I’ve waited a really long time to make the Cookies and Cream cake from the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home recipe book. Apparently I have very few friends who have a sweet enough tooth to handle this dynamic duo. Thankfully, my friend from work had a birthday coming up, and has a seriously sweet tooth (even sweeter than mine!) so I shot-gunned cake duty and went all out on this cake.
I had actually planned to make the cookies as well as the cake but, a lack of forward-planning, and thus time meant that I had to cheat and buy the ready made variety. Shocking, I know.
Once I finally got round to making the cake, I started off mixing all the dry ingredients together until they look like sand. I’ve developed an almost fool proof method of always getting this right: soften the butter in the microwave before mixing it with the sugar first. Then, when you add in the rest of the ‘dry’ ingredients, you achieve the sandy consistency much quicker and avoid over-mixing.
In a different bowl I whisked together the buttermilk and eggs before adding it to the ‘dry’ ingredients. I then had to break up the cookies and mix them in to the batter. Somehow, the exact measure of cookies meant that half of one was left behind … and by that I mean it went beautifully with my evening tea!
The batter was split into three, pre-lined and greased cake tins and went into the oven for around 30 minutes. I’m lazy and squeezed all three into the same shelf so found myself moving them around with 10 minutes to go on the timer, as the two tins in the back were more golden-coloured than the one in the front.
Once out I left the cakes to cool before slicing the tops off. I found that this allows me to kill two birds with one stone: firstly it ensures I don’t get a Leaning Tower of Pisa wannabe cake. Secondly, it provides my raucous family with something to try and stops me worrying about slices of cake mysteriously going missing in the night.
I made the frosting with icing sugar, butter and mascarpone cheese (yum!) and started layering the cakes. As I was layering, I got more and more excited about actually eating it – the layers went: cake – icing – crumbled cookies(!!) – cake. Oh. My. Gosh. The kitchen already smelled like a beautiful cookie/cake concoction and now I was layering more sweet goodness into the icing! I somehow managed to get the layers and the crumb coat finished without drooling all over it which, in my opinion, is a huge achievement.
Another cup of tea (OK, and another cookie) later, I started icing the cake properly – I went for the signature Hummingbird Bakery swirl for two reasons: it was late, and the longer I spent with the cake, the more likely I was to take a bite out of it. Although my friend wouldn’t get a beautifully decorate cake, he’d get a whole one.
Once that was finished I sprinkled cookie crumbs around the edges for that extra finish. OK, I lie – there were two cookies left and I was determined not to eat them. My only other option was to get rid of them (which is too much of a waste) or make use of them somehow. I opted for the non-wasteful, more decorative option.
The cake was snuck into work the next day and hidden until present/’happy birthday’ singing time. Thankfully, the cake hadn’t melted, toppled over, or been smudged in any way during transit (the district line at rush hour is a horrible place to be for any type of baked good!).
Everyone got a slice of cake and, thankfully, everyone loved it. The cookies and cream cake is, in my opinion, almost everything anyone could wish for – it’s moist, has a crunch and a lovely sweetness to it. The only thing I’d change is to add a strawberry somewhere – just to make you feel like you’re being healthy.
Making this cake has made me realise one important thing about people’s tastes – no matter how they preach about preferring fruit cakes or, alternatively, disliking sweet cakes … it’s all lies. When it comes down to it, everyone loves a sweet cake, their waistlines just won’t let them admit to it.