Sunday, June 5, 2016

How to make strawberry shortcake and cookie bars from leftover wedding cake

By the title of this post, I bet you are reasonably certain that this is an Adventure in Cooking!

You are correct, but this particular adventure has a backstory. It begins with wedding cake. I never thought anyone actually likes wedding cake (in fact, I think the custom of making the bride and groom eat more of it, after it has been sitting in the freezer for a year, is a pretty strong argument against ever getting married). But apparently both my brother and his new wife not only tolerate wedding cake, but actually like it! They were so excited about being able to eat wedding cake that the only thing they asked their baker to do was bake them wedding cake. No decorations, nothing, just the cake and the white buttercream frosting.

Sadly, they and everyone else at the wedding were let down by the baker's poor excuse for a wedding cake. The cake itself was actually nicely dense and rich. Normally I only eat cake for the icing, but I actually thought this cake was pretty good—good for me, but not good for someone who wanted your traditional dry and boring wedding cake. The buttercream frosting, we all agreed, was terrible. Though it tasted sweet enough, the texture was like it was all butter and no cream. It was almost flaky, which is not how you want cake frosting to be.

So when all was said and done, the disappointed bride and groom didn't want to have anything to do with their wedding cake (year-old frozen cake tradition be darned!). I didn't either, but in thinking about how buttery the frosting was, I realized I could probably use it as a base for cookie dough! So I became the proud owner of part of a wedding cake. And this is where the Adventures in Cooking begin!

Phase 1: Separate the cake from the icing

You will need:
  • 1/3 of a terrible wedding cake with weird frosting
  • A knife
  • Miscellaneous food storage containers
Keep the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to begin. This will ensure that the frosting retains its rigidity for easy removal. Use the knife to pry the frosting off the cake. If you have succeeded in finding the right weird cake, the frosting will just separate from the cake in big sheets.

Press the icing into plastic food storage containers, and place the now naked slices of cake back into a 9-inch cake pan. Tada! It looks practically like you just baked it!

Phase 2: Bake cookies with the icing

For this phase, you're going to loosely follow the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, which you can get off any bag of Tollhouse chocolate chips, or you can use this handy recipe card that I am too lazy to transcribe for you.

 Make the following alterations to the recipe.
  1. Since you're not sure if it's actually going to taste good, only use half the recipe.
  2. Instead of 1/2 c. margarine, 3/8 c. white sugar, and 3/8 c. brown sugar, use 1/2 c. + a-little-extra weird icing, no white sugar, and 1/4 + approximately 1/2-of-1/4 c. brown sugar.
  3. Don't bother mixing the dry ingredients separately. This is an Adventure in Cooking, and you're lazy, and who wants to dirty two bowls anyway?
  4. Forget the vanilla.
  5. Add a handful of crushed walnuts.
  6. Don't bother measuring the chocolate chips. Accidentally add a little too many, but that's OK because anyone who likes chocolate chips wants more chocolate chips!
  7. Instead of dropping the dough onto a cookie sheet by rounded teaspoon (which is not exactly clear in the recipe, because you're the one who wrote it on the recipe card, and you make so many cookies that you don't need a lot of verbose instructions to get it right), spread it into an 8x8-inch square pan.
  8. Since you're still not sure if this is going to taste all right, you need to distract people from the actual cookie with lots of delicious candy. Top the dough with generous handfuls of butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips.
  9. Don't bake it 8-10 minutes at 375°. Instead, bake it at the classic 350° for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting into bars. might taste terrible, but at least it looks pretty!

Phase 3: Make the cake into strawberry shortcake

This is definitely the easiest part of this Adventure in Cooking, because the cake is already in cake form. All you need to do is top it with sugared strawberries and whipped cream, and you'll be done! In fact, you can just bring all of the ingredients to a party and have the guests top it themselves! The ultimate in lazy cooking!


LORI said...

that is my brilliant and beautiful daughter!!

Valerie said...

Awww, that is my sweet and marvelous mother!