I remember the first birthday post I wrote on this here blog of mine. It was in 2008 (and has since been deleted because it basically read like a teen diary entry).
The blog and this business were young and fresh and so was I 😀. I was just embarking on this health business adventure – I was single, living and working in my 600 square foot loft and felt like I had all the energy in the world to work my tail off and care about every last thing, including what everyone thought of me.
A decade later, and here we are, still together after all this time. My business exploded beyond anything I could have imagined. I got married, bought a house, had a baby and spend every waking moment working towards keeping all of it strong, well, thriving, joyful, and fun. And you know? I am doing pretty well.
Most days, as I crawl into bed at night, I am absolutely exhausted from tip to tail, but in that fewf, what a full to the brim day, and my husband and I remind each other that it’s long days, short years. The last ten years have flown by at lightning speed, as have the last 39. More lines around my eyes? Sure. More unicorn glitter (aka grey) in my hair? You bet. Fewer f**ks to give? None left and am I ever grateful for that.
Much of what I spent so much energy worrying about, just isn’t relevant. I take care of my health, absolutely. I am mindful of my food and lifestyle choices, but I have ditched the hang up on the details. The itty bitty details are not what give us the lasting impact of health and happiness. I have learned to look at the big picture – the factors that really affect my health, my relationships and my business. I consider the life I want to live every day when making decisions or taking actions. Are they moving me toward a happier today and tomorrow, or is it minutiae keeping me distracted from some nagging worry or anxiety?
This brings me now to this incredibly ugly, delicious, gluten and dairy-free cookies and cream cake.
It is not anything a legit food blogger would dare to post. I don’t have fancy process shots and my food photography has not improved even with a fancier camera. My idea of a great time, the reason this blog and business ever began, is because recipe creation is my ultimate creative outlet. Having to take pictures of what I cook is the work.
I wanted to make a Cookies and Cream Layer Cake for my birthday week post. I had this vision and knew I had to make it. It turned out so much more delicious than I expected, and so much uglier, too. As I mentioned earlier, without any f**ks to give, and no food stylist or food stylist on speed dial, you get my hacked together food styling and a brilliant recipe that will make the best dessert for the people you love.
I don’t give a flying flatoon how ugly this cake is, and I hope you don’t either. It is the best dessert I’ve ever had, and I’m going to eat as much as my heart desires and I hope you will do the same.
Dive in. Yours will likely be ugly too. Give in to the ugly! Have fun with the process. Divert from the recipe if you like and see what happens. Make it ugly. Make it delicious. Have fun. Play. Create. Instagram your results. Or don’t! It doesn’t matter. With this cake and with your life – do what you want! Forget how it looks from the outside. Forget about appearances and just make it real. The deliciousness is all on the inside, where it matters most.
Want to see something hilarious? Look up #cakedecorating on Instagram so you can feel truly superior. You’ll find visually exquisite cakes filled with chemicals and dyes that are so gorgeous and completely inedible. I will happily stare at a beautiful inedible cake, but I will more happily do so while forking mouthfuls of my ugly delicious cake into my face while sipping on a cup of tea and pondering whether I’ll leave my dishes for tomorrow and take a bath instead. The bath should always win.
That, my friends, is what I learned from my ugly cake.
Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake Baking Details
Step 1. The Cookie Bit
I started by baking up the two giant chocolate cookies that would form the cookie layers for the ugly cake.
I baked them in a springform pan and then removed them so they could cool without getting soggy. Kind of tempting to take a giant bite. Given how ugly the cake turned out, I reckon you could do this without a springform, just divide your dough and roll it out to a somewhat even thickness.
Step 2. The Cream Layers
For the cream layers, I used my go-to cashew and coconut oil filling, sweetening with maple syrup and flavouring ever so slightly with bergamot essential oil for a slightly orange/cream/vanilla taste. It worked perfectly.
Step 3: Assembly
- Using the springform pan, I put one cookie in and layered on the cream.
- If you care enough about the stability of the creamy part, you can chill this in the freezer for 30 minutes so that the second cookie will sit on top of the cream and smush it less.
- Then I added the second cookie and layered on the second half of the cream.
- And finally placed the whole thing into the freezer and hoped that by some miracle it would come out looking better than when it went in.
Step 4: Chocolate Remedy
When I opened the freezer, it was still ugly so I decided to melt 100oz of bakers chocolate mixed with 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and drizzle it all over. I pictured it making beautiful drips that would help hide the ugly. It didn’t really work, but more chocolate is never a bad thing! So more chocolate, still ugly. I put it back in the fridge for the chocolate to set.
Step 5: Cover It In Berries and Call It Beautiful
This step basically speaks for itself. This is where I went and watched a bunch of cake decorating videos on Instagram and concluded that I shouldn’t even try. Pile of berries? That I could do.
Voila! We have the most delicious Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Layer Cake ever.
And a happy birthday to me!
Here is the full recipe so you can make it too.Print
Recipe Notes To Make This Less Ugly
I could have made this recipe over again and made it way prettier, but why? See notes above about super deliciousness. But since you haven’t made it yet and might want something a little prettier, you could try the following:
- Use a smaller springform or pie dish. I’m thinking an 8-inch springform pan and creating 3 layers of cookie/cream might be nice.
- Use same size springform pan but double the recipe so that you get four layers and a taller cake all around.
- Double just the cream layer to make it a higher cake.
- Add some natural food dye to the cream to make it a little prettier than the naturally occurring off-white.
- Be a fancy cake decorator.