4-Tier Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake collaboration with Daniella from Chicky Treats

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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.  

My first wedding cake for Sarah and Zach.

My first wedding cake for 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
  • Mix
  • 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.  

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INGREDIENTS (FROSTING):

  • 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

DIRECTIONS (FROSTING):

  • 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.

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*Original recipe by Isa Moskowitz and modified by Alex Wolfe and Daniella Da Silva

Le Madeleine

©Alex Wolfe Photography

©Alex Wolfe Photography

This is not a political post.

Happy New Year, thank GOD it's 2018.  Amiright?  I think a lot of us could agree that the world has been holding her collective breath since that orange narcissistic turd muffin was elected into the highest official position of the not so United States of America.  (Sorry muffins, you really don't deserve to be compared to he who shall remain nameless). 

  • I mean, there was the tax bill (Oy).
  • Budget cuts to the E.P.A because, ya know, why is everyone so obsessed with science?  Quoth the ass-hat "In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!" (OY TO THE VEY.  Palm to forehead).
  • The repeal of net-neutrality.  (OYYYYY FUCKKKK ING VEYYYY).
  • Harvey Weinstein and the rest of 'em. (Jeeeesus).

I have to stop, because I'm starting to grind my teeth. 2017 was rough.  The kind of rough that makes you want to gorge a bunch of cake and eat a million cookies and never EVER stop.  And you can do that with this simple madeleine recipe:

It's sweet and nutty

Cakey with a crisp outer shell

Small like a cookie, so you can have a hundred

Delicious with a hot beverage, they melt on your tongue.

But first, let's talk about all the things that happened in 2017 that were SUPER, because now I'm depressed:

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and here we are a year and a bit later, living and loving together.

Fun fact: Jason was the final and gentle push I needed toward the math and science behind turning my granola into something sell-able.  I am grateful.

  • I met that guy up there ON ELECTION NIGHT (Talk about having all the feelings).
  • Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in a stunning Alabama senate race.
  • A veteran Virginia state legislator who proclaimed himself the state's "chief homophobe" lost his bid for re-election in November — to a transgender woman. He'd sponsored a bathroom bill restricting access by transgender people to public restrooms.  More importantly, HER name is Danica Roem and she is FABULOUS.
  • Jessica and Derek Simmons saved nine people, including a couple of children, caught in a rip tide.  They  acted quickly and got 80 other people on the beach to form a human chain that could reach swimmers who were nearly drowning and brought them safely to shore.
  • Scientists made progress to treat Leukemia through immunotherapies and gene-altering methods, when at one time this type of cancer was an almost definite death sentence.  Today the survival rate for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia is more than 85%.
  • And one of my favorite memories of 2017 was the first (of many) peaceful protests across the U.S:  "The Women's March was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers rights.  Most of the rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration as President of the United States, largely due to statements that he had made and positions that he had taken which were regarded by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. History."

.

.

.

And I was THERE.  It was absolutely amazing.  

Below are pictures that show the highlights of my day that day.  The picture of my dad, my sister and her best friend from high school is particularly meaningful to me, because in a lot of ways these peopled raised me, were my mentors.  Missing from the picture and from that day was my mom, Linda.  She couldn't be there because she was on day 28 at the hospital supporting my uncle while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong.  He had a lot of problems, the details of which are unimportant.  But I got to talk to them both that night and tell them how incredible it was and how much we missed having them (her, my mama, she my heroine and I her 'cookie') there with us.  He died not too long after.  Cause of death was an antibiotic resistant infection and, in his families opinion, loneliness.  I was so proud to know my mom stayed by her brothers side so he could go from this place feeling loved and like someone had his back.  I think that's something people really want to feel:

t h a t  s o m e o n e  r e a l l y  h a s  t h e i r  b a c k, no matter what. 

And so I got to march for her, and with her behind me.  Several months later I moved in with Jason, which meant I finally had the pleasure of dealing with my  ^%*#$@! storage unit.  In it, I found this old silver thingamabobber.  I almost tossed it, but it looked vintage and I'm a whore for used treasures.  I asked my mom about it and she reminded me it was Blanche's, my grandma. 

My sweet

sing-songy

always smiling

tough as nails

red-haired (did she really have red-hair?  In my memories...she has fiery red hair)

delicious grandma.

"Well what the shit is it?" I asked.  "For dusting powdered sugar on cookies," said mama.  AWWEEESSSOOOMMMMEEEE GRAMMA GEM!  Most of my memories of her are from when she was older and sick with Alzheimers.  But when I shake that duster I can smell and feel her vivacious younger self.  Blanche, and Linda, and Debbie and Ari, and Kate, and Hanne and Chloe and Jenny and Frances, and Eryn and the four Sara/h's (you know who you are), and Alissa, and Kali and Aimie and I know there are more:  you helped shape me into the woman I am today and I am so damn lucky to have known you and been loved by you. The reason for writing this post now,  is because we're on the heels of the next big march coming up Saturday, January 20th, 2018.  Grab your sister or your friend or your mom and GO.  You will not be sorry.  It's quite the empowering scene.

 

Now you can take your grandma's old sugar duster and lightly powder them to make 'em all purdy.  

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*Ok, it was definitely a political post.