Thursday, June 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Malia Girl

Piedmont Park, a 189 acre urban playground is where we celebrated Malia's birthday with a picnic dinner.   The temperature had cooled and the sun was setting as the fireflies began sparkling.  As we arrived, there was a lot of activity on the lawn with some playing soccer, others throwing a frisbee, many also having a picnic as we were.  It had been a busy day and we were all hungry.  We immediately laid out the food and stuffed ourselves, and in no time we were ready for dessert.
Numerous times throughout Malia's childhood, she would request a cookie cake for her birthday.  I would purchase it at the Great American Cookie Company.    This year I made them myself.  I couldn't decide on a flavor since Malia loves lemon, anything with sprinkles, and who doesn't like chocolate.  So I made all three.  Chewy Lemon, Funfetti, and Triple Chocolate.

Atlanta, Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookie Cake, Funfetti Sugar Cookie Cake, Happy Birthday, Piedmont Park, Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake,
L-R Lemon Sugar- Funfetti Sugar-Triple Chocolate

Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookie Cake
1 (9" Cookie Cake)
Ingredients:
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons (2-3 teaspoons zest)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Sparkling Sugar for sanding, optional
Directions:
1. Preheat oven 350'. Line the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with parchment paper, then spray with baking spray.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
3.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth.  Add 1 1/2 cup sugar and blend until fully incorporated.
4.  Add lemon zest, egg, vanilla and lemon juice and blend until fully combined.
5.  While mixing on low, slowly pour in the bowl of dry ingredients.  Mix just until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
6.  Place the dough into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
7.  Bake about 18 minutes, I like it a little undercooked.
8.  Let cool completely before frosting. 
Frosting Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1 Tablespoon heavy cream or milk more if needed.
Frosting Directions:
1.  Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon zest and butter until it becomes sort of crumbly. 
2.  Add the lemon extract and a little bit of the milk.
3. Beat until smooth and fluffy, adding only enough milk to bring the frosting to a creamy spreadable consistency.
4. Frost the cake as you choose.  There will be frosting left over.  You can freeze it and use on cookies another time.

Funfetti Sugar Cookie Cake
1 (9" Cookie Cake)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (not nonpareils)
Vanilla Almond Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt 
extra sprinkles for decorating
Cookie Cake Directions:
1.  Preheat oven  350'.
2.  Line the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with parchment paper, then spray with baking spray.
3.  In a large bowl using your mixer, cream the softened butter 1 minute on medium speed.  Then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color.  Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.  Scrape down sides as needed.
4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts.  The dough is quite thick.  Once combined, gently fold in the white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup sprinkles.
5.  Place the dough into the prepared cake pan.
6.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes.  You want the cookie cake to be extra soft in the center, do not over bake it. 
7.  Let cool completely.
Frosting Directions:
1.  Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
2.  Add confectioners' sugar, cream, salt,  vanilla and almond extracts with the mixer running on low.  Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes.  Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. 
3. Frost the cake.  I used the Wilton 1M TIP. 
4.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake
1 (9" Cookie Cake)
Ingredients for cookie cake:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup cocoa
1  1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup M&M's
3/4 cup chocolate chunks
Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients:
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2/3 Tablespoons water
Cookie Cake Instructions:
1.  Cream sugar and butter together until fluffy.
2.  Mix in vanilla extract and egg.
3.  Add baking soda, cocoa, and flour and mix until combined.
4.  Stir in M&M'S and chocolate chunks.  Dough will be sticky and thick.
5  Line the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with parchment paper, then spray with baking spray.  
6.  Place dough into prepared cake pan.
7.  Chill for about 3 hours or overnight, which is what I do.
8.  Preheat the oven 350' when ready to bake.
9.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes.  I like mine a little uncooked. 
10.  Let cool completely.
Chocolate Buttercream Instructions:
1.  Beat the butter and shortening until smooth.
2.  Add half of powdered sugar and cocoa.  Mix until combined.
3.  Add 1-2 Tablespoons water.
4.  Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add water to get the right consistency.  Decorate the edge of cookie with frosting and sprinkles.  Recipe adapted from: http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2013/07/25/triple-chocolate-cookie-cake-2/

I've always been a big believer in celebrating birthdays, no matter the age.  My girl's say you celebrate the day before, the day of and lastly the day after.  I on the other hand say you celebrate the entire month of your birthday!

Atlanta, Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookie Cake, Funfetti Sugar Cookie Cake, Happy Birthday, Piedmont Park, Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake,
Malia Girl

Their can never be to many balloons, thanks to Jim.

Jim and Malia Girl

Abby Gail and Brendan

Me and Lora Beth

Atlanta, Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookie Cake, Funfetti Sugar Cookie Cake, Happy Birthday, Piedmont Park, Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake,
The best view of the downtown skyline is from Piedmont Park, unless your lucky enough to be on Malia and Jim's rooftop patio.  Then that is defiantly the best view of the skyline.