Friday, July 2, 2010

Marble Mint-Milano Cake . . .

Confession time: Within me lurks a baking snob. Yes, it's true. The snob doesn't surface all that frequently but occasionally, when she does, I find it expedient to discourage her from voicing her icy opinion. What provokes her to make an appearance? The presence of prefabricated, industrially produced food often does it. And the effect is magnified for the snob when she's faced with prefab foods that have been used as an integral ingredient in otherwise homemade baked goods. 

You know what I mean. Besides obvious items like cake mixes and canned frosting, there's the cake that relies heavily on Milky Way bars for its existence and notoriety. Or the cake that shamelessly makes use of 7-Up in its batter. Then, of course, there's the thorny problem of all that scary dye that puts the red into red velvet cake. (Where does that red stuff come from anyway?)

Is the snob ever justified in her view? I suppose so. I mean, it's a free country, right? But what makes her think she's any different, or better, than the rest of us? What's the snob's problem? Is she a just a high-brow faker, or does she simply have lofty baking standards? Hmm . . . that's one to ponder.

In any case, it's clear that the stiff-neck often doesn't have a leg to stand on. And this is one of those instances. Why? Because this recipe takes its very essence from a package of store-bought cookies. Cookies that I freely admit I love. 

That's right. I have a soft spot for Pepperidge Farm mint milanos. There are actually very few mass-produced cookies that I find even remotely tempting, but these fragile mint and chocolate-filled treats have the power to stir me. Not only delicate themselves, they're also delicately packaged. Smooth and tender-crisp, they seem to begin melting just as you first bite into them. And the mint tastes natural, not overdone. So, as you can imagine, I had to completely overrule the snob when I saw this recipe. 

I silenced her.

About this recipe . . . 

Coming to us from the glossy, glorious pages of Lora Brody's book, Chocolate American Style, this cake showcases milano (mint or otherwise, you choose your favorite variety) cookies perfectly. 

The only aspect of the recipe that I changed involved upping the amount of sour cream slightly, and rewording the instructions. Other than that, I was faithful to the original. This, by the way, is an exceptionally worthwhile book for any baker who's also a chocolate lover. It's dreamy.


Marble Mint-Milano Cake

One 7.5 oz. package of Pepperidge Farm mint-milano cookies (or the flavor of your choice)
9 oz. unsalted butter, very soft (divided use: 6 Tbsp., and 12 Tbsp.)
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 and 3/4 cups All-Purpose flour (I used unbleached)
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 cup and 2 Tbsp. good quality sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan; cover the bottom with a parchment paper circle, and butter the parchment. 

Over a medium bowl, break up the cookies into pieces about 1/2" in size. Using your hands, quickly mix the 6 Tbsp. of soft butter into the cookie pieces, just enough to coat them. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over simmering water, or carefully and slowly in your microwave. Keep the melted chocolate slightly warm; don't let it cool and harden.

Put the sugar and 12 Tbsp. of butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. 

Add in the eggs one at a time and  beating well after each. Still on medium-high, beat in the sour cream and the vanilla extract. 

On low speed, add in the flour mixture and mix just to combine. Don't over beat.

Pour 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out with your spatula. 

Into the remaining batter, pour the melted chocolate and stir until no white batter is visible. 

Dollop the chocolate batter here and there onto the top of the batter already in the pan. Using a couple of knives, make a few criss-cross motions to marble it into the bottom layer of batter. 

Sprinkle the broken cookie pieces evenly over the top of the chocolate batter, and gently press them in slightly. 

Bake the cake until the top is golden, and the cake springs back in the center when lightly pressed. In my oven this cake took barely 45 minutes, but Lora Brody's recipe recommends 60 minutes. Just keep checking on it, and if it appears to be browning too quickly, lightly cover the top with foil. Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in its pan on a rack before removing the sides of the pan. Cool the rest of the way on a rack. 


(If you'd like to comment on this post, or to read any existing comments, please click on the purple COMMENTS below!)


Chef Dennis Littley said...

that is one beautiful cake!! I can only imagine how good it tastes, and I wish I could have a piece right now!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous cake! We LOVE Milano cookies. This is a recipe I will have to try. Thank for sharing.

Jane said...

Hi Chef Dennis,
I'll pack up a nice big slice for you right now and send it!
Thanks so much,
Jane :)

Hello Kitchen in the Rockies,
I'll bet there are lots of Milano fans like us out there. Maybe we should form a club! ;)

Hanaâ said...

Yum. Chocolate cake, vanilla cake AND cookies. I just put in an online request at my library for this book :o) Beautiful pictures, Jane!

Aaron John said...

Milano cookies are my fav!! Now mixed into a cake? YUM!!!!

Kathy - Panini Happy said...

Those cake slices look positively amazing. I'm glad you chose to silence the inner snob on this occasion (I definitely have one too) - we can always make an exception for Milanos. :-)

Cherine said...

Beautiful photos and wonderful recipe!

cocoa and coconut said...

Hi just found your blog....and oh my it is great! Haha, this cake looks really delicious - I can see it being sold in a café :)

Chele said...

Now you have me wishing that we got these cookies in the UK ;0(
Fantastic looking cake and it sounds so yummy too!

Kate at Serendipity said...

This looks absolutely delicious. While you're packing it up, could you put me on the list??? Pretty please?

Thanks for posting this. It makes me wish I could find Milano cookies in Belgium...

Unknown said...

This looks soo good. I'm usually a baking snob too, but I want to make this cake!! ANything I could replace for the Milanos?

Stella said...

Hey Jane, I love milano cookies too, though I must admit my snobby side does not approve of them.
Nonetheless, they are delicious & your cake looks awesome. It is also a free country indeed, and I like your snob within. Truth is, the snob is sometimes the realistic side. You know, the ugly truth (smile) being admitted to's much better than denial!

faithy said...

I love Pepperidge Farm milanos too! Gosh..i will have to try this recipe too! Your photos are awesome as usual! I'll bookmark this recipe! And now you make me want to buy this book too! lol!

Unknown said...

Wow, that looks and sounds amazing. I could eat a whole bag of mint milanos myself ( oh wait, I have eaten a whole bag myself!) Definitely giving this a try- thanks!

Poires au Chocolat said...

Oooh that looks gorgeous! I know what you mean about having a baking snob inside, especially over artificial ingredients.

I've never had milano cookies before, I'm obviously missing out! I think they might have been a DB challenge before I was a member - maybe the recipe there would be good if you want to try making them at home?

Katrina said...

This looks SO good. I must make it now.

Unknown said...

Pity we don't have Milano Cookies in Australia this cake looks amazing!

Sanura said...

I love how the post starts off with the snobbery against pre-made ingredients in homemade goods. The cake recipe is beautiful. Like you, I'm trying to find a natural alternative to the red dye in red velvet cake, too.

Juliana said...

Wow, this is so interesting...the way that you made this cake, it sure looks gorgeous and tasty...yummie!

Eline said...

that cake looks divine and there is nothing wrong with being snobbish when it comes to food. Cake mixes and prepackaged food are wrong! they shouldn't be called food!

Unknown said...

I already posted this into “comments” before I saw you had a direct contact link.

I love reading your blog. I check it out all the time hoping for new posts!

I hope you don’t mind --- I’ve been telling all my friends about your blog.

I printed 100 free business cards with my 10 favorite websites (yours was #1!!) and handed them out at our last Mommy Meet-up.

It made me wonder if you had ever done that for yourself? Do you ever meet anyone at a coffeeshop or a playground and start talking about blogging? Maybe you could print up some cards to hand out. Just an idea!

In return for inspiring me, I wanted to pass on these money saving tips to you:
-- 100 Free business cards at

In case you decide to get something else printed from them (besides the FREE business cards!) I also wanted to tell you about their unlimited use promo code - it never expires and you can use it again and again:
-- 10% off promo code “RTPS10”

FYI: I’ve used this company to print fliers and signs for Church events and even yard sales. The quality is really good compared to what I’ve gotten from VistaPrint and others that offer FREE business cards.

I hope you have a great week. I’ll be checking back soon. Bye!

scrambledhenfruit said...

I don't buy many packaged cookies, but mint milanos are the exception. I've never been able to replicate them, I'm afraid, but I don't think I would if I could. It would be too dangerous. This cake showcases them deliciously, and looks like prime comfort food. Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Great looking damn shame we don't have these biscuits in Australia. But Sanura asked about natural red dye for a Red Velvet Cake and I actually use Beetroot Powder when making mine you can't taste it at all and imparts the most luxurious colour.

Anonymous said...

Made this cake from your blog site. Lots of work and well worth the effort. Have been asked multiple times to make the cake again. Tried it the first time with regular milanos and going to make it again with the mint. Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Magnificent site. Plenty of useful info here. I'm sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you in your effort!
OE Aftermarket Power Seat Control Unit

Betsy said...

Yum! We had a bag of stale (... like, over a year old, cough) Milanos, and the cake did indeed successfully disguise the staleness. (Oh, and we used yogurt instead of sour cream and half margarine/half butter.) Gorgeous and delicious!