January 11, 2017

Cookies and Cream Layer Cake {My Birthday Weekend}

I'm 26! I'm Twenty-six years old, and so far it feels better than twenty-five did! It's crazy to believe that I'm now on the climb to thirty, or would it be better phrased as falling down an inevitable steep downward slope? I vaguely remember back in the day teasing my 9-years-older-than-me-brother about how he was turning 30 and calling him SO OLD and such. And now, I'm officially on my way to that same "old". (Well, in four years at least!)

Now, onto my birthday weekend. But first, let's rewind a bit here. Three years ago Jarryd and I were invited to a lunch/watch football/play games day at our friend's Jon and Michele's house, where our friend Cameron met Jon and Michele's niece (A.K.A his FUTURE WIFE) for the first time on sort of a "blind dinner party date". We were all having so much fun that we ended up staying not just for lunch but DINNER TOO. (That's how you know it's good!) The two singleton's hit it off and three years later they're happily married! And not only did they hit it off, but the six of us as a "couples" group did too! So, the following year we decided to keep up the tradition and do it again! And now, for the third year in a row we had the same plans set--Sunday lunch immediately following church, games and football in the afternoon, and pizza for dinner. And this time I brought a cake with me!! 😃

Originally the cake was just supposed to be a simple dessert I was bringing, but when it slipped that my birthday was coming up and that Cameron just celebrated his birthday a few days before, we turned it into a birthday cake for the both of us! So yes, technically I baked my own birthday cake, but that's OK because I had so much fun baking it (and eating it).
Plus, I had gotten that "Layered Cookbook: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes" for Christmas and I was just DYING for any excuse to bake a cake, and our dinner party was the perfect occasion for a tall layer cake!

So yeah, Saturday was a little crazy because I was baking this cake I'd never baked before, Jarryd was concocting a Chicken Parmesan Bake for lunch, and I had a 25 lb turkey that had been thawing for 5 days in the refrigerator ready to be roasted that day. (Jarryd and I BOTH received turkeys from our workplaces at Thanksgiving so our freezer was desperately running out of room and one of the turkeys NEEDED to be cooked.) All three of those things are simple to cook/bake, but what made it stressful is that they were happening all at once. So with all of that going on I'm pretty sure our oven was on for 10 hours straight...and I went to bed Saturday night completely exhausted!
Isn't it beautiful though? Butter, white wine, and a large-diced mirepoix is all it takes--well, that and ALOT of time. And to be honest, roasting and carving a turkey definitely isn't one of my favourite things to do. Oh well, at least we got a ton of soup meat and lunch meat out of it!

So, as for the cake I wanted to go with a safe flavour that EVERYONE would like, so I chose the "Cookies and Cream Cake" recipe (and I'm SO glad I did)! Honestly, who doesn't like Oreo?!
The cake is made up of 3, 6" layers of simple yet delicious chocolate cake, with white chocolate cream cheese frosting between the layers and smothered all around it. I've never made such a glorious cream cheese frosting before in my life--it's honestly incredible! (Anything with melted white chocolate has got to be good, right!?)
And VOILA! There it is, my 3 layer Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cake with a White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Oreo Buttercream ruffles.
The "finished" cake on Saturday didn't have the ruffles of oreo buttercream on top, it was just a smooth top. I went to bed that night thinking that the cake was missing something--like it wasn't complete and of course it was bothering me to no end! So Sunday morning before church I whipped up a quick batch of AMAZING Oreo buttercream frosting (no recipe just straight head knowledge--which I'm proud of myself for because cooking/baking something without a recipe is something I never imagined I could do one day, haha!) and piped it onto the cake. The ruffles are also nice to have on the cake because it helps you slice even portions!
The shards of Oreo cookie all around the cake weren't inspired from any cake I'd ever seen before; the design idea just came to me, and I love how it turned out!
I have alot of fun with taking photos of my baking, it's one of my favourite steps out of the whole process! I'm usually drawn to light, white, and bright backgrounds but the black background here is a nice contrast to the cake. It makes the off-white cream cheese frosting look whiter than it really is.
You always need a birds-eye-view photo!
Here Michele is lighting mine and Cameron's birthday cake.
I was thrilled when she mentioned she had candles to put on the cake!!
This is the BIG moment, the moment when a cake is sliced into for the very first time. My cream cheese frosting was a little soft when I was building the cake and stacking the layers so I was super nervous that by the time I got to the third layer I had squished all the frosting out to the sides!
PHEW! YAY! Crisis averted, there are LAYERS! (And check out Jon, taking photos of the slice haha!)
How about Michele's cake stand? It's so so so pretty! If I could start a cake stand collection, I totally would.
Jon and Michele, (whilst playing our traditional game of Scattergories--where we actually went through all 12 rounds too!), they're such a huge blessing in our lives!! We love them and their hospitality so much!
Unfortunately the layers aren't perfect--and looking at these photos, the bottom layer of frosting is really starting to annoy me. (Hello, perfectionist over here!)
But what matters here is that the cake tasted insanely good and that I learned alot in the process!

After our wonderful dinner party, on Monday (the actual day of my birthday) Jarryd and I worked our normal daily grind, and then we took off for NEW JERSEY! We had a 2 hour drive ahead of us with our audiobook playing and McDonalds' brown paper bags in our laps. (YES I love McDonalds--especially on my birthday!) 😍
His boss blessed us with tickets to see the NJ Devils play the Florida Panthers! The drive was over 2 hours there and 2 hours back, (which is crazy for a work-night), but there was no way we could say "no" to FREE NHL tickets...
...which were THREE rows from the ice. Oh my word I've never sat so close at a NHL game before and now I feel so spoiled that I never want to have nosebleed seats ever again! I started picturing my life as a wealthy NHL season-ticket holder: I'd be just casually sitting in the front row once or twice every week, even daring to leave early if the game's a doozy, not even caring enough to get my "moneys worth" out of it. Sigh...maybe one day. 😜
AND they even sold TIM HORTONS coffee there which was such a sweet surprise for my little Canadian heart. The game wasn't really that suspenseful unfortunately, but just the experience of it all was so worth the drive. And the fact that you could see the skyscrapers of New York City all lit up on the drive home made it even more amazing. (Sigh, I'm hopelessly in love with that gorgeous city).

It was tough getting to bed after midnight that night and having to wake up less than 5 hours later, but I'd sacrifice a few hours of sleep for a wonderful date night with Jarryd, doing what we love to do.

Twenty-Six, you're being way too good to me so far. I'm so thankful for an amazing weekend of good food, lots of cake, friends, family, and a hubs who loves me. Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes! You sure know how to make a girl feel special. 💖


  1. Beautiful cake!!!! I'm not one for chocolate cake but I'd definitely give that one a try!!

  2. You are the sweetest! So glad we could share in your birthday weekend and have a front row seat to admire and sample your amazing cake!!!