Monday, June 24, 2013

Cookie Recipe for Hidden Shapes


Last year about this time I showed you the Hidden Stars cake I'd been working on using cookie shapes inside.

I used the all white version of this recipe for the Hidden Butterflies cake.

But somehow in the confusion I neglected to share the cookie recipe I came up with. Oops!
Many of you have been asking about it so without further delay, here it is!


Seven Minute Sugar Cookies

For Twice Baked or Hidden Surprise Cakes


By Deborah Stauch, Once Upon A Pedestal


Notes: The baking time is short so that the cookie is set and no longer shiny but not at all browned. Seven minutes at 350°F or 176°C is perfect in my oven when using the small or mini cookie cutter shapes. You many need to adjust the time to fit your oven.


This recipe uses powdered sugar rather than granulated to insure that the bite or texture of the cookie is be more similar to the surrounding cake and not grainy. The baked cookie isn’t overly sweet. Its bite is slightly denser than the surrounding cake when baked but is still easy to cut into and doesn’t snap or crunch when the cake is cut.


Be sure to chill the dough once it has been pressed into the pans so that your shapes will keep their bevel and won’t spread.


Parchment lined baking sheet(s)
Hand or stand mixer
6 inch round cake pan or pan of desired ring size
Plastic wrap
Cookie cutter(s) no taller than the round cake pan


2 ½ cups (5 sticks) salted butter at room temperature [565g]
OR: for all white cookies like the Hidden Butterflies: substitute 2 3/4 cup shortening for the butter [56.5g]; and add 1/2 tablespoon [7.5 mL] white coloring by Americolor.
3 ½ cups powdered sugar [700g]
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons clear vanilla [15 mL] OR flavoring of your choice
7 1/2 cups flour [720 g] plus additional 1/2 cup if needed
1 teaspoon salt [5 mL]
Food coloring



1.     Preheat oven to 350°F or 176°C.
2.     Cream the butter or shortening and sugar together in a bowl with an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more. Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking, which is not ideal if for Twice Baked Cakes since you need the cookie to hold its shape.
3.     Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated. 
4.     Add flour and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  If using a stand mixer, the dough is ready when it clumps around the paddle attachment.  It’s important not to over mix the dough, just make sure all the flour is blended. This will prevent the glutens in the flour from developing and making a tough cookie.
5.     Line a 6” or desired ring size cake pan with plastic wrap. Press the dough firmly in the pan. Cover with additional plastic wrap and chill for 1-2 hours or more.
6.     Remove the dough from the pan and set aside the plastic wrap. Using a sharp serrated bread knife, slice the chilled dough into 32 even pieces by cutting in half, then in half again and so on. This step replaces the need to roll out the dough and gives each wedge an even bevel so that it can form the ring when stacked side by side.
7.     Cut out desired cookie shape from each wedge and place the cut shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set scraps aside. The shapes shouldn’t spread much so you can place them fairly close on the baking sheet. Dipping your cutter in a little bowl of flour after each cut is a great way to keep the dough from sticking and stretching out your shape. If your kitchen is extra hot or if you’d like some time to chill out while the cookies do the same, put the cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. 
8.     Bake cookies for about 7 minutes or until the dough is just set and no longer shiny. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie your oven.
9.     Let cookies cool to room temperature before stacking in ring shape inside larger cake pan.
10.  Press remaining scraps into smaller pan for an additional ring if your plan calls for it.
11.   Cookies can be baked ahead and kept in an airtight container or frozen until you are ready to assemble the rest of the cake.
Metric conversions from charts by The Metric Kitchen
Recipe adapted from/inspired by Sweetopia.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Surprise Inside Cake - Hidden Polka Dots Recipe and Tutorial

Hope that all of you are enjoying summer where ever you are! Sun, fun and a little cake mixed in never hurt anyone.

It's been a long time coming but I've finally trimmed down the original Hidden Polka Dot Cake post. Hopefully this will make it easier to have polka dots in your life.

Hope to hear more of your success stories really soon!


Polka Dot Cake

Tutorial by Deborah Stauch

§  6 bowls for tinting
§  3 – 6” cake pans

§  2 white cake mixes
§  3 whole eggs (for cake balls)
§  3 egg whites (for second cake mix)
§  2/3 cup vegetable oil (divided)
§  1 1/4 cup (to replace water in 1st cake mix + 1/2 cup milk (2nd cake mix)
§  1 cup sour cream (optional for added moistness & density in 2nd cake mix)
§  2 small boxes of instant vanilla or white chocolate pudding
§  Non-stick baking spray with flour
§  AmeriColor soft gel pastes:

Orange 113                                  Lemon Yellow 107
Electric Pink 164                        Electric Green 162  
Sky Blue 103                              Mix of Regal Purple 130 & Electric Purple 165
§  AmeriColor or Wilton White coloring (optional)



§  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray pans with baking spray.
§  Prepare 1 white cake mix making the some of the adjustments recommended in the instruction guide with the cake pop pan. Suggested: Add 1 box of instant vanilla pudding and substitute milk for the water called for in the mix. Do not decrease the liquid or increase the amount of eggs listed in the cake mix instructions.              
§  Divide the batter into 6 bowls and tint each using about 1/2 t. of gel paste so that the colors remain vivid after baking. You will have batter left over to make another batch of cake balls for a different project.
§  Prepare cake ball pan by spraying the outside of the vents with baking spray. Pour tinted batters into cake ball pan – 3 balls of each color.

§  Bake at 350F for 13 minutes so the cake balls are just done and springy to the touch but not browned. This way they won’t dry out too much and float during the second bake time.
§  When cooled, trim the tops and edges to remove the ridges using sharp craft scissors.

§  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray pans with baking spray.
§  Prepare the 2nd cake mix as directed on the box using the all white method shown on the package with egg whites. Add a small box of instant vanilla pudding, 1 cup of sour cream, 3 egg whites, 1/2 cup milk and 1/3 cup vegetable oil to the dry mix. Make sure the cake mix does NOT have pudding already added. Add optional white color for even better contrast if desired.
§  Place just enough batter to cover the bottom of the prepared pans and set the cake balls on top.
§  Pour the batter evenly around the cake balls, saving a small amount to barely spoon over the top of the balls. Do not tap the pan.
§  Mark the edge of the pans w/batter where you want the balls to line up – and notch the cakes when they’re done.

§  Bake the filled 6” rounds for about 30-35 minutes until they pull from the sides of the pan and spring back when lightly touched. Do not use a toothpick to test.
§  If your cakes are not level or have bumps where the balls have risen, place a damp paper towel on top of each layer as soon as they are removed from the oven. Press the warm cake with something flat, like the bottom of a smaller pan. Invert the layers after 10 minutes onto a flat surface to finish cooling. Wrap the cooled layers in plastic wrap and freeze until solid.
§  Prepare frosting from recipe below. Double the recipe if you like tons of frosting.
§  Remove cake layers from freezer. Frost the tops of 2 layers and stack. Frost the top and sides and decorate as desired. Refrigerate until 1 hour before serving for cutting ease.

Wilton's Buttercream Icing (Pure White Version)
Yield: about 3 cups of icing

  1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract Easy-Add clear vanilla extract
   4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  2 tablespoons milk
  1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor
  Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.
Happy Caking!