Yesterday was my birthday, yay! Since we couldn’t go out and celebrate due to the fact that there’s a global pandemic going on I decided to bake myself a cake. I also took the time to make some cake pops with the cake cuttings and leftover buttercream, and chocolate ganache. This was my first try making cake pops, so I’ll be perfecting my cake pop abilities before sharing that recipe with you.
I’ll go into details about how to decorate your cake like I did after the recipe, but you don’t have to have all of the decorating supplies that I used for this cake to make a good cake. If you don’t have piping tips, palette knives, icing scrapers, or a lazy susan that’s okay! The key is mastering a good sponge cake. The decorating comes secondary to that. If you have the perfect sponge I’m sure your friends and family will still be delighted and impressed even if you smear your buttercream on with a knife.
When making this recipe you can just make the basic sponge, and ice it with buttercream if you don’t want to make the cookie dough. I filled the layers, and topped it with cookie dough, because it’s my favorite and it is my birthday cake. When I was a kid I would frequently steal raw chocolate chip cookie dough from the kitchen when my mom would bake. I often find myself still finding reasons to “sample” my own dough as I bake as an adult. Only now there’s much less of a risk of food born illness since I’m not eating raw eggs, and dairy.
If you’d like to go all out and decorate it as I did you can use our recipe for vegan cookie dough. I halved the recipe, and left out the baking soda to make this. There seemed to be no need to waste baking soda, since I wasn’t going to cook the dough.
This sponge recipe is another one from my maternal grandmother Billie. She used it in most of the wedding cakes she would make. It took me several months to figure out how to make this tried and true recipe vegan, and learn how to adjust it for the sizes of cakes I wanted to make. In this post I’ve adjusted the measurements to fit three 6″ diameter by 2″ height layers. If you have any questions about how to adjust it for different sized cakes feel free to get in touch, and I’ll try to help you out as best as I can.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake
Sponge Cake Ingredients
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups vegan white sugar
- 1 cup sparkling water
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (one stick)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- 2 tbsp bobs red mill egg replacer
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups buttercream frosting
- 1 cup vegan cookie dough
- 6oz full fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips or baking chocolate
Making the Sponge Cake
1. In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2. Melt the vegan butter in a mixing bowl, and coat dry ingredients with it. Gently chop together being careful not to overwork the flour. Coating the flour with oil helps prevent it from becoming overworked when you mix in the wet ingredients. This will allow for a fluffier cake.
3. In a small bowl combine Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer with water as directed on the package. Let sit for a minute.
4. Mix egg replacer into the dry mixture, making sure it is thoroughly incorporated.
5. In a separate bowl mix together the sparkling water and vanilla.
6. Add the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, gently stirring until there are no clumps. Try not to beat the mixture, as it will kill the carbonation, and overwork the flour.
7. Coat the vegan chocolate chips in a light dusting of flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your pan when baking.
8. Fold the flour coated chocolate chips into your cake batter.
9. Thoroughly grease your cake pans, and if you have parchment paper add a lightly greased parchment round to the bottom of each pan. You can cut the parchment to size, or order precut parchment rounds. I strongly recommend this, as it makes the cake come out very cleanly every time.
10. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Once your oven reaches temperature cook your sponges for 15 minutes. Check them at fifteen minutes to make sure they are not becoming over done. They should still be soft in the middle at this point. Check them after another ten, and then another five minutes. They should take about 30 minutes to cook at this temperature, but it may depend on your oven. All it takes is about two extra minutes for your vegan cake to become over done, dry, and chewy.
11. After 30 minutes check each sponge again with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean they are done. Remove them, and place them on a cooling rack.
12. Once they are completely cool you can level the top, and if you wish trim off the crispier cake from the sides and bottom. You can do this using a large cake knife, a cake leveler, or even a piece of unflavored dental floss. When trimming the sides I recommend using a smaller cake pan, or cake board as a template. Just place it on top of your sponge and cut around the outside. This will prevent over trimming, or uneven trimming. If that sounds like too much of a hassle for you, feel free to leave the “skin on”. Trim the top though, or the layers will slide off or just sit very uneven.
13. If you’re not interested in making a fancy cake that takes a lot of time to decorate you can add on your buttercream, or other icing at this time. I recommend making our homemade Best Vegan Buttercream.
Decorating the Cake
- Make the buttercream.
- Set the appropriate sized cake board on the lazy susan. In this case the appropriate size cake board is 8″ for a 6″ cake. Using a board that’s a few inches larger in diameter allows you room to decorate, and makes it easier to transport the cake.
- Apply a small amount of icing dead center on the cake board. Smear it a bit with the palette knife to cover more area. Place the bottom most layer of the sponge cake. Use a large round piping tip. Start in the middle of your layer, and spiral all the way out to the very edge of the layer. Use your palette knife to make sure the icing is level and even.
- Add some crumbles of the cookie dough, and apply a thin layer of icing over top so the next layer of sponge cake will stay in place.
- Stack the next layer. Repeat the icing and cookie dough application.
- Stack the top most layer.
- Using the palette knife apply a crumb coating to the outside of the cake. This should just be a thin layer of icing all over to lock in any crumbs. You should still be able to see parts of the sponge cake through the icing.
- Allow your cake to rest in the refrigerator for about an hour. This will “set” the crumb coat.
- Add another layer of butter cream after the crumb coat has set. I used a wide, flat, ribbon piping tip to pip the icing all the way up the sides of the cake. Make sure there is some over hang over the top of the cake. This will allow you to make nice sharp edges. Spiral the icing on the top of the cake with the ribbon tip.
- Using a bench scraper, or an icing scraper, hold it at an angle against your icing. Apply a slight amount of continuous pressure while you turn the lazy susan. Remove any excess icing from the bench scraper as you go. This should create a nice flat, perfectly smooth layer of icing on the outside.
- Using some wax paper, and a fondant smoother gently smooth the top of the cake. Start by placing the wax paper over the edges, and gently tamp them down around the outside of the cake, then move inward. Smooth until the top is flat and even.
- Return the cake to the fridge to chill for an additional hour. While it is chilling you can make the ganache.
- In a small sauce pan heat up 6 oz of coconut milk. Cook until the milk starts to simmer
- Add chocolate chips or baking chocolate to a heat resistant bowl. I used a pyrex for this. Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate. Allow it to sit for five minutes.
- Whisk coconut milk and chocolate until it is smooth and shiny with no clumps.
- Refrigerate the ganache for 15 minutes, or until it is a little cooler than room temperature. You want it to be warm enough to run, but cool enough that it starts to set up quickly.
- Remove your cake from the fridge. Using a spoon apply small ganache drips from the top sides of the cake. Add slightly more ganache for larger drips, and less for smaller drips. Create a variety of lengths. Spoon some ganache over the top of the cake, and gently spread with a spoon being careful not to smear the buttercream into the ganache.
- Return to the fridge to set.
- Using the remaining butter cream find whatever star shaped piping tips you like, and pipe accents on the bottom and top of your cake.
- Add a variety of sizes of cookie dough crumbles to finish it off, and voila you have a cake that will impress anyone at the party.