Oh Ralphie, it's been one of those days. There wasn't anything in the house for a good breakfast, and no leftovers to take for lunch. The dog left presents on the carpet, I forgot to put gas in the car yesterday, so I had to leave early for work to stop to fill up the tank, during which I spilled gas on my foot. Now I'm frazzled and I smell like Petunia Petrol and my day hasn't even started yet. Add in a crashed computer, 27 people asking “What's that smell?” and a rainy ride home, and I want dessert NOW!
So, my day might not have been that bad all at once, but each one of those things really happened to me at one time or another. And I'd bet my Snuggie that most of them have happened to you, too. When it's time for a comforting treat without another ounce of effort, I reach for a King Arthur Flour baking mix. I know I can have something delicious and satisfying – and I know it's going to be easy, too.
Some of you may remember the blog on MJ's Mom's Cheesecake in which our Golden Vanilla Cake mix was used to make a crust for bite-sized cheesecakes. This time, we're going to use two mixes you may have in your pantry right now to make a super-special two-layered treat that'll smooth away the cares of the day. You can use it to add pizzazz to brown bag lunches, and if you're that kind of baker, cheerfully blow the socks off your co-workers and relatives at the next potluck. Brace yourselves for a whirlwind of praise when you present The Cookie Cake!
Remember this “recipe” is so quick and easy to make you only need a bit of guidance; it's more the "ah-HA!" of the idea, than any specific recipe.
Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. For the whole recipe you'll need 18 tablespoons of softened butter (10 for the cookie mix, 8 for the cake); 5 large eggs; 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 3/4 cup milk (both for the cake).
Spritz a 9” x 13” x 2” pan with cooking spray. It's very important that the pan is at least 2” deep to avoid overflow during the bake.
Prepare the cookie mix according to the package directions. Of course you can use your favorite from-scratch recipe, but today it's all about the mix. I used my stand mixer, and didn't even wash the bowl afterwards. I'm going to use the same bowl for the cake soon, so no need to scrub.
Place the cookie dough in the prepared pan and using your fingers, press it out to fill the pan.
There, nice and even.
Check out the chips! We don't call this mix Triple Chocolate Chip for nothin'.
Place the pan in the oven and bake while you prepare the cake layer. No timer needed, just keep it in there while you make the cake. With a handy dandy mix, that will be less than 10 minutes.
Prepare the Golden Vanilla Cake Mix according to package directions. Again, you can use your favorite 9" x 13" vanilla cake recipe here. I didn't try this with a chocolate cake mix, but it should work fine as well.
Take the cookie layer out of the oven and set the pan on the countertop. The dough will still look raw and underbaked in the center. Trust me, this is just how you want it. The edges may be starting to brown, but should not look done.
Pour the cake batter right on top of the cookie layer. The pan will be slightly more than half full once the batter is added. If you need to hold back some of the cake batter, it's better to do that than have a burned mess in the bottom of your oven. I'll show you later what to do with the leftover batter.
I was curious how deep the cake batter was over the cookie mix so I used my digital tester. I'd say about 5/8” deep. See the edge of the pan in the background? Just over half full.
Place the pan back in the oven* for another 25-28 minutes.
*A word of caution from the voice of singed experience. Use mitts, the pan is still hot!
While the cake is baking, keep an eye on the browning. If it browns too quickly, just add a loose tent of foil over the top of the pan. This allows the cake to bake in the center without over-browning the edges.
The cake is done when a cake tester comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.
Thanks to the foil the cake is lovely. Golden brown and delicious!
How's about those layers? A warm piece of cake, and a warm cookie, all at once. I think I've died and gone to heaven!
If you do have a smidgen of cake batter left, you can make a small cake to put in the freezer for another fast dessert when you need it.
Pour the batter into a small cake pan, already spritzed with cooking spray. This pan is 6” round.
Bake the small cake alongside the cookie cake, or on a separate shelf in the same oven.
How weird am I? I even used the big timer for the big cake, and the small timer for the small cake. Little things like that really do float my boat.
When the baby cake is done, allow it to cool, split it, and ice. Wrap it well with freezer wrap, label, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and voilà, a marvelous mini dessert for you and your sweetie.
So, the next time you put your knickers on inside out, or wash your contacts down the sink, the next time the kids decide the cat needed a trim or the boss thinks your ideas are "cute", pull out a couple of mixes instead of your hair and whip up this Cookie Cake and be the baking superhero you were meant to be!