The certainty of uncertainty

(Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake)

If there’s one thing you can be certain of in life, is that the uncertain will always happen.

Shuna has written more eloquently about change before. I on the other hand, have at times attempted to fumble through some sort of explanation. An explanation about my long absence from blogging. About how a friend can possibly tell from my tweets alone, that I have been feeling sad and deflated. About why I’m leaving, despite writing to every possible friend and family member in my address book only a year ago, to tell them about the dream job I had just landed.

I considered fumbling, but finally decided not to. I had an epiphany not too long ago. Not quite the kind that involves dropping everything and moving to a far corner of the Earth to help save endangered wild life, but still something along similar lines of acquiring personal happiness and satisfaction.

When I look up past chapters of my working life, I know there will be many people to miss. Even the guy who delivers our bottled water, who is extremely friendly despite looking like he could tear your head off with one finger. Yep, I’ll miss him too.

So anyway. Can we talk cake?

Admittedly, when I first made this cake, I was a little sceptical, and therein lies the genius of this recipe. It is a ridiculously simple concept that is so clever at the same time, it makes you wish you’d thought of it first. Basically, it’s a thicker version of a chocolate chip cookie, underbaked so that it retains cake-y characteristics. It is incredibly delicious eaten at any time of the day and lasts forever, if there is such a thing as ‘forever’, when it comes to cake.

The cake comes with a ganache that you drizzle over the top, but I have omitted it because I like the cake just as it is. This recipe is in US cup measures. Buy the book if you’re keen to make more New Orleans-style sweets.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake :
(from Dam Good Sweet by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel)

1 stick (113g) butter
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (58%-62% cacao)
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 175’C.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream the butter, light brown sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 15 seconds. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and combine on low speed until just a few dry streaks remain. Add the chocolate chips and mix for a few seconds until combined.

Scrape the batter into a greased and lined 10-inch round cake tin. Press the batter into a smooth and even layer in the pan. Bake until lightly golden and puffy around the edges (the center should still feel quite soft), 18 – 22 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then run a paring knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Cool for at least 4 hours before turning the cake out of the pan and onto a large plate.

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  1. Blue Penguin said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

    I do hope the change works out well for you… can be very hard when blogging to know how to tackle it with explaining – sometimes it feels like you’re going around inside out, I find.
    You seem to be reading my mind lately with the recipes you’re doing… I’ve spent a while today hunting for a chocolate chip thing that wasn’t the regular cookies – and here it is! Will be giving this a try very soon, I think… thanks for more tasty motivation :)

  2. penny aka jeroxie said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

    I think I am in love! What a brilliant idea. Give me some ice cream with that too!

  3. Belle@OohLook said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    Oh, it’s sad that you are leaving your dream job (though I’m glad I was able to experience your handiwork while you were there). I hope the future brings good things for you, including lots of cakeage.

  4. Karen said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

    Personally I’m sad that you’re leaving your dream job and I’m kicking myself for missing out on experiencing your genius. But I sincerely hope for nothing but great (and happier) things for the future.

  5. Betty @ The Hungry Girl said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

    I love this idea! I too am sad that I missed out on your delicious creations, but I wish you all the luck with everything that comes your way :)

  6. lili - pikelet&pie said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

    It isn’t your dream job if you aren’t happy. Leaving despite it once being your dream job is very brave. Congratulations on having such guts and good luck for whatever comes next.

  7. morgana said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    😮 😮 😮 😮 😮

    I love this kind of baking goods. Mising concepts. It’s like evolution theory, you can think: Oh my, why didn’t I think about it first? It seems obvious but it isn’t.

    I have a problem: english is not my language and I find a little difficult to express myself properly but I just wanted to tell you: go ahead. Every experience in our lives is nothing but a lesson to learn and happiness is always avilable along the way. Now you know something you don’t want in your life and that’s a way to reach the things you DO want for you so I’m sure you will get what you want and you will get the perfect job and the perfect happiness. I’m also on the way so I must think everything is possible and we will get it sooner or later.

    Cheers from Spain.

  8. Angie's Recipes said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    Cookie cake…mmm…yummy. I would go with ganache atop though.

  9. faithy said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

    Looks good..first time i’ve heard of a cookie cake but interesting for me to try. I’ll bookmark this page.

    I hope the change in your work makes you happier. :) I believe that if you are not happy where you are, it probably means time to move on. After working so many years, i find that everywhere is more or less the same..there’s no perfect place/work/boss…you lose some and you gain some..just need to find that balance. Take care!

  10. Rosa said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

    Original! That cake must be so scrumptious!



  11. the caked crusader said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    Best of luck.

    Love the cake – it looks divine

  12. Moya said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

    Dreams can change and you will never regret having accepted the challenge to see your first dreams out – now you can move on to something that will be even more satisfying! Best wishes.

  13. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    Wishing you nothing but the very best with your future undertakings!

  14. shirley@kokken69 said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

    Someone once told me nobody can make you happy – not even your loved ones – you have to decide what you need to do to make yourself happy. So there goes, I am sure you’ve made the right decision. With cakes like these – how can you stay deflated for long?

  15. bake in paris said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

    I have recently read a proverb in the temple, saying something like nothing lasts, joy nor sadness. Everything will pass. Therefore when one is down and low, he or she should think that will pass, just equally the same when he or she is happy.

    And I think that is really true…. Hope you figure out what is best for you…

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  16. chocolatesuze said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

    dude cookies and cake? together? with chocolate? awesome! all the best with your new job change- if it makes you happy then that’s all that matters 😀

  17. LeeYong said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

    Good luck to you in your endeavors… sometimes at the moment we think change isn’t positive – but strange enough change can be a good thing. I do wish you the best because I love your blog!

    Keep baking!

  18. Cherine said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

    This cake looks so good!

  19. mademoiselle délicieuse said,

    May 31, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

    Oversized cooookieeee! Best of luck for the future no matter what you decide on. I left behind over 7 years of my chosen profession and am now doing something different yet still haven’t found my ‘dream’. Perhaps it is something which changes during different life stages but make sure you have fun discovering and finding yours =)

  20. foodwink said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 1:17 am

    The world is your oyster. I’m disappointed that I have not had a chance to visit Sepia any earlier to try out your desserts. But you know what, I will try making this cookie cake. Hope you keep up blogging no matter what is your future undertakings.

  21. pastrystudio said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 2:14 am

    I once decided to leave a dream pastry job and it was an excruciating moment. But we must trust our instincts and go with them. You are making room for something else that is wonderful out there that is calling you. I send you my very best wishes for new beginnings.

    This cookie cake looks fabulous! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  22. Caitlin said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 7:34 am

    I do hope that the career reset button helps perk up your spirits Y – sometimes it’s just necessary! And I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll have the chance to meet up later this year… Hugs, luck, and cookie cakes for all :)

  23. Asha@FSK said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 8:47 am

    Sorry to hear the dream job didn’t help :( Hope the change you plan will bring loads of sunshine into your life! HUGS!

  24. tara said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 9:12 am

    I think your choice is brave and inspiring. To be active in your happiness is something we should all aspire to do more often.

  25. dolcidolce said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 9:40 am

    Wow. I have just ended a hiatus from my computer during which time I had to focus on encouraging some neccessary changes. It was hard for me to admit that I LOVE what I do, but not how I do it.
    Congratulations on embracing the unknown possibilities ahead of you – so exciting!! And thanks for the choc chip cookie cake recipe – I’m off to bake :)

  26. vanillasugar said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    nothing like choco chip cookie in cake form.
    i wish you the very best of luck in your next great challenges….you’ll do well.

  27. erin said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    It sucks when you finally achieve your dream and it doesn’t live up to your expectations. But chocolate chip cookie cake is total comfort food, so you have that . . . for when you need it.

  28. narelle said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    I will be trying this for a birthday cake this weekend – perfect! BUT, what was the ganache, can you please share the details?

  29. shez said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

    I hope the break does wonderful things for your countenance – and from what I’ve seen, you’re already back in the kitchen playing with food and eating whoopie pies, so that can only be a good thing. Right? x

  30. Thip said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

    Change can be scary, on the other hand, it can bring excitement. Cheers!

  31. Anh said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

    Just read the post, Y.
    Change can be a good thing. No, it is a good thing once our mind is set, right? I’ve recently made some important decision in my life as well. It’s for that personal journey that I cherish more than anything. All the very best, Y!

  32. YW said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

    Just want to say all the best to whatever you decide to do next!! The world is so big, I’m sure you’ll find the place where you feel absolutely comfortable, contented and happy :) You’re already ahead of a lot of people by starting to look for it now.

  33. FFichiban said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    I could and would so pick up the whole cake and eat it like a cookie! I am very sad you are leaving but your happiness is more important than my desserts…. maybe 😛 hee hee jkjk All the best to you but please keep blogging ^^!

  34. Julia @ Mélanger said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

    It is interesting what path our lives take. I’m a firm believer of the whole “when one door closes” philosophy. And whether you close the door, or it’s closed for you, there is something else there waiting. Thing is, if you’ve got the urge to close the door, then you’re open to finding that something new. That’s a great thing. The unknown can by scary but also so exhilarating. Let me tell you! ! ! 😉

    You are very talented. Your cooking, your baking, your photography, your writing. And no doubt a slew of other hidden talents. You have so much to offer. But as long as you get something back, for all the fantastic stuff you give out.

  35. grace said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    ah, what a terrific concept, and your final result looks nothing less than perfect. i do hope these upcoming changes work out for you, y!

  36. Emma @CakeMistress said,

    June 1, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

    Sending sunshine, puppies and cookies your way, although this cookie-cake is pretty awesome in itself!

    There’s power in being honest enough with yourself to recognise unhappiness that’s no longer ok to live with, and power in being brave enough to begin making changes. Wishing you all the best.

  37. Maria said,

    June 2, 2010 @ 5:31 am

    My kind of cake. Love it!

  38. Cakelaw said,

    June 2, 2010 @ 10:30 am

    I can empathise with the change issue – I do quite a lot of it myself. I have given up on the dream job and just hope to get the best out of whatever I am doing in the moment. Good luck with your next move – hope it goes well.

    This cookie cake looks fab – chocolate chips can bring a smile to my face any day.

  39. Arfi said,

    June 2, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    wow, lovely piece of cake! impressive!

  40. Tara said,

    June 2, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

    Mmm, that cake looks like my kind of cookie! I just posted a choc-chip cookie recipe that it deliberately more cakey than chewy, although chewy cookies seem to be all the rage right now. Maybe I should turn mine into cake . . .

    Good luck with wherever your future is taking you. I’ve switched lanes in life several times already, always chasing happiness, and have discovered that even when you don’t find all-encompassing happiness, the change is so refreshing that it always seems like the right decision in the end. Here’s to uncertainty!

  41. Simon @ the heart of food said,

    June 2, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

    Though I hope a certain degree of happiness can be born from this uncertain phase of your life, one thing I can say with certainty is that my thoughts are with you and I wish that you are able to obtain that happy place once more.

    I’m also certain that this cake is fantastic, as simple as it may be :)

  42. Y said,

    June 2, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

    For narelle, and anyone else wishing to gild their cookie cake with ganache, the recipe is as follows :

    3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup heavy cream

    Bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat and pour it over the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 3 minutes, then whisk it from the center of the bowl out to the edges until smooth. Re-cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight. Decorate the cake with the ganache in whichever way you want – eg. pipe streaks across the top of the cake.

  43. Trissa said,

    June 2, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

    Hi Y! Such a bittersweet post – uhmm not just the chocolate chips but also what you’ve written! I have moved jobs a few times in the past – it’s always hard to leave especially when you can get into a routine and you are so comfortable – but your happiness is ultimately what should drive you. If you weren’t happy or if you think you could be happier doing something else or being somewhere else then go for it!

  44. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    June 3, 2010 @ 2:05 am

    Unfortunately you’re right that there’s no forever with cake. What we need is a magic pudding. Good luck with the next adventure!

  45. Lucy said,

    June 3, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    Just wondering, how do you convert American cup measurements? And is the recipe included above for that delectable cake in American or Australian measurements?

    Best of luck with new newfound path … I always think it’s a valid question to ask (as someone famous once did, I forget who) ‘What will you do with your one wild and precious life?’ It seems like you’re doing well to answer it.

  46. Narelle said,

    June 3, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    Thank you for the ganache details, it is appreciated! I’m keen to make this :)

  47. cathy x. said,

    June 3, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

    well… it seems like all the D&M comments have already been said so i’ll skip the waterworks. hopefully you won’t be on holidays for tooooooo long before you find your next big thing. i’ve only been doing absolutely nothing since sunday and i feel fatter already 😛 as much as i loathe myself to say this, a small part of me wants to go back to work. good luck with the toys dinner, although i’m pretty sure you won’t need any luck! and yes.. i found out from reading somebody’s blog! i’m so hurt that you didn’t tell me! SO HURT!
    ps. i made ‘my version’ (ahahaha) of the ottolenghi baked pumpkin with herby parmesan crust on page 72 today and you know what my dad said? he said that it’s too elaborate! arghhhhhh! i give up!

  48. anna said,

    June 4, 2010 @ 3:39 am

    Giant cookies remind me of my birthday parties in elementary school, when my mom would bake a while batch of dough into one giant cookie to slice for the class. Happy memories :)

    I hope whatever you’ve left for makes you ten times happier. Taking risks is always worth it for the experience alone!

  49. Lori said,

    June 4, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

    I’m happy for you! Life is too short to waste time doing something that’s not right. I do hope your new venture can utilise your undeniable talent in photography and styling and look forward to seeing what’s the next chapter in your journey.

  50. cakebrain said,

    June 5, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

    I await patiently to hear about your new path in life. In the meantime I shall contemplate my schedule so I can try making this too at home.

  51. Sophie said,

    June 6, 2010 @ 3:35 am

    Hello y!

    Chocolate chip cookie cake,..what a great & neat idea!!
    The dessert looks wonderful & seems easy to make! I will make a gluten free variaty of it!!


  52. Forager said,

    June 6, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

    Something that appeals to everyone’s inner kid. Yummo!

    And good luck with your new venture. Life’s too short to be miserable over work. Think of all the holidays you could be going on instead!

  53. Y said,

    June 7, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

    Hi Lucy, the recipe is in American cup measures. Generally when using such recipes, I use an online converter to convert the cups into something else I would normally use eg. weights. Or another way I approach it is, if everything is in cups, then I use Australian measuring cups, knowing at least that the ratios between ingredients will still be the same (if that makes sense?).

  54. Zita said,

    June 7, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

    Aah… if life would be certain, it would be boring, wouldn’t it? but at least one certain thing we will always have… this “cake talk”, you, me and the rest of foodie camaredes 😉

  55. shaz said,

    June 7, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

    Good luck on wherever you’re heading to next Y. It’s exciting to see what great things lie ahead, but personally I’m a bit sad that I’d missed out on sampling your amazing desserts (was waiting for a birthday as an excuse to visit). At least there’s cake !

  56. Hannah said,

    June 8, 2010 @ 11:04 pm

    Now this looks familiar! Must be something in the air that has us both craving gigantic cookies… 😉 Looks wonderful, nice even distribution of chips and everything.

    I’m excited to see what new adventure you embark on next. :)

  57. steph (whisk/spoon) said,

    June 11, 2010 @ 4:32 am

    oh– a ginormous cookie! i’m not sure what changes you have in store, but i hope they bring you the happiness & satisfaction you are looking for. xoxo

  58. Aparna said,

    June 11, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

    Nothing in the world stays the same, and must change. So I guess you would have changed as has your dream and its time to move on to better things.
    Don’t look back with regret but with joy and as a learning experience on which to build upon in the future. Sounds preachy, but that’s how I look at my life. :)
    All the best with your future.

    And for the cake! Its lovely, have bookmarked it and will make it soon.

  59. Vanille said,

    June 11, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

    Y, I really wish you to find the way that will bring you happiness and fulfillment.
    And thanks for this delicious cookie-cake !

  60. cyn said,

    June 14, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    wow Y, i’ve been thinking of all these biscuit-cakes lately and i can imagine this will only make my cookie monster of a brother all too happy. simply lovely! :)

  61. Jamie said,

    June 16, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

    Ah yes, we are at that point too, thinking about an abrupt and wild change – maybe even going off to live in some sunny deserted corner of the world to help endangered species. Yes.

    And this cake looks much like the big pan chocolate chip blondies I often make and simply love. Scrumptious and heart-warming.

    Hugs to you, Y, and hope the change is all for the best.

  62. betty said,

    June 17, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    this looks great i might try it out tonight :O)

  63. Lucie from Bilingual Butter said,

    June 18, 2010 @ 12:30 am

    Forever would be about 2 minutes in my case…I would eat this cake right up! I just discovered your blog and really enjoy it!!

  64. Linda V said,

    June 19, 2010 @ 9:03 am

    I hope everything works out well for you. I adore chocolate chip cookie cakes, this one looks like it is cooked perfectly with just the right amount of choc chips. Wonderful.

  65. Michelle said,

    June 25, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

    I’ve never seen Zen philosophy and chocolate chips together in the same arena, but I’m loving it. You’re wonderful.

  66. L. said,

    August 17, 2010 @ 7:46 am

    I’m already salivating! How can you let this cool for 4 hours? At my house, we love warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies and eat them all up before they cool. This would be delicious!

  67. joudie's Mood Food said,

    October 6, 2010 @ 8:21 am


  68. Tyent said,

    March 11, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    Love choc chip cookies, they are like a comfort food because I remember how much we use to enjoy them when we were young.

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