Westin’s Brooklyn Light Show Cake takes chocolate to a whole new level with dark chocolate cake layers, peanut butter cookie dough, chocolate covered graham crackers and chocolate fudge frosting.
Brooklyn Light Show Cake (aka Death by Chocolate Cake)
This cake. Oh, my friends – this cake!
It’s rich, decadent, and incredibly delicious. And we can all thank my 13-year-old son, Westin, for it!
For one of his class projects this year in 7th grade, he had to make up an ice cream business and develop five ice cream flavors (so fun, right?). The other day he was telling me about his flavors and when he started telling me about his Brooklyn Light Show flavor, I stopped him, grabbed a pen, and started writing it all down.
For his ice cream flavor, he did a dark chocolate ice cream base, peanut butter cookie dough chunks, chocolate covered graham cracker chunks and swirls of fudge. Hello, delicious!
I couldn’t even help myself.
It had to be turned into a cake.
To turn these flavors into a cake, I layered my go-to, best ever dark chocolate cake recipe, eggless peanut butter cookie dough, chocolate covered graham cracker clusters and a rich, dark fudge frosting. Of course, we’re calling it Westin’s Brooklyn Light Show Cake (aka Death by Chocolate Cake).
Milk Bar Style Cake
You’ll see that this cake is a naked cake, stacked like a Milk Bar cake. If you’re new here or new to Milk Bar, you’re in for a treat. Christina Tosi’s genius of stacking cakes inside acetate strips takes away all the stress of decorating.
This is something you’ve likely seen me do with my Tonight Show Cake and my Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cake. Sometimes you need all the layers inside the cake to speak for themselves! That’s definitely the cake with Westin’s Brooklyn Light Show Cake.
Special Tools Needed for This Cake
To stack this cake “Milk Bar” style (i.e. as a naked cake), you’ll be baking the chocolate cake in a quarter sheet pan (which is basically the size of a 9″ x 13″ pan), cutting out the cake layers with a cake ring, stacking it inside acetate strips, and chilling it before serving. I love using this method of stacking cakes when I’m not using a traditional buttercream to hold up and cover the layers.
How to Assemble a Naked Cake
Although these pictures are from my Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cake, the process will give you a good idea for how to stack the Brooklyn Light Show Cake with the chocolate cake, peanut butter cookie dough, chocolate-covered graham crackers and fudge frosting.
FAQ About Making Naked Cakes
Can I use something other than acetate strips?
This is a common question when making Milk Bar style cakes and the answer is YES. I have seen readers use silicone baking mats, plastic folders, and even vases. Get creative, if you need to, or even stack all the layers in a trifle bowl!
How do I store this cake if I make it ahead of time?
The best way to store this cake is to keep the acetate strips on the cake and freeze it. The night before you want to serve it, move it to the refrigerator, strips still on, and then about 3-4 hours before you’re ready to serve, remove the cake from the fridge and remove the acetate strips.
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Westin’s Brooklyn Light Show Cake (Death by Chocolate Cake)
Dark chocolate cake with peanut butter cookie dough, chocolate covered graham cracker clusters and chocolate fudge frosting.
For the Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (165 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (175 g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (54 g) dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
- 1/2 cup (120 g) buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (54.5 g) vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g) pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (118.3 g) hot water or coffee
For the Chocolate Covered Graham Cracker Clusters
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups (150 g) graham cracker crumbs (I buy the reground crumbs)
- 1/2 cup Malted Milk Powder THIS is what I used
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 6 ounces dark or semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
For the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (180 g) peanut butter
- 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (115 g) cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) milk
For the Fudge Buttercream
- 1 1/4 cups (169.5 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
- 3/4 cup (75 g) dark cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup (276 g) light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) vanilla extract
- 10 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 teaspoons (3 g) salt
- *** I used a lot of fudge frosting in my cake, but if you're worried about it being too much, you can cut the recipe in half.
For the Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for about 30 seconds.
- In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients and whisk for a few seconds.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Once all the wet ingredients are added, continue to mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t over beat this batter.
- Pour the batter into a quarter sheet baking pan. Bake the cake for 15-20 minutes.
For the Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, malted milk powder, brown sugar, and salt.
- Pour the melted butter into the bowl and toss to coat the crumbs until they are “wet.”
- Spread the crumbs over the parchment paper and bake for 7 minutes, at which point you’ll toss the crumbs with a fork, and bake again for another 7 minutes.
- When the crumbs are done baking, toss the mixture again and then allow the crumbs to cool completely.
- Combine the cooled graham cracker crumbs / clusters and the melted chocolate into a mixing bowl. Toss to coat the graham crackers.
- Pour the coated graham crackers over a sheet of parchment paper to set.
For the Cookie Dough
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
- Mix in the brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and salt and continue to mix until combined.
- Gradually add the milk and mix. The texture will be a lot like cookie dough and you'll likely have to use your hands to spread it out onto the cake when stacking.
For the Fudge Buttercream
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute. Stir until smooth and silky.
- In food processor, combine the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. Mix until smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl about half way through.
- Add corn syrup and vanilla and mix until just combined, about 20 to 30 seconds.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then add the melted chocolate. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.
- This frosting will get darker as it sets.
- Put a piece of parchment on the counter. Invert chocolate cake onto it and peel off the parchment from the bottom side of the cake. Use a 6-inch cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake, one on each corner area of the cake. You’ll then stamp two half circles from the remaining areas.
- Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. (This is essential, as it is going to support the cake as you layer all the amazing elements.)
- Place the two half circles inside the ring. Use extra scraps to fill in the center of the circle, using the back of your hand to push the cake crumbs into place.
- Take ⅓ of the peanut butter cookie dough and spread/shape over the chocolate cake, making sure to spread up against the acetate.
- Sprinkle ⅓ of the chocolate graham cracker cluster evenly over the cookie dough and use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
- Use the back of a spoon to spread about ½ cup of the fudge frosting evenly over the graham cracker cluster layer.
- With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake.
- Set a full chocolate cake round on top of the graham cracker crumbs and repeat these steps above (cake, peanut butter cookie dough, graham cracker clusters, fudge frosting, last cake layer, peanut butter cookie dough, graham cracker clusters, fudge frosting).
- Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours to set the cake and the fillings. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
- At least three hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer. Using your fingers and thumb, pop the cake out of the cake ring and gently peel off the acetate.