Wallaby Cookie Dough Cake
On Saturday it was Valentine's Day, and when I saw this cookie dough cake on Graham's awesome blog space, I needed our house to have it. My version was a little less layered but no less decadent, and even the addition of Australia's version of Greek Yogurt did not up its "good for you!" rating. It's good to know that good for you comes in many shapes and sizes. A little dose of cake and celebration is just what the doctor ordered. This cake was for my folks nearby and far off, and for my dad whose birthday falls on this blustery day in February. I was having a chef's block of sorts which also coincided with writer's block. A silent kitchen for me often means a little less poetry. Cooking keeps me human and so do the people that I cherish and cook for. While I do not put that much emphasis on Valentine's day, I will be the first to say that love inspires me out of silence...or gives me something mysterious and right when it leaves me speechless.
Cooking for others is one way that I acknowledge how they have nourished me. A nourishing that has nothing, or at least very little to do, with food. My dad is someone who moves through the world with a great deal of love and authenticity. Wisdom hard won and humor near over-worked and polished bright by hardships. His is the faith of a storyteller. This is our creation story repeated past the ends of our worst days. Our words, our imaginative consideration of the world around us, re-infuses and revisits the magic of existence. We are nourished when those around us are delightfully themselves, and encourage us to enjoy the same freedom. Even though this cake cannot possibly reach my dad in time to be nibbled properly, its story is dedicated to him. Happiest Birthday Papa.
-thanks ere I go, For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air—for life, mere life, For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear —you, father—you, brothers, sisters, friends,) For all my days—not those of peace alone—the days of war the same, For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands, For shelter, wine and meat—for sweet appreciation, (You distant, dim unknown—or young or old—countless, un- specified, readers belov'd, We never met, and ne'er shall meet—and yet our souls embrace, long, close and long;) For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books—for colors, forms...
I looked forward to making this cake beforehand, knowing that it would take time and that I finally had some to spend on handiwork. After a winter of many efforts that have seemed to come to naught, it is comforting to have a solid mass of something. A very frosted something and others to share it with. The cake is comprised of a vanilla cake base, cookie dough crumble, and a brown sugar buttercream. It is also soaked in milk (or half and half) and vanilla bourbon extract. I followed Graham's recipe almost to a T, except for the frosting. My frostings are often an adjust as you go affair, depending on the consistency I am aiming for. Fortunately or unfortunately for me this leads to a lot of tasting throughout.
Brown Sugar Buttercream:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup flour
1 cup confectionary sugar
1-2 Tablespoons milk
2 Heaping tablespoons of Wallaby Greek Yogurt ( for the tang man)
dash of vanilla/salt
Cream butter and brown sugar until smooth with a paddle or electric mixer. Add flour and salt in two additions and then slowly incorporate the confectionary sugar and a tablespoon at a time of milk. Add in vanilla. Adjust the frosting as necessary adding a little more confectionary sugar, and if needed some milk. Remember that too much liquid in confectionary sugar can destabilize it quickly and can be impossible to fix. Slow and steady with the liquids. Taste and spread!
If you like to deprive the oven of some cookie dough, this is the cake project for you. No raw eggs involved. And the cookie dough we prepared will be swirled in the batter, creating pockets of wonder. Who doesn't need those?
Here is some savory business just in case we feel we are drowning in dough-y goodness. Horrors!
Even though I just posted a very sugary cake, I am very excited about eating all of the vegetables I can get my hands on. The absence of the sun has left this beach girl a little drained and brittle. I find myself reaching again and again for lanky carrots, golden beats, and orange anything in an attempt to eat the sun. A simple winter recipe is my "anything orange". Roast long slivers of rainbow carrots and sweet potato in olive oil and a generous smidge of harissa, salt and pepper. Roast orange beets separately until you know their skins will rub off easily and chop into hearty, whimsical shapes. Toss all these together with cilantro and lime juice and top with a improvised yogurt dressing. Nuts are welcome and so is some swiss chard or kale. Keep going all you snowbound braves! Spring is not a piecrust promise.