Saturday, April 1, 2017

Big Auction Dessert

Our elementary school raises most of its yearly PTA funds through a big auction. We live in a fairly high-rent district (we are the poor people here - LOL), so we can't actually afford to attend the auction, but I can definitely help create the stuff that raises the money. This year, I helped with a class auction project, and then I created a special dessert for the Dessert Dash.
I love an excuse to experiment with cakes - especially when I don't have to eat them (calorie-free experimentation!). This time, I decided to combine two of my favorites: chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake. Let me start by warning that this is a many-hours process.
Here's how I did it:
1. I made a chocolate cake from scratch in two 9" cake pans, cooled them and froze them overnight. Before freezing them, I made sure to cut them down a bit so they were both as flat as possible. I used THIS recipe (mostly because I had only cocoa powder, no baking chocolate).
2. I baked a full batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies, making sure to bake a couple of giant ones (more than one in case one came out funky), and the rest fairly small (like a couple inches in diameter). I baked them a little more than I normally would because I wanted the crunch. Alton Brown's chocolate chip cookies are my favorite, recipe HERE.
3. In the morning, I made a 1-1/2 batch of a really fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting. I used THIS one.
4. Place one of the cakes on the plate with a little frosting underneath to cement it down. Cover the top of that cake with a layer of frosting. Chop up a few smaller chocolate chip cookies and arrange them on top of the frosting in a single flat layer. Top that with another layer of frosting.
5. Place the second cake on top of the frosting, and ice the entire cake with most of the rest of the frosting (if there's a little left, put it in an icing bag).
6. While the frosting is setting on the cake (which is nice and easy since the cake is still kind of frozen), make a batch of ganache. Let it cool a bit so it won't melt the frosting. HERE is a recipe for basic ganache.
7. Place ganache in some kind of squeeze bottle (I use the cheap dollar store plastic ketchup/mustard containers). run a line or two of ganache around the very outside edge of the cake so that the ganache runs down the sides. Embellish a little bit by squeezing dots at the edge of the cake where you want more drip. Then cover the entire top of the cake with a layer of ganache. You will have leftover ganache. Do find some other way to enjoy it.
8. Arrange big cookie in the center of the top of the cake, and then embellish as you like with the smaller ones around it. If you had extra frosting like I did, I added some decorative frosting to the top.

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