Sunday 25 August 2013

Giant Cookie - Nigella's Buttermilk Birthday Cake

This month's Random Recipes asked us "if you had ten seconds to grab one book, what would it be?". That's cookery books of course - the idea being if you were leaving your house in a hurry and could only take one recipe book with you, which would it be?

I knew right away - even though I have over 100 cookery books, one in particular stands out: Nigella's How To Be a Domestic Goddess. Not because it's my favourite or even the one that I use most, but because it was one of the first cookery books that I owned. I was given it as a birthday present by my friends, who all clubbed together (£20 was a lot of money to a student back then!) and presented it to me on what I think was my 20th birthday. It's a huge book with a lot of recipes, and I like the idea that they are all themed around being a 'domestic goddess' - so mainly cakes but with biscuits and savoury pies and the like. My favourite chapter is called 'the chocolate cake hall of fame'. I think that while I was swamped in academia I rather liked the idea of being a domestic goddess at the same time- even though my entire cooking facilities consisted of a double hot plate (provided by the university) and a mini oven (provided by my grandmother who used to have it in her camper van- so I was the only one in my building with an oven!). So I guess the other reason this cookery book would be the one I grabbed in a hurry is because of the memories that are attached to it.

So in accordance with the Random Recipes challenge, I opened the book at random and decided I would make whatever was on that page: it was the buttermilk birthday cake on page 210.

I can't find the recipe on Nigella's official website but there is a version of it - with small differences - on the Guardian website here. 

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and the sugar together.

Mix in the eggs, then the flour, bicarb of soda and salt (the recipe I used didn't include the lemon).

Finally fold in the buttermilk and vanilla

In the book, Nigella talks about using different moulds like Barbie or a train - this is after all meant to be a children's birthday cake. I had a giant cookie mould I'd bought ages ago and never used, and thought this would be a good opportunity.

There are two silicon moulds of equal size, with a flower pattern and 'cookie' word in the middle. The moulds are very strong and robust and worked really well.

Spoon the mixture equally into the two tins and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (the exact time will depend on the size and depth of the mould you are using).

You can see the pattern on the baked cake, though it is a little hard to read the word 'cookie'.

I mixed icing sugar with butter and some melted white chocolate to make a delicious buttercream, and used it to fill the cake.

It does look like a giant custard cream!

I'm sending this to Random Recipes, hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen.


  1. Oh my friggin gawd I love that giant cookie cake!! I too love this book and feel very attached to it like you. It's a great all rounder isn't it. Living this challenge this month to find out a little more about you all. A brilliant entry for random recipes. Thank you x

  2. This looks incredible - the white chocolate filling sounds so good! I love the Domestic Goddess book, it always helps lift me out of a baking rut.

  3. Hi Caroline, today I'm collecting recipes using vanilla and/or saffron. Please drop me a line on if you are ok with me linking to your post on Carole's Chatter. Cheers

  4. So fabulous! Great idea to use the cookie cake it!

  5. Love your giant cookie tin! and I love adding buttermilk to anything, sounds yum!


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