For as long as I can remember prior to having children, I dreamt about what kind of birthday cakes I would make when I finally had little ones of my own. When I was a kid, my birthday cake of choice wasn't exactly a cake, but rather a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, which is kind of more of cookie than cake (it's the size, I guess, that qualifies it as a cake). We used to buy them from Mrs. Field's decorated to the nines, our names written on top in creamy white icing.
Chloe's 5th birthday was a few weeks ago. Gulp. I can't believe my baby is already 5 years old. I get a little teary knowing that she's getting older, but I try my best to hold onto every single hug, giggle and precious moment. Over the years on Chloe's birthday I've made her Carrot Pineapple Cupcakes, Tres Leches Cake, and her favorite, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, but this year I made her one of my childhood favorites: a giant, heart-shaped Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake.
Somewhere between a cookie and a brownie, this cake is filled with gooey chocolate chips and a buttery moist crumb. It's truly off-the-charts good. We turned Chloe's birthday into an weekend-long affair, so I actually ended up baking two of these cakes for us to have on different days. The first one we cut into pizza wedges before serving everyone. The second cake had a somewhat less dignified (but far more fun) fate: all the kids grabbed at it ecstatcially, pulling away big chunks of cake before I could cut it up.
This cake should make everyone very happy, and it works extremely well if you have one of those kids who generally avoids cakes covered in tons of frosting (believe it or not they exist more than you might think). It's a really simple and special alternative to traditional cake for a birthday celebration, especially if you don't consider yourself much of a baker -- the recipe couldn't be easier. Just make the batter, pour it into your favorite tart mold or pie pan (like the heart one pictured here) and bake. You'll be left with a really impressive birthday creation that I guarantee won't be around long!