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)
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:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.