So there’s this super cute little import store near where I live. It has all kinds of fun stuff like Kinder chocolates, fancy cheeses, 200 different hot sauce varieties, and crazy bottled sodas like…grass flavor. Really. It exists. I was in there recently picking out some fun candy with my honey and our girls. I was not surprised to run across some Biscoff Cookie Butter. For those not familiar, it is exactly what you might think. Crushed Biscoff cookies blended with canola oil and a little sugar to make it into a spread similar in consistency to peanut butter. It. is. magical.
I just paused writing to get the jar out of my cupboard and have a little taste. Ugh. You guys. It’s so hard not to just get a spoon and eat the rest of the jar!
Anyway….I was determined to incorporate it into a cake as soon as possible.
My brother asked for a vanilla custard cake for his birthday. I love pastry cream as filling in layer cakes and I thought the flavor of my newly acquired cookie butter would go great with vanilla bean pastry cream and just a simple vanilla buttercream. I was not wrong. The cake was a hit with the birthday boy and all who tasted it. I will most definitely be returning to this one time and again.
Cookie Butter Custard Cake
One small jar Biscoff Cookie Butter, 14 oz. I used about half the jar.
One package Biscoff Cookies. I used 12 whole cookies to decorate the sides of the cake and about 8 crushed to sprinkle on the top.
- Two boxed white cake mixes, prepared one at a time. Baked into four 8-in rounds in two batches. You will only need 3 of the prepared cakes. I keep the extra layer in the freezer for future use on my next cake. You can see how I like to doctor my cake mixes here.
-Chill cake layers while you make the pastry cream and buttercream frosting. This will make assembly MUCH easier.
*You can absolutely make this with one cake mix and only do two layers. You will not need as much filling. OR you can use one cake mix and separate the batter into three 8-inch round pans, which will result in thinner layers. Take care not to over-bake as these will cook much faster.
- 4 egg yolks
- 3/4 c white sugar
- 3 T cornstarch
- 2 c milk
- 2 T butter
- one vanilla bean OR 2 tsp vanilla extract
One batch Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Recipe and instructions here.
Instructions for Pastry Cream
- SKIP THIS STEP IF YOU ARE NOT USING VANILLA BEAN Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds. Add bean and seeds to 2 cups milk in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. On stove top, steep vanilla bean in milk by simmering on med/low heat until milk just comes to a boil. This can be left to steep overnight in the refrigerator (deepens the vanilla flavor) OR continue with instructions with milk still hot. Strain milk to remove any solids from the vanilla bean before continuing to step two.
- Beat yolks in a medium bowl.
- Add sugar and cornstarch to milk and cook on medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat and simmer 2 min.
- Temper the egg (prevents scrambled egg) by taking about 1/3 cup of the hot milk mixture and adding it to the eggs very slowly, whisking egg yolks constantly. Continue to add milk to egg mixture 1/3 cup at a time until you’ve added about 1 cup.
- Add egg mixture back to the pan. Simmer on low until desired consistency is reached, about 3-5 min. Because we are using this to fill the cake, it will need to be fairly thick to withstand stacking.
- Remove from heat and add butter. (ADD VANILLA EXTRACT NOW IF YOU DID NOT USE A VANILLA BEAN) Stir until smooth. Chill until ready to assemble the cake. *Tip: place a sheet of cling film directly on the surface of the pastry cream while chilling. This will prevent it from forming a skin.
- Place one layer of white cake on your cake stand/board/plate.
- Spread about 1/2 cup Biscoff Cookie Butter evenly over the surface of the cake.
- Using the vanilla buttercream, pipe a dam around the outside edge of the cake surface. This will prevent the pastry cream from leaking once the cake is stacked.
- Fill with about 2/3 cup pastry cream inside the dam on top of the cookie butter.
- Place another layer of cake and repeat filling steps ending with the final of the three layers of cake.
- Cover cake with vanilla buttercream.
- Embellish with Biscoff cookies. I used 12 cookies spaced evenly around the outside of the cake pressing firmly to make to cookie stick to the buttercream. Then crush about 8 cookies and sprinkle on the top of the cake.
This cake is a tribute to my mom and her favorite ice cream flavor, Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter ‘n Chocolate. As a teenager, she worked scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins. She worked so hard, she gave herself carpel tunnel. This woman is one of the hardest workers I know and has instilled that in all 4 of her children. She’s just so awesome! Seriously guys…she’s the best. So I cooked up a special treat for the best mom I could have ever asked for.
I live at about 4,500 feet elevation. High altitude can be tricky with baking. During recipe testing, my cakes kept falling. With less air pressure and a dry climate, cakes at high altitude tend to rise too fast and fall. So I set out to find my own high altitude adjustments with much research and lots of test cakes. My family wasn’t complaining…sunken cake is still cake they get to eat!
In my research I found several suggested alterations to help with high altitude baking:
-Reduce the amount of sugar by up to 1 tablespoon
-Increase flour up to 1 tablespoon per cup (this helps with the structural integrity of the cake)
-Reduce leavening (baking soda, baking powder, etc)
-Add an extra egg yolk or whole egg
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
- 1 3/4 c plus 2 T all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 c sugar
- 3/4 c cocoa powder
- 2 eggs plus one egg yolk (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1 c buttermilk (room temperature)
- 1 c hot coffee
Peanut Butter Frosting:
- 1 c creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 c butter (room temperature)
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 2 T whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together dry ingredients thoroughly.
- Combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add wet ingredients to dry. Add coffee. Stir just to combine.
- Pour into two 8 inch pans prepped with pan release. (I swear by I am Baker’s pan release, recipe found here)
- Bake at 350 for 30 min.
- Cool pans for 30 min, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
- Prepare peanut butter frosting. With mixer on medium speed, cream together peanut butter and butter. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Turn mixer to low, add powdered sugar and milk. Mix until smooth and creamy.
- Once cool, tightly cover cake layers and chill for at least 1/2 hour in the refrigerator or freezer. Assemble cake. Place one layer of the cake on a plate or cake stand. Spread about 2/3 cup of the peanut butter frosting on the cake. Place the next layer. Cover entire cake with frosting. To achieve the semi-naked look as seen in the pictures, scrape most of the frosting off the sides so the cake layers are peeking through in some places.
Chocolate cake recipe adapted for high altitude from the ever wonderful I am Baker’s Perfect Chocolate Cake.
Recently I was set with the task of creating a birthday cake for a strawberry shortcake lover. “Surprise me,” he said. I wanted to make him something he would love that wasn’t just your run of the mill strawberry shortcake, delicious as that may be.
Inspiration time. Do you remember those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars? I just love them. The crumb on the outside and the sweet strawberry and creamy vanilla on the inside is just magical and summery and fresh. Mm!
Here it is, my version of the Strawberry Crunch Cake.
Note: I love cakes from scratch, however there is something to be said for the ease of a boxed cake mix sometimes. I have a couple tricks for making your boxed cake taste like you slaved over a scratch recipe!
-Follow the box making these substitutions and you’ll notice a major difference! Use softened butter instead of vegetable oil, milk instead of water, and add up to 1/2 cup whole milk vanilla yogurt (the extra fat in the whole milk yogurt makes the cake extra fluffy and moist.) This makes for a very moist, tender cake that holds up to layering and decorating quite well. Yeah, I know I said “moist” twice, but it really is. so. moist! To those that hate that word, just relax, you’ll forget you hate the word when you eat the cake.
So the choice is yours. Go ahead and make the boxed cakes exactly as directed OR follow my tips. Either way, you’ll end up with a killer cake!
Strawberry Crunch Cake
- Two 8 in. round strawberry cake layers, baked and cooled
- Two 8 in. round white cake layers, baked and cooled
- (I like to chill my layers before decorating, in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour or in the freezer wrapped tightly overnight)
- 12 Golden Oreo cookies
- 12 shortbread cookies
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
Strawberry French Vanilla Mousse Filling:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- One 3.5 ounce box instant french vanilla pudding
- 1/4 cup strawberry jam
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- Prepare the strawberry crunch: In the bowl of your food processor or blender, pulse Golden Oreos and shortbread cookies until they are in coarse crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until combined. Add freeze-dried strawberries and pulse until combined.
- Prepare filling: In the bowl of your mixer, beat whipping cream on medium/high speed until it just starts getting thick. Turn speed down to low. Add strawberry jam, mix until incorporated. Add pudding mix. Increase speed and whip for about 1 min, until mixture thickens. (Mixture will be a bit grainy until the pudding sets, it will be silky smooth when you cut into your cake…don’t worry)
- Assemble: Place one strawberry cake layer on a plate or cake stand and frost generously with 1/3 of strawberry filling. Repeat, alternating layers until assembled.
- Prepare Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: In the bowl of your mixer, beat softened butter until light in color and fluffy. Add vanilla. With mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add milk. Once incorporated, turn mixer on medium/high speed and whip for about 3 min. Frost the outside of your cake.
- Add strawberry crunch: Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the top of the cake and pat into the frosting gently to keep it in place. Cupping some of the crumb mixture in your hand, work your way around the cake, gently pressing the crumb mixture into the frosting. As you can see, I left some of the frosting exposed around the middle of the cake because I liked the look of it, however, there is enough of the crumb mixture to cover the entire cake. If desired, repeat until entire top and sides of cake is covered in crumbs.
Adapted from http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/strawberry-crunch-cake/