I’ve never been a big party person, but I actually love throwing parties.
Maybe because I like to have control over the food served, the decorations hung, and the people coming. Hello, creepy teenager houseparties are like my worst nightmare. There’s never any cool decorations (or any at all, save for the strewn dirty socks on the floor), or really any food, except chips and dip which is SO not okay to serve at a party. Community dip with people I don’t know? That’s like a maaajor no-no.
Anyways, when I throw parties, though, I love getting really into it. Making sure the balloons are placed in appropriate areas away from vents where potential popping could occur. Ensuring there are several types of appetizers to choose from and spaced accordingly on the buffet table. Perfecting the ideal soundtrack that’s neither offensively loud or too elevator music-y. You know, the little deets.
And if I know anyone who’s totally a perf party planner, it’s my homie Martha Stewart. Lady is a one-woman party machine! From her elaborately hand-crafted decorations to her always-gorgeous display of edibles, Martha knows how to throw a mean party that’s both elegantly easy and totally memorable.
So when I got the chance to review her new Special Collector’s Edition Cakes & Cupcakes magazine, I jumped at the chance! Cakes and cupcakes? Yeaaaaah, I think I could manage to review a magazine specifically tailored to my favorite dessert
First of all, I should put out a disclaimer that I’m not a fancy cake baker or decorator. I have never even touched fondant. So if you’re like me and run away screaming from anything more than one tier, don’t be intimidated by the beyond-gorgeous front cover with the floral cupcakes. You can do this!
Instantly, I was drawn to the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake which was one of the first recipes in the book. It sounded heavenly–I literally adore the sweet and salty combination and those huge flakes of sea salt sprinkled on top of that fluffy chocolate frosting.. I almost died. Thankfully I didn’t so I could continue to read on and discover Martha’s recipe for a Giant Cookie Cake.
When I saw it: a towering 5-layer cake of cookies with fluffy cream cheese frosting in between each chocolate chip cookie layer, I fell in love. I knew I wanted to make my own version of her cookie cake, reminiscent of my favorite cookie cakes from Mrs. Fields I’d have at birthday parties growing up. (Um, those were the coolest cakes. You weren’t cool unless you had a Mrs. Fields cookie cake, amiright??)
So I put a spin on Martha’s recipe by making personal-sized cookie cakes stuffed with bright mini M&M’s and layered among light and creamy cream cheese frosting. Toooootally perfect for birthday parties, work events, little just-because gifts for neighbors, or Tuesday afternoons, if you ask me.
I think Martha would approve!
Rainbow Chip Cookie Cakes *adapted from my Rainbow Chip Cookies and Martha’s Cookie Cake in her Cakes and Cupcakes Cookbook (on newsstands now through 5/6/13)
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup miniature M&M’s candies
3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
Cream cheese frosting (either homemade or canned)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone liners, use Heirloom sheets, or mist sheets lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in vanilla and egg and beat to combine. Lastly, beat in the flour, soda, cornstarch and salt until a soft dough forms. By hand, stir in the rainbow M&M’s and miniature chips to incorporate.
3. Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheets 1-2″ apart. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and gently press down on the cookie with a small icing spatula or a flat-bottomed glass. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To assemble the cakes: spoon the icing into a piping bag attached with an open star tip (I used Wilton tip #1M) and pipe the icing along the outer edge on the top of a cookie. Gently press a second cookie on top, frost the edges of the second cookie, and top with a third cookie. Repeat until you have all your cookie cakes completely (from this recipe, I got about 8 cookie cakes). Serve immediately. They can be eaten the next day, just store them airtight.
These cookie cakes are a super fun twist on a birthday cake or party treat. I love Martha’s idea of a giant cookie cake to appease the entire group, but miniature, individualized cookie cakes also make it easy for larger groups and look cute, too.
You really should pick up Martha’s Cakes & Cupcakes — it has some awesome ideas inside for any and every occasion, as well as some classic recipes for frostings and cakes and some valuable baking tips. It’ll quickly become a favorite, I promise!
Oh, and Martha? I’ll party with you anytime
Also: stay tuned, because I recreated the Salted Caramel-Chocolate Cake, too!! I’ll post later this week!
I was compensated with a free issue of Martha’s Special Edition Cookbook to review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.