It's not everyday you meet someone as salt of the Earth, funny, sincere and open minded as Daniella of the ever successful blog Chicky Treats and now youtube channel Chicky's World. I started following D on instagram long before she blew up, looking for cake decorating inspiration as I was about to make my first wedding cake for my dear friends Sarah and Zach.
I was hooked. I loved her clean and consistent tutorials and over the past couple of years I've learned a lot from her. I would comment on her posts things like: '#drool' or 'you're a cake queen' or 'gimme' or 'holy fuck dayuuuum girl.' And she would always validate my comments with a laugh/cry emoji and a humble thank you.
Does this chicky think I'm funny because?... I would really love to meet her and pick her brain and ask her how she went from a couple hundred followers to 21.4 thousand in the span of two years anddddddd so I asked her to coffee.
What. A. Creep.
But she was totally down, and I was totally stoked. Dani is not a vegan, but she recommended we meet at Peacefood Cafe near Union Square. She came all the way downtown to meet me at a vegan restaurant at 8.5 months pregnant. We talked for a couple hours about food (obviously) and business, but then lots of life talk. She promised (advice I've tired of hearing, but for some reason I believed her) that the best business decision she ever made for her blog was to be exactly who she was and to know her worth. That advice never served me when I was an actor in the entertainment industry, so it's been frustrating and confusing to hear over and over. But there she was with her big hoops and her messy top bun just like in her videos. She was who she was and she was fucking successful. We decided by the time we parted ways that:
1) We must have been best peeps in a past life
2) We were gonna collaborate on an exciting vegan treat.
Cue VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE CAKE with toasted hazelnuts, pretzels, peanut butter and white chocolate chunks.
INGREDIENTS* (COOKIE CAKE):
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup organic white sugar
- 1/3 cup organic light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy milk (we used her homemade coconut milk)
- 1 TBSP ground flax seeds
- 2 tsp *vanilla (Daniella only uses the best ingredients, which is why custom cakes are so expensive)
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
- Small handful of crushed salted pretzels
- Small handful of toasted hazelnuts (chopped in thick chunks)
- 1/4 cup of vegan white chocolate and peanut butter chips
But we wanted a fat, multi-layered cake party so we did some math and three days later we came up with this (one of my favorite tips I got from Dani is to take a piece of parchment paper and a sharpie and write your recipe out then multiply the ingredients to get the new measurements G E N I U S)
For the four tiered cake you want these measurements:
- 1 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cups organic white sugar
- 1 cup light or dark brown vegan sugar
- 3/4 cup soy (coconut or almond) milk
- 3 TBSP ground flax seeds
- 6 tsp (which is also 2 TBSP) vanilla extract
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
- Large handful crushed salted pretzels
- Large handful toasted hazelnuts (chopped in thick chunks)
- 3/4 cup combo vegan white chocolate and peanut butter chips
DIRECTIONS (COOKIE CAKE):
- Pre-heat oven to 350º
- In a medium bowl, beat sugar(s) and coconut oil in mixer
- Add “milk” and flax, mix to combine
- Add vanilla
- Add half the flour mixture, salt and baking soda
- Add the rest of the flour, white and dark chocolate and peanut butter chips, chopped hazelnuts and pretzel bits
- Mix until combined
- Next, take your giant dough ball and weigh it on your kitchen scale. Take that number and divide by four. Those are your weight measurements for each cookie dough cake. Once measured, take each ball and gently press into a lightly coated 6” cake pan. Repeat with each dough ball until you have all four cakes ready for the oven
- Cook for 40 minutes (start checking at 30 mins. The less time you cook it the softer the cookie cake will be #noeggsnoproblem)
- Let cakes cool in their tins on a wire cooling rack until completely cooled. Gently turn over cake tin and lightly knock the top to loosen (we put ours in the freezer after cooling in the pans for a couple minutes to speed things up and it worked like a charm. Just watch ‘em)
We used a traditional buttercream frosting and vegan friendly food coloring to create a succulent cake. We thought the orange-y hues of the crisped cookie layers were reminiscent of a desert scene.
- 1 Bag of organic powdered sugar
- 3 TBSP Earth Balance (or Miyoko’s if you don’t use products with palm oil)
- 4 TBSP “Milk”
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Cream the “buttah” in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment
- Add 1/2 a 12 oz. bag of powdered sugar and continue to mix
- Now add your milk and vanilla
- Keep mixin’
- This is where you start to taste test. Too buttery and not thick enough? Add more sugar. You want buttercream to be more creamy and less sweet. In my opinion. My magic number always seems to be 3/4’s of a 12 oz. bag
Now you can play around with colors. Dani taught me some dope piping tricks. For example, if you take a piece of saran wrap and lay it flat on your counter, gently spoon one color in a long line running the length of the plastic wrap, then next to it do the same thing with a new color, and then again with a third color. Carefully roll the saran wrap so you have a three color log. Take the ends of the plastic wrap and swiftly rotate so the plastic is tightly wrapped. Cut the tip and insert into a piping bag. When you pipe your flowers, the colors will look multi dimensional without bleeding together. Mind. Blown. I know, we gotta get Dani to make a tutorial for you guys. Dani?
We made a time lapse video in perfect Chicky Treats style to show you how to assemble and decorate this beauty! If you've ever seen a naked cake, that's originally what we planned, but we were laughing so hard we forget to press record. So we sort of had to start over, which is why you'll notice the cake winds up darker than the first takes. Whatevs/nbd/lol/omg.
*Original recipe by Isa Moskowitz and modified by Alex Wolfe and Daniella Da Silva