I'd been seeing "sugar cookie cakes" around the foodie blogosphere lately - they're essentially sugar cookies but made as bar cookies topped with frosting or as "cakes". I like sugar cookies but find them a pain to roll out, cut, ice, decorate, etc. So the idea of a sugar cookie cake where you simply spread the batter in the pan, bake, cool and frost was appealing. I was on another "gotta use up buttermilk before it expires" recipe quest so I made up this recipe adaped from several different ones I'd seen, including one for buttermilk sugar cookies from one of my cake books. My first attempt didn't quite turn out as I had envisioned. For my original results, I had too much cookie dough for the 9 x 13 pan I used so the sugar cookie cake came out thick. Which normally wouldn't be a problem but it called for baking them long enough for the middle to bake which means the ends came out a little dry. So it's better to make them a bit thinner with less batter and underbake (very slightly) rather than fully bake them.
The recipe below is my second attempt. I made less batter and baked in a smaller pan. It had a lighter texture than my first attempt and was much more moist. Actually it was more cake than cookie but that's okay. Instead of a sugar cookie cake, I could've accidentally just invented a good vanilla cake too, lol.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons of milk or just enough to get the consistency you want
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few drops of red food coloring (enough to make a Valentine pink)
- Line a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla and vanilla bean paste.
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk
- Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out just barely clean. Cool completely and spread with icing.
- For the icing: Beat butter until creamy and no lumps remain. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time and beat until light and fluffy, adding milk as needed for desired consistency. Add vanilla extract and red food coloring until you have the desired color. Beat until evenly colored. Spread over cooled cake.