I was thinking how magical and appropriate for the season his experience of never actually seeing the cake be made was. Like, how great is it to wake up in the morning with the smell of cinnamon and sugar baking wafting through your house and then realizing you're about to have cake for breakfast?! Or to come home from college for Christmas break and to be greeted by your family a slice of your favorite dessert in the kitchen?! Ugh, my heart. Those kind of memories, especially ones tied to delicious smells, are the ones that stay with you forever and then when you're 31 and don't live close to your parents anymore you ask your baker girlfriend to make you're mom's recipes.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy the beginning of this magical season and fit in some time to bake some sweet treats for your loved ones! This bundt is a really great place to start : )


Persimmon and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

bundt materials:

3-4 medium crisp fuyu persimmons
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

cream cheese filling materials:

8 oz cream cheese - softened to room temperature
1 egg
1/4 white sugar
pinch of salt

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Carefully remove the stems from persimmon and cut into 1/2” cubes, skin on. Place cubed persimmons in a large bowl and toss with white sugar. Set aside and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

  3. Make the cream cheese filling. Cream the cream cheese with sugar using the paddle attachment on your standmixer or with handheld beaters. Mix for about 1 minute until smooth. Add in egg and salt. Mix until combined. Set aside.

  4. Whisk together eggs, canola oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Give it a quick whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together until combine. Mix in persimmons until they are well dispersed in the batter. Batter will be really thick.

  5. Grease a bundt pan with non-stick spray. Pour half of the batter in bundt pan. Scoop cream cheese filling in the center of the batter ring. Add in remaining cake batter. If the batter almost fills your mold, don’t worry. The batter does not dome up too much.

  6. Place in the oven and bake for 75-80 minutes until done. Test for doneness using a clean toothpick or knife.

  7. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake pan onto a wire rack. Cake should fall out of the bundt mold. Allow to completely cool and then enjoy!