Let’s start by talking about what is a cakie? I’ve seen it used to describe a cake-like cookie, a miniature cake, and even a plain old cake. To me (or at least, for the sake of this recipe), it’s a miniature cake! In this case, a miniature cake cut from a big cake.
I made this cake for my nephew’s 5th birthday. Chocolate is his favourite cake and blue is his favourite colour, so I kept it simple: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and blue star decorations. Just a simple recipe that’s simply delicious. By cutting the cake into nearly two-dozen miniature cakes, everyone gets their own birthday cake.
(As an update, I got snowed in and did not make it out to the suburbs to celebrate my nephew’s birthday and give him the cakies. Good thing cake freezes well!).
If you don’t want to go all-out decoration and presentation-wise, this is a great recipe for a simple chocolate sheet cake. It’s easy, it’s quick, and it reminds me of the Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines box cakes I ate growing up!
Chocolate Cakies (or Chocolate Sheet Cake)
Cake recipe adapted from Molly Yeh
Yield: one 9×13″ cake (cut into about 22 2″ round cakies) or two 8″ round cakes
Notes: This is a very simple recipe, which means there’s room to liven it up if you’re feeling adventurous. I kept it simple for my nephew, but would encourage you to explore by adding different spices or substituting hot brewed coffee for hot water. Fan of cardamom (like me)? Add a few dashes. Feeling nutty? Chop up, lightly roast, and fold your favourite nuts into the batter!
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup regular milk with 2 tsp white vinegar, let sit 5 mins)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ c oil (flavourless, like canola or grapeseed)
- ¾ cup boiling water
Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cup icing sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 oz (or about ½ cup coarsely chopped or in chip form) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 9×13” cake pan or two round 8” cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, sift or whisk all dry ingredients in together.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and oil – do not add the hot water to this mixture.
- Pour the combined wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir to combine.
- Whisk the boiling water into the large bowl.
- Pour the batter into the pan (or evenly between the two pans, if using 8” option).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre just comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for at least 5 minutes, then flip onto cooling rack to cool completely
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and salt and mix on medium-high until incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Add the icing sugar and mix until evenly combined, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape the bowl down at least once during this process.
- Add the cocoa powder and mix until fully combined, about 2-3 more minutes. Scrape down the bowl at least once during this process.
- Slowly drizzle in the melted chocolate with the mixer on medium and continue mixing until fully combined, about 2 more minutes.
- The buttercream should be thick but still spreadable. If too thick, thin it out by adding one tablespoon of milk at a time. If too thin, thicken it by adding one tablespoon of icing sugar at a time.
Cakie Assembly Directions (optional):
- Once cool, flip the cake off of the cooling rack (so the bottom is now on the bottom). Using a serrated knife (or your best bread knife), level the cake (i.e. trim off the middle part so the bottom of the cake is evenly flat).
- Flip the cake onto a baking sheet, cutting board, or large plate. Place in freezer for about 10-15 minutes to firm up the cake. This will make frosting it easier and cleaner.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and spread the frosting in a thick, even layer over the top of the cake only.
- Place the cake back in the freezer for at least five minutes (the frosting should be firm to the touch and hold its shape).
- Using a 2” (or whatever size you prefer) round biscuit cutter, cut out circles from the cake. The cake will compress as you press down (don’t worry, it will fluff back up once you remove the piece from the biscuit cutter).
- To remove the slices from the biscuit cutter, gently and evenly put your fingers through the top of the biscuit cutter and slowly press the slice out. You’ll probably notice the buttercream will warm up quickly, so you should act fast.
- A couple of tips: I recommend wiping clean the inside of the biscuit cutter every two slices, otherwise your cakies will look messy and not come out as easily. As soon as the buttercream becomes soft, pop the cake back in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up. Chilled buttercream is much easier to cut cleanly than at room temperature.
- The blue stars are made by adding a couple drops of food colouring to about 1/4 cup of marzipan, kneading it in, rolling it out to about 1/8″ thick, and cutting out stars.
- Once you’ve cut out as many cakies as you can (a 9×13” sheet got me 23), decorate, serve, and Instagram your favourite piece.