12 Days of Cookies – The Great Sugar Cookie Debate

Sugar cookies are the classic holiday cookie. Everyone seems to have a great sugar cookie recipe. I personally only have the patience for sugar cookies at the holidays. Even though I have about 40 cookie cutters, they barely ever get used. Occasionally I’ll use them for things other than cookies (like cake or bars).

I think it’s because I don’t have a great sugar cookie recipe. Don’t get me wrong I love the recipe that came from my Aunt. The problem is that it poofs so sometimes the cookies lose their shape. They don’t have crisp edges like some sugar cookies. So I decided to test three sugar cookie recipes to come up with a favorite.

The first recipe will be my Aunt’s recipe that I grew up eating. I’ll use it as a baseline to compare the other recipes to. Second, I’ll be trying a Dorie Greenspan recipe. Funny thing is that both Cookie Carnival AND Tuesdays with Dorie are doing Dorie’s sugar cookies this month! The last recipe comes from Ashlee’s blog (and Katie uses this recipe too). Her cookies always look perfect.

I decided that we needed to come up with a way to use up all of these cookies. Our friends offered to host a cookie decorating party. I brought the naked cookies and all my decorating supplies and they provided snacks and beverages.

These are pictures of some of the cookies we brought home with us. It was a lot of fun to decorate cookies with a group of friends.

One cookie cutter that I have never really liked is the Santa cookie cutter. My mom had one growing up and the only way it looks like a Santa is if you decorate it properly. I don’t think I’ll use the cookie cutter anymore. We did have fun trying to decorate the shape into things other than Santa. Hubby made a convincing bird and another friend made a cute penguin mother and baby. Here’s a pic of my Santa and hubby’s bird.

I was trying to be organized while I was baking, so I went ahead and measured everything out at the beginning including labeling each measured ingredient with post it notes. It turned out to be very useful when I started mixing the dough.

So now on to the verdict. Is it possible that one of these new recipes is going to replace my go to sugar cookie recipe? The recipe I grew up loving turned out soft and a little puffy as expected. It’s also somewhat difficult to work with because you have to work quite a bit of flour into the dough prior to rolling it out. Dorie’s recipe held it’s shape well and the batch was small, which was refreshing. It was also very easy to roll out and work with. Ashlee’s recipe had a nice hint of lemon. I enjoyed the lemon when they weren’t frosted but I thought it was a big overpowering when they were frosted. These also help their shape quite well and again were easy to work with. So I would definitely make any of these recipes again. I guess it would depend what I was looking for.

For super soft roll out cookies – I’d make my aunt’s recipe.
For cookies that hold their shape really well – I’d make Ashlee’s recipe.
For a simpler sugar cookie that yields a smaller batch – I’d make Dorie’s recipe.

And now on to the recipes.

Sugar Cookies – from my Aunt Deanne – I got 5.5 dozen cookies
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cup lard
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
sour milk (1 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp. vinegar and 1 tsp. baking soda.)

In a large bowl, mix sugar with eggs. Add lard, baking powder,
vanilla, milk, and flour. Mix each ingredient one at a time to the
other. Roll out and use cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Watch closely, top does not brown only bottom.

Sugar Cookies – from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my Home to Yours – to see the entire recipe, check out the TWD member who chose it, Ulrike of Küchenlatein – I got 2.5 dozen cookies

As you can see the Dorie recipe made a very small amount of dough. This is nice though because sometimes making sugar cookies is overwhelming. Also, I didn’t rechill my dough between rolling it out. I just rerolled and went with it.

Sugar Cookies – from Katie, originally from Ashlee – I got 5.5 dozen cookies
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.

Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time. Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.

Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes. Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

Frosting
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 cup Crisco
6 cups powdered sugar
Water or Milk to reach desired consistency
Food coloring

Beat butter and Crisco until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar slowly. Add water/milk (I used whipping cream) until desired consistency is reached.

My 12 Days of Cookies:Day 1: Lumberjacks
Day 2: Peppermint Sandies

I’m submitting this to Food Bloggas Eat Christmas Cookies blogging event. Check this link to participate in the event. Or check here to see the roundup (gets updated as entries come in).

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34 Responses to “Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake”

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    oneordinaryday — April 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Raspberries are my very favorite food on the planet and this looks absolutely divine. Thanks for sharing this!

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    Carrie — April 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Its my husband birthday on Fri I might try to talk him into having this cake for it.

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    Cara — April 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    awesome work, Jen! It sounds delicious and looks gorgeous. I’m totally jealous of your border-piping skills too.

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    Ammie — April 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Beautiful cake! This is very similar to our wedding cake, I may just have to try it!

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    annies-eats.com — April 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    It looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I’ll have to try this one!

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    KB — April 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    This looks absolutely terrific! Great job on the assembly and decoration!

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    hannah! — April 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    really beautiful cake! and raspberries are one of my favorite fruits ever! i love the little sacs together with the crunchy seeds. hee.

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    Sherry G — April 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Holy beautiful! this cake is quite elegant and delicious looking! I love raspberries with cake.

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    roxan @ kitchen meditation — April 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Jen this cake is so so beautiful! It reminds me of the triple berry cake from Sweet Lady Jane here in LA. If an opportunity every arises for me to make a layer cake (I have the same problem – it’s hard to find people to help finish it!) I will definitely try this one.

    You did a beautiful job with the piping. Gorgeous.

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    Memória — April 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    We should be best friends hahaha. We have the same go-to white cake recipe, and we both made layered cakes this weekend! Your cake is BEAUTIFUL! You have every right to brag. You did an excellent job on the piping and decorating. It looks professional!

    I added lemon extract to my strawberry frosting on my strawberry cake (which came from Bridget’s recipe), and I could taste hints of lemon. I think the extract and some lemon zest would work well.

    I must make this cake!! I am 100% certain that I would like it because we have similar tastes.

    Now I need to look at your overdose cake to compare it to my overload cake.

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    living_insanity — April 26, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Lemon and raspberries sounds like a perfect flavor combo. Your cake looks beautiful!

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    KRISTINA CIPOLLA PHOTOGRAPHY — April 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    OH wow, I started drooling as soon as I saw the pic. SO pretty and looks delish! Will def. have to try this one… 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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    We Are Not Martha — April 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    This is so, so pretty! And obviously looks delicious too. Raspberries are one of my favorite parts of spring!

    Sues

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    Brisbane Baker — April 27, 2010 at 12:56 am

    I don’t think you’re bragging! I would be proud of a beautiful cake like this one.

    Looks delicous!

    http://www.brisbanebaker.blogspot.com

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    Josie — April 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    beautiful!! Great decorating job!

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    bcallegra — April 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    This cake looks awesome and my mouth is watering looking at the picture right now.

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    ashley — April 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    beautiful cake!

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    Katie — April 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    This cake is SO, SOOO beautiful! I love it!!!

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    Allie — May 3, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Looks beautiful, I love layer cakes!

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    vertigoxcured — May 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    you say something about videos from youtube? can you share the the links?

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    Jen — May 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    vertigoxcured – I updated the post with links to the youtube videos. Sorry about that.

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    Smithie7482 — May 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I made this for Mother’s Day and it was a huge hit! Thanks for sharing. I added the juice of the zested lemon and an extra cup of confectioners’ sugar to the buttercream and managed to get a nice lemony tang.

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    Karin — June 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I cant believe this is your first frosting coated cake. So beautifully done. And also note…that 4 layers with fruit filling without cake sliding all over the place is not a normal for first timers in that department. Kudos… you got the cake decorating skills Ma’am.

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    nod — March 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    am making this cake right now, and i must ask about the proportions of flour to liquid. it seems off. i made the recipe exactly as written and it was a pool of liquid. i had a similar recipe for a white cake which called for 2-3/4 flour and only 4 egg whites + 1 whole egg ( similar), so i added another 1/2 cup flour and it was still liquidy. it took 30 mins. to bake, not 23-25. will see how it turns out. the only good part is rubbing the grated lemon zest with the sugar, although i could not taste much lemon in the batter. by the looks of the layers, i would recommend 8″ pans as the layers are quite thin. all in all a big disappointment. glad i planned ahead and will make a different recipe.

    • beantownbaker — March 25th, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

      Sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work out for you. This batter was very thin going in to the oven.

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    rach — April 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Does this cake keep well? i just made three 6″ cakes, which I’ll freeze in preparation for making a little layer cake on Sunday (a top-tier wedding cake replacement for our one year anniversary, after Hurricane Sandy ruined the real one.) But I also made two dozen cupcakes with the batter. I’m planning to bring one dozen to a dinner party tomorrow and the next dozen to a party on Wednesday. Any tips for the cupcakes? Should I freeze them, or just leave them out til I’m ready to frost? Would appreciate any suggestions! Thanks.

    • beantownbaker — April 23rd, 2013 @ 7:48 am

      I haven’t made this cake into cupcakes before. But in general, cupcakes are fine for a couple days. If it’s more than 2-3 days, I’d go ahead and freeze them, then frost them the day before you want to serve them.

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    Zea — June 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Would it be advantageous to whip the egg whites first, and fold them into the batter at the end? It might help with the thin batter issue, and I have some recipes for white cake that call for whites whipped into soft peaks. I am making this cake for a baby shower this weekend, so I will let you know how this technique works, unless the author has an opinion against.

    • beantownbaker — June 10th, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

      I have made this cake, or a variation of the cake, multiple times as it is written without any issues. I know some cake recipes do have the cake whites whipped and folded in at the end. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.

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    どづでむ — July 10, 2013 at 7:28 am

    If you could email me with a few pointers on how you made your blog site look this cool, I would be thankful!

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    Darlene — September 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Going to endeavor to make this for my husband’s birthday next weekend. I haven’t made a cake in ages, but I like challenges!!! Hopefully it will go well as his parents are coming into town for his birthday (yikes!) I hope it has a nice lemon flavor because he loves lemon. Wish me luck!!!

    • beantownbaker — September 27th, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

      I hope he enjoys it. The cake definitely has a lemon flavor. If you wanted to go super lemony, you could use lemon curd instead of raspberry curd for the filling!

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    Carol — September 22, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Cake looks beautiful. However, each cake was an only an inch thick so was confused how to possibly cut it in half to make four layers. So after everything was cleaned up, I had to make a second round of this. The puree was tasty and plenty of it. The Frosting was delicious and plenty also. The cake itself tasted good with hint of lemon, but did not rise much at all and it had a very rubbery texture and very dense. I agree the batter was thin when I poured in pans, but it was not fluffy and light by any means after it was baked. I appreciated making it, but not a fav for me.

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    Lauren — September 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I know this is an old post, but I had to comment after making it for the first time yesterday. This is a lovely cake! The only downside, for me, was that the lemon flavor was lighter than I thought it would be. I ended up topping it with some toasted almonds and fresh raspberries, and serving it with homemade coconut ice cream.

    *Note: My layers came out quite thin. They were both only a little over an inch thick, and the batter itself was a slightly thick/fluffy consistency. That being said, I was able to torte them without difficulty and the finished cake came out to a little over 3 inches.

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