I have been meaning to share this post for over a year. Whoops! Well, better late than never.
I turned 30 last year.
I knew I wanted to do something really fun to celebrate, and I thought it would be hilarious to do an adult cake smash. Since I’m single with no kids of my own to subject to this kind of excitement, well, who better to enjoy a cake smash than…myself?!
I used to work for a photographer, back when cake smashes were just becoming a thing, and I would always smile as I edited the one-year photos. Not only were they adorable, but the cakes always looked so delicious that I wished for one of my own! Everything about shoving handfuls of your very own cake into your face without sharing seemed like something I wanted to experience, and I vowed I would someday.
I can happily report to you that it was quite enjoyable and lived up to the hype.
(Oh, and I did end up sharing, for the record. I only made it a few handfuls in before I couldn’t eat another bite! I expected better of myself.)
Of course, I needed a few things, like any cake smash does:
A cake, obviously
A tutu skirt (Mine came from JoAnn Fabrics a few years back)
Some fake pearls
Plenty of glitter
A bit over-the-top? Maybe. But you only turn 30 once!
Of course, with my love of baking, I had to make the cake myself!
I’m not gonna lie: this cake took a lot of work to make. But I certainly wasn’t going to spend $100+ on a cake from a bakery and, although layer cakes aren’t my specialty, I was up for the challenge. It was totally worth the time, but I wouldn’t make one of these every week, that’s for sure!
Normally when I bake a layer cake, I’m disappointed in how imperfectly it turns out, because I am a complete perfectionist and I want a perfectly smooth cake. I can never seem to achieve that, no matter how hard I try! I knew I needed to choose a cake for my cake smash that would look semi-decent despite my imperfect decorating skills, and I found that cake at Style Sweet. This lovely cookie dough cake had layer after layer of cookie dough goodness, plus it was studded with chocolate chips to distract from any imperfections! (Not that it had any, but I knew mine would!)
I carefully followed Style Sweet’s methods, using the milk soak and the cookie dough recommended from Sprinkle Bakes. I did, however, use adapted versions of my go-to Georgetown Cupcake recipes (Favorite cookbook available here!) because I’ve made them so many times that I know exactly how they turn out…and I did not want to mess this cake up.
Here’s the rundown of this cake:
Vanilla bean cake (The vanilla beans aren’t an absolute must, but they do make a difference!)
Cookie dough filling
Cookie dough frosting
Chocolate chips for decoration
Yes, there are a few steps here. It took me about a day, with a lot of down time in between each step. But if I can do it, so can you!
Here was the finished product, imperfections and all.
Speaking of imperfections, I only now realized that the other recipes included chocolate chips in the actual cake and I didn’t. There were chocolate chips in each bite because of the filling and frosting, so I didn’t even notice them missing! But you can totally add chocolate chips to your cake batter, too! That would make for an even prettier cake. :)
If you live in a humid climate and are afraid of ruining this cake when you slice it, refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so beforehand so it will retain its shape better when a knife touches it. I did this just to be safe, because I didn’t want all my efforts to be destroyed! Well, until I destroyed the cake myself with my bare hands, I guess…
I’m not including nutritional information for this one because A) I got so many servings out of this cake I couldn’t even begin to count them all, and B) I don’t think any of us really wants to know how many calories are in a slice of this. Especially me.
This is a celebrating kind of cake, not a calorie-counting kind of cake.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Milk & Cookies Cake Adapted from The Cupcake Diaries, Style Sweet, and Sprinkle Bakes VANILLA BEAN CAKE: 2 1/2 cups flour 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 8 Tbsp butter, at room temperature 1 3/4 cups sugar 2 large eggs, at room temperature 2 1/4 tsp. vanilla seeds from 1 vanilla bean 1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature COOKIE DOUGH FILLING: 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup milk 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips MILK SOAK: 1/3 cup milk ½ tsp. vanilla extract 2 Tbsp. sugar COOKIE DOUGH FROSTING: 3 sticks salted butter 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar 3/4 cup flour 1/4 tsp. salt 3 Tbsp. milk 4 tsp. vanilla Semisweet chocolate chips, for decorating FOR CAKES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans. Spray each with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of flour. Trace circles on parchment or wax paper to fit inside pans and place inside each one. In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla and vanilla bean seeds to milk. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat with stand mixer until well combined. Add 1/3 of the milk and mix thoroughly. Repeat with remaining ingredients, scraping bowl as needed. Pour batter into prepared pans, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool pans completely on a wire rack. FOR COOKIE DOUGH FILLING: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream brown sugar and butter together on medium until fluffy. Add vanilla, flour, and salt; mix until combined. Add milk until a dough-like consistency is reached. Fold in chocolate chips. Evenly press half of the cookie dough into a 9-inch cake pan to form a round disc. Carefully remove cookie dough and set aside in the refrigerator to retain shape. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. FOR MILK SOAK: In a bowl, whisk vanilla and sugar into milk until combined. FOR COOKIE DOUGH FROSTING: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. TO ASSEMBLE: Once cakes are completely cooled, remove from pans and discard paper circles. Trim cakes if necessary so that they are flat and not domed. Brush each cake with a third of the milk soak. Place one cake on a cake stand. Top with one of the chilled cookie dough discs. Place a second cake on top, followed by the other cookie dough circle. Place third cake on top. Frost cake with prepared cookie dough buttercream, spreading on top and up the sides, as smoothly as possible. Press chocolate chips all around the sides of the cake, flat sides out, in a dotted pattern. Slice and serve. Store cake in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (It'll probably keep longer but may start to dry out).