Monday, October 21, 2013

The Sweetest Day: Spookies and Cream Cake

Last Saturday was "The Sweetest Day," a seemingly made-up holiday I have only ever heard of this year.  However, I would never be opposed to a day celebrating kindness with candy, so I will happily embrace this new holiday.

It seemed fitting that this holiday happened to be the day we were scheduled to celebrate the birthdays of two sweetest people I have ever met.  Lauren B and Lauren P are two lovely girls that I met my first day of orientation at MSPP, and we have remained close ever since, even if we don't get to see each other all too often.  The number of truly genuine people in this world is sadly declining.  Most of us are lucky to even know a handful of folks that are always kind, caring, empathic, and just genuinely want to know how your day went.  I am fortunate to know two of these rare creatures, and they are both named Lauren, and their birthdays are about a week apart.

Hmm.. how could I make the concept of "sweet"even more obvious in a cake?  WITH CANDY OF COURSE!  It is also the time of year for my other favorite holiday, Halloween, so luckily for me, there is an abundance of candy on the grocery store shelves and in my green Trick-or-Treat bucket on my kitchen table.  I decided I was going to make a cake that celebrated these two wonderful girls and these two wonderful holidays.  I planned to make a Trick-or-Treat cake, with the outside decorated like a bright orange bucket, and the top covered in different kinds of candy.  Brilliance!

Then something terrible happened.  I came home the night I was supposed to make the cake to find that Jay's brother, (our dog walker for the time being), had nearly eaten our entire bucket of candy.  All that was left were the Jolly Ranchers.  What kind of horrible person does that?!  Who comes into someone else's house and eats all of their Halloween candy, except for the Jolly Ranchers that no one really wants because they aren't chocolate, but they are in the mixed bag that has the Twix so you get them anyway.  Who?!  WHY?!

Once I got over my initial devastation because all the chocolate was gone, I realized that I also had nothing left to make my cake with.  Then I was even more distressed.  What is the point of making a cake?  What is the point of living any more if all the candy is gone?  OK, so maybe I wasn't that dramatic.  I thought to myself, "well candies aren't exactly cookies, so it wasn't the worst thing that could happen."  Then I had it- BINGO!  Cookies!  Jay's brother hadn't found the Oreos I hid in the cupboard!  The cake was saved.  I would make an oreo cake and decorate it with the only candy besides Jolly Ranchers Chris doesn't like- candy pumpkins.

Thus, the "Spookies and Cream" cake was born:

Spookies and Cream Cake:
Dark Chocolate Cake w/ Oreo filling-flavored Buttercream and Oreo cookie crumbs
Recipe adapted from here
Yield: 1 8" double-layer cake

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup strong-brewed black coffee
1 cup milk (I used almond)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients.
Carefully stir the wet ingredients into the try, just until incorporated
Carefully grease 2 8" cake pans and dust with cocoa powder
Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
Bake the cakes at 350°F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks for ten minutes, then loosen the sides and invert the cakes onto the racks to finish cooling.

Cake Assembly
To finish cake you need:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 Tbs milk (I used almond)
About 1/2 package Oreos (separated)

  1. First you need to separate the filling from the Oreos.  Twist the cookies apart and scrape each side with a knife.  Put the filling in one bowl and the cookies in another.  Put the cookies in a food processor until they are uniform crumbs.
  2. Next you make your frosting.  Follow the directions for a standard buttercream as listed here, but add in the bowl of Oreo filling with the butter and Crisco.
  3. Once the frosting is set, shave the tops of the cakes so that they are flat and even.
  4. Place a generous layer (about 1/2 inch thick) of frosting on top of one of the cakes and invert the other on top of it.

It looks like a giant Oreo!
    5. Now cover the entire cake in the rest of the frosting:

   6. Next comes the messy part.  Using your hands, cover the top and sides of the cake with the Oreo cookie crumbs.  They will probably also cover your entire counter and kitchen floor, so please have a vacuum or hungry dog handy.

Now that you have your cake, you can decorate it however you want!  I used candy pumpkins, spider rings, and made a ghost out of marzipan with a candle in it.  Get creative!

In the end, it ended up being a really adorable and delicious cake, and not a total disaster after all.  It was a beautiful day to celebrate the birthdays of two beautiful people, and this cake put it over the top.

Happy Birthday, Lauren and Lauren!  Thank you for being so sweet all the time, and thank you for being a part of my life.

Love and cookies,

And Chris- don't think I'm going to let you get away with eating all that candy.  You owe me some Twix!

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