Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them in three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of them as picture recipes.
Cookie cakes are a great way to celebrate without having to spend hours making a cake and icing. They are easy, fun and delicious. All you need is store-bought cookie dough and a few ingredients.
First, start with the classic version: Using the entire package of store-bought cookie dough, press it into a roughly 10 to 12 inch-diameter circle on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake according to package directions. It may take slightly longer than package time, depending on your oven.
Get four new ideas to add new life to the classic:
By Ron Ben-Israel
I once made a few cakes for dessert — some coffee cakes. The recipe that I tried was not accurate; it said butter the pan, but should have said butter then flour the pan. Half the cake came out and half of it didn’t, and it had a big crack on the side.
So if a cake flops, what can you do to save it? If the cake is supposed to be frosted, then don’t worry about it. Just cover it with frosting. It will still be delicious. If it’s like a coffee cake, which doesn’t get frosted, preslice and serve it plated with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and berries.
Always remember this rule of thumb
Living at sea level, I’ve never given much thought to recipe adjustments needed when baking at higher elevations. A dear friend of mine (a seasoned pastry chef), Tweeted that she was nervous about baking in the clouds — it was a cry for help. I was happy to chime in and give her thin-air solutions.
First things first: Boiling water temperature is not universal. At sea level, water boils at 212 degrees F. At 10,000 feet above sea level, it drops to 195 degrees F. Go figure.
If we understand why cakes fall during cooling, fixing the problem becomes easy.
Follow me: the higher up you go, air pressure decreases, which causes leavening agents in baked goods to react too quickly. Liquids also tend to evaporate at a quicker rate. This causes cakes to fall and be dry.
Find out how to make the perfect high-altitude cake
Twice a month, we’re giving readers a chance to ask Food Network Kitchens’ advice about an issue they’re having with a dish. They can’t reformulate a recipe for you, but they’re happy to help improve it.
Question: “How can I get my fresh blueberries to distribute evenly in my cake better so when they bake, they all don’t sink or rise, leaving nothing in the middle?” — Suzanne Sinatra Perucci via Facebook
Answer: Try tossing your berries with a tablespoon or two of flour before adding them to the batter. Just remember to account for that when you mix up your dry ingredients, subtracting that same tablespoon or two from the amount called for in the recipe. The light coating of flour around the berries will absorb some of the fruit’s liquid, making them less likely to sink. This is especially helpful when the batter is thin; thicker batters are a little better at cradling the fruit and keeping it suspended. You can try this with any of your add-ins — peach chunks, strawberries, chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts — when the batter is thin. Even if it ends up not being necessary, it certainly won’t hurt the recipe.
More From Fix My Dish
This question tends to pop up at least once during our weekly “Ask the Editor” Facebook chats: Do cakes with cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated? With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a great time to explore and answer this question. From Paula’s Pumpkin Bars to Giada’s Spiced Apple-Walnut Cake With Cream Cheese Icing to the classic Red Velvet Cake, it’s hard to escape cream cheese frosting’s creamy goodness.
So does it need refrigeration?
Food Network Kitchens answer the question »
- Jason from Last Cake Standing spent hours in the Food Network Kitchens working on a special royal project.
Last week, three of the talented pastry wizards from Last Cake Standing — Jason, Jörg and Richard — were up in Food Network Kitchens working on a special project. It wasn’t totally top secret, so we’ll spill the beans: They’d been asked by Rachael Ray to come up with over-the-top cakes inspired by the upcoming Royal Wedding.
Each cake artist took a different direction; beyond the Royal Wedding theme, they had free rein to follow their own inspirations. Tomorrow, the guys will present the final creations on the Rachael Ray Show and Rachael will declare a winner. We hear the Royal Couple is planning to serve traditional English fruitcake at the reception, but if Will and Kate happen to catch Rachael’s show and see these beauties, I’m thinking they might reconsider.
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- Competitor Andrea Gaskins's Apple Crisp Bread Pudding
After four weeks of savory showdowns, bakers finally took the spotlight on Ultimate Recipe Showdown last Sunday. The Cakes and Desserts competition was a sweet tooth’s fantasy: Layer cakes, cupcakes, crisps and cobblers, brownies (topped with cookie dough!) and more.
Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford, our in-house URS judge, is back this week to share some tips for baking perfection. And for those days when there’s barely enough time to preheat the oven, she gives her favorite quick and simple dessert ideas.
FN Dish: This round can be tough timing-wise, since most of the cakes have to bake and then cool down enough to be frosted. Any tips for speeding up this process when you’re in a time crunch and need to get the frosted cake to a party?
Katherine Alford: Cakes really do need time to ripen. Not just for icing, but also for flavor. Smaller is better obviously, like a cupcake—they cool down quicker. But always cool a cake on a rack out of the pan, and cool the layers separately. Pop it in the fridge first to cool it down and then move it to the freezer.
FN Dish: Cupcakes are huge right now. Can you make any cake recipe into cupcakes, or are there some that don’t work as well? What should you keep in mind when using a cake recipe to make cupcakes?
KA: Simple cakes often work as cupcakes, but not always. I think chocolate works better. Don’t over-fill the molds and bake for less time. Sarah Copeland, one of our recipe developers and a cupcake expert, suggests, too, that dense cakes (like carrot cake) make better cupcakes. The airy sponge cakes just get flat and tend to leak over the sides. Thick cake batters (dense cakes) hold their shape better and sometimes even dome a touch in muffin tins.
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Subbing for Bruce, Sunny Anderson gets the behind-the-scenes dish from the “Cakes” episode of Ultimate Recipe Showdown.