I made this just unnecessarily over-the-top cake to celebrate my little sister’s 21st birthday. It includes all of her favorite things. 3 layers of yellow cake with chocolate chip cookie dough and Twix cheesecake in the middle, all covered in chocolate ganache and other goodies. It’s a significant time investment but I’ve included several make-ahead tips in the recipe below. And the time invested is totally worth it for this big day! My family also celebrated some other events this weekend including Derby Day, Mother’s Day and my graduation from college. This fantastic cake suited all of our needs.
The no bake Twix cheesecake and chocolate chip cookie dough fillings are surprisingly light and fluffy. No sugar grit as you chew like some similar recipes. The flavors work well together but you could always double one of the fillings and use it for both layers.
Don’t panic too much about the assembly. You shouldn’t have any trouble so long as you chill the cake layers, leave the fillings at room temp and treat everything gently. If your cake layers are a little uneven or wobbly-topped, use the fillings to even everything out.
No pressure for the chocolate ganache either! I’ve included a safe microwave version of the recipe below for those who don’t have a double boiler. You can always use a makeshift double boiler of a heatproof bowl set over a pot of boiling water. Reserve some ganache as ‘glue’ if you plan to decorate your cake as pictured here. Otherwise, apply the ganache slightly thicker than what you see here. I recommend doing a thin ‘crumb coat’ (a sloppy layer that will keep the crumbs out of your shiny , beautiful top layer) and then a thicker coating.
Use an empty cake pan to map out your decorations. This is much safer than just winging it once your ganache is warm and you’ve already started working. I covered almost every single inch of the cake in chocolate chip wafers, milk chocolate Dove promises, chocolate-filled Oreos, Brookside chocolate-covered fruit snacks and margarita soaked raspberries from our Raspberry Margaritas.
You could use store-bought chocolate chip cookies to decorate but I prefer to make my own. This recipe makes super thin chocolate chip wafers that will easily stick to the sides of the cake and stay put. They will also be easier to cut through. Spread leftover ganache between any remaining chocolate chip wafers. You can also use ganache to make pretty much anything else amazing. Use it on ice cream or toast, scoop some into your hot cocoa or just eat it with a large spoon.
You’ll only need a thin slice of this cake to satisfy each of your guests because it’s so tall and dessert-packed! I used a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice through all the layers of cookies, cake, filling and goodness with ease. (I used the same knife to cut the bottom row of cookies into halves. Just use one firm stroke.) Serve with a tall glass of milk.
Casey’s Diary BDay Cake
Yellow Cake: (3 9” rounds)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding mix
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
Chocolate Chip Wafers: (About 40, used 20 to decorate)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling: (About 1 ½ cups)
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2-4 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Twix Cheesecake Filling: (About 1 cup)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup Twix bars, chopped into bite size pieces
¼ cup Twix bars, crushed in food processor
Chocolate Ganache: (About 21 oz)
14 oz semisweet chocolate chips
8 oz heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
margarita soaked raspberries, Oreos and assorted chocolates for decoration
Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350° F.
Spray 3 9” round cake pans with cooking spray.
Cut 3 circles with 9” circumference to fit in bottom of each pan. (Trace the bottom of the pan onto the paper with pencil and cut.)
In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 5-10 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Beat in vanilla and almond extracts.
In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking powder, salt and pudding mix.
In yet another separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
Reduce mixer speed to low.
Beat in ¼ of flour mixture and then 1/3 of milk mixture, scraping down bowl and beater after each addition.
Stop mixer and scrape down bowl and beater.
Repeat, alternating 1/4s of flour and 1/3s of milk mixtures.
Spread batter in prepared pans and smooth tops.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until firm and pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool cakes in the pans on wire rack for 5 minutes.
Unmold onto rack to finish cooling right side up. (Leave parchment paper on to keep cakes from sticking to rack)
Chocolate Chip Wafers:
Whisk or sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugars.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
Mix in flour mixture.
Mix in chocolate chips.
Scoop by rounded teaspoons onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Bake at 350° F for about 5 minutes or until centers are set and edges are golden.
Allow to cool on sheet for 1-2 minutes before removing to wire rack.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling:
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in molasses and vanilla.
Beat in flour and salt.
Beat in sweetened condensed milk and 2 tablespoon milk.
If mixture is not at spreadable consistency, add 1 tablespoon milk and beat.
Repeat, if necessary.
Mix in chocolate chips by hand.
Twix Cheesecake Filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add all remaining ingredients except candy bars and beat until fluffy.
Mix in candy bars by hand.
Combine all ingredients in a double boiler and place over medium heat.
Stir often with silicone spatula until ingredients are fully melted and combined.
If you do not have a double boiler then use the following method WITH CAUTION. (This is the method I use but I’m always careful about the timing.)
Place chocolate and granules in medium microwave-safe bowl.
Pour cream into separate microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup.
Heat cream in microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring between each until very warm but not boiling. (Check temperature with your finger but stop heating at the first sign of bubbles.)
Pour hot cream over other ingredients, stirring immediately with silicone spatula until smooth.
If the mixture is not fully melted and smooth after several minutes of stirring, heat in 10-second intervals in the microwave until melted.
Chill cake layers in fridge for 1 hour or overnight. (This will make them easier to handle and will help prevent crumbling during assembly.)
Place sturdiest layer (without cracks or crumbling) on cake plate. (This will be your bottom layer and must support the weight of the rest of the cake.)
Spread softened Twix cheesecake filling evenly over cake with a rubber spatula, all the way to the edges.
Move to freezer for 20 minutes.
Remove from freezer and carefully place another layer of cake on top of filling.
Spread softened chocolate chip cookie dough filling evenly over cake with a rubber spatula, all the way to the edges.
Move to freezer for 15 minutes.
Carefully place last layer of cake on top of filling.
Assembled cake can be wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and stored in the fridge overnight or on the counter overnight. (Place a circle of parchment wrap between the top cake layer and the plastic wrap to prevent sticking.)
Spread slightly warmer than room temperature ganache over sides of the cake first using a silicone spatula. (You will make a mess. Use a thinner, offset spatula if you have one.)
Dollop ganache in the center of the top of the cake and spread outward from there.
Smooth out any problem areas, paying attention to the seam between the ganache on the sides of the cake and top of cake.
Clean up any drips on your cake plate with a paper towel wetted with warm water.
Move cake to the fridge for ½ an hour to allow ganache to set.
Dip your spatula in hot water and run it around the edges and top of cake to smooth out any uneven areas or remaining problem areas. (Continue wiping off and re-dipping your spatula throughout.)
Use leftover ganache as ‘glue’ to stick cookies and chocolates to your cake.
If ganache becomes unspreadable at any point, heat slightly until workable.
*Sandwich leftover ganache between leftover chocolate chip wafers to create the sandwiches pictured above.
Make Ahead Tips:
The cake layers can be prepared and baked up to 2 days ahead of time.
Once completely cooled, stack with layers of parchment paper between each layer and parchment paper on top to prevent sticking.
Wrap tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
The cookie dough can be prepared up to 1 week in advance and frozen.
Shape dough into a disc or cylinder and wrap tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap. Store in freezer.
If you have time, shape rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and lay out, not touching, on a sheet and then freeze. Store frozen balls of dough in a large Ziploc bag.
Dough may also be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days.
The cookies can be baked 2-3 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container. Be sure not to eat them all!
The fillings can be prepared 1-2 days ahead of time and stored in airtight containers.
Prior to assembling the cake, leave the closed containers out on the counter to bring to room temperature. This will make it easier to spread.
Do not prepare the ganache ahead of time! This is the quickest component to make anyway.
I assembled the cake the night before serving but prepared the ganache and poured it over the cake the morning of.
I also decorated with cookies and other goodies the morning of.
Leftovers should be stored in the fridge.