Kristin Detterline Kristin Detterline | January 4, 2021 | Food & Drink
Save the actual milk and cookies for Santa—and whip up Martha Stewart’s decadent riff on a childhood treat.
"Martha Stewart’s Cake Perfection is my 97th book. It has over 100 recipes for both novice and pro bakers—from show cakes to cupcakes and even recipes for delicious buttercreams. Milk and cookies are a childhood staple—and this cake is what you remember from your childhood, but elevated,” says Martha Stewart. “The batter is brown sugar-tinged for a cookie-doughlike flavor and flecked with miniature chocolate chips. It’s topped with a decadent toffee and a luscious crème anglaise buttercream.”
In addition to her collection at Macy’s, Martha Stewart teamed up with iGourmet for a special Cake Perfection baking tin, which includes a copy of her cookbook and other cake-making essentials.
Makes one 9-inch layer cake
FOR THE CAKE
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for pans
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips, plus more for decorating
FOR THE WALNUT TOFFEE CRUNCH
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup, plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 cup walnut halves, toasted
½ tsp. kosher salt
FOR THE CRÈME ANGLAISE BUTTERCREAM
10 large egg whites
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
8 sticks (4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush two 9-inch round cake pans with butter. Line with parchment; butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. Beat in vanilla extract. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing tips with an offset spatula. Bake until cake tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely.
Make the walnut toffee crunch: In a medium saucepan, heat butter and granulated sugar over high, stirring, until butter is melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is dark amber, 8 to 10 minutes more. Add toasted walnuts and salt, and stir to combine; transfer immediately to a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat to set. Once cooled, roughly chop.
Make the buttercream: In a bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together eggs white and granulated sugar. Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is completely smooth when rubbed between two fingers, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer, whisk on low speed for 1 minute; then increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add butter, a few pieces at a time, until all is incorporated. Add vanilla, then nonfat milk powder, and whisk to combine. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on low speed about 2 minutes to remove any air bubbles.
For assembly: With a serrated knife, split each cake in half horizontally to form a total of 4 layers. Anchor bottom layer on a cake board with a dab of buttercream. Spread a generous 1 cup of buttercream evenly over cake layer, then top with one-third of the walnut toffee crunch. Top with second cake layer, pressing down lightly to adhere. Repeat process; finish with final cake layer bottom side up. Spread a thin, even layer of buttercream over the top and sides to create a crumb coat. Refrigerate about 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides, finishing top with a decorative swirl, if desired. Using the remaining mini cholate chips, create a Swiss dot pattern around sides of cake. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Photography by: Cake photo reprinted from Martha Stewart’s Cake Perfection. © 2020 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; Portrait by Weston Wells