Cookie Cake

Southern Living Cookie Cake on a platter to serve with a couple of slices cut
PHOTO: CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Active Time:

25 mins

Total Time:

1 hr 50 mins

Servings:

12

Why make a batch of individual cookies when you can make one giant, sweet cookie cake? This homemade cookie cake is delicious and special enough to be the star of any dessert spread. It’s full to bursting with chocolate chips and topped with a simple chocolate buttercream for added pizzazz.

To streamline the transition from baking to plating, this cookie cake recipe is baked in a springform pan, which allows you to slide it onto a serving platter without any scary pan flipping required. This sweet treat is sure to wow any cookie-loving crowd.

Ingredients for Homemade Cookie Cake

The list of ingredients for a cookie cake doesn’t differ much from a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, so if you’re a well-stocked baker, you may have everything you need right now. Get the full list and measurements below.

For the cookie cake:

  • Unsalted butter: You’ll cream this with the two sugars as the base of the cookie dough. We like creaming softened butter versus using melted butter for a much lighter, chewy texture.
  • Light brown sugar: This adds a hint of caramel to the cookie’s final flavor.
  • Granulated sugar: For sweetness, along with the light brown sugar.
  • Egg: You’ll need just one.
  • Vanilla extract: Helps to enhance all the flavors.
  • All-purpose flour: We prefer it for the chewy texture. Other flours are too dense.
  • Baking soda: This gives lift to the cookie so it’s light.
  • Kosher salt: We prefer kosher salt over table salt so you get little bits of salt and not an overall salty flavor.
  • Semisweet chocolate chips: You can use any chocolate chip type you prefer. We like semisweet for its not-too-sweet cocoa flavor.
  • Sprinkles: Any sprinkles you like will do. Even chopped chocolate candies.

For the buttercream frosting:

  • Unsalted butter: This is the base of the frosting.
  • Powdered sugar: This type of sugar blends better and provides good body to the frosting so it stands beautifully once piped.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder: To make this rich and chocolaty.
  • Heavy whipping cream: This thins the frosting just enough to make it easy to pipe.
  • Kosher salt: To enhance all the sweet flavors.
  • Vanilla extract: To elevate the frosting’s overall flavor.
Southern Living Cookie Cake ingredients
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Equipment You’ll Also Need

Before you bake this cookie cake, make sure you also have these pieces of equipment:

  • 9-inch springform pan: Some homemade cookie cake recipes call for round cookie pans. They work fine, but you’ll have to flip the cookie cake twice, which introduces too many chances for a broken cookie. The springform pan separates so the cookie is easy to slide right onto a serving platter.
  • Piping tip: We used a star piping tip for this, but you can use any of your favorite tips or piping equipment.
  • Piping bag: You can use a professional piping bag if you have one. There’s also a way to “cheat” with a DIY piping bag.

How To Make a Cookie Cake

Full instructions for this cookie cake recipe are below, but here’s a brief recap.

  • Step 1. Prepare the pan: Grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. If you want, you can also line the bottom of the pan with a parchment paper round.
  • Step 2. Cream butter and sugars: In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter, then add the brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract; mix.
  • Step 3. Add dry ingredients: To the butter mixture, add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat until well combined, but don’t overmix or the cookie could be tough.
  • Step 4. Add chocolate chips: Quickly mix the chocolate chips into the cookie dough for even distribution.
  • Step 5. Press dough into pan: Roll the dough (it will be very thick) into the prepared pan. Press the dough into the pan, making it as level as possible.
  • Step 6. Bake: Bake the cookie cake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Then cool the cookie cake in the pan for 1 hour.
  • Step 7. Make frosting: In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Then, add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
  • Step 8. Decorate the cookie cake: Use the frosting and your favorite piping tips to decorate the cookie cake. Don’t forget the sprinkles!

How To Store Cookie Cake

Cookie cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. The buttercream will harden slightly, not melt, as long as it’s stored in a cool, dry spot in the kitchen.

If you need the cookie cake to last longer, wrap it well with plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge. The cake will harden faster, but it will still last up to 5 days.

Southern Living Cookie Cake sliced on plates to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Can You Make A Cookie Cake In Advance?

You can make cookie cake in advance. It can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature without issue, so you can make it and keep it in an air-tight container until needed. For best results, frost it just before serving.

You can also freeze an undecorated cookie cake up to 3 months. Once the cookie cake has cooled entirely, wrap it in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Store in the freezer, labeled with the food’s name and storage date.

Defrost in the fridge overnight. Add frosting and sprinkles just before serving.

How To Decorate a Cookie Cake

Decorating a cookie cake is where the fun is! You can do a simple border of frosting like we did (with sprinkles, of course), or let the kids get involved: Give each one their own bag of frosting, and let them decorate as they wish.

Other decorating options include: chocolate candies, marshmallow, nuts, sugar flowers, sugar pearls, and more.

Cooking Tips for the Best Cookie Cake

Making a cookie cake isn’t terribly complicated. If you’ve made cookies before, you’ll be right at home baking a cookie cake. Still, there are a few helpful tips to know:

  • Make the cookie dough as even as possible: This will help the cookie cake bake evenly so it’s done equally throughout and there are no underdone spots.
  • Don’t overbake: Keep an eye on the cookie cake, and pull it when the edges are golden brown and the center gives just a bit when pressed but isn’t still wet.
  • Use greased hands: To make spreading the cookie dough easier, spritz your hands with cooking spray, and use them to gently press the dough into the pan. This will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.

Cookie Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Cookie Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (from 1 [12 oz.] pkg.)
  • Rainbow sprinkles, for decorating

Chocolate Frosting

  • 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Prepare oven and pan:Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-in. springform pan with cooking spray.Southern Living Cookie Cake pan sprayed with cooking sprayCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  2. Prepare Cookie Cake dough:In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy.Southern Living Cookie Cake beating the butter in a mixerCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXAdd sugars and beat until smooth.Southern Living Cookie Cake beating in the sugarsCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXAdd egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.Southern Living Cookie Cake adding the egg and vanillaCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  3. Add dry ingredients:Turn mixer to low and slowly add flour, baking soda and salt, sprinkling evenly.Southern Living Cookie Cake adding the flourCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXBeat until a dough forms.Southern Living Cookie Cake after the flour has been addedCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  4. Add chocolate chips:Add chocolate chips and mix until evenly combined.Southern Living Cookie Cake adding the chocolate chipsCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXThe dough will be very thick.Southern Living Cookie Cake after adding the chocolate chipsCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  5. Press dough into pan:Press cookie dough into prepared pan.Southern Living Cookie Cake pressing the dough into the panCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  6. Bake the Cookie Cake:Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cookie cake is lightly browned on top and slightly darker brown at the edges. If you touch the surface, it should give slightly but not feel wet.Southern Living Cookie Cake after bakingCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXCool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour.
  7. While the Cake is cooling, make the chocolate frosting:In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed 1 minute, or until smooth.Southern Living Cookie Cake beating the butter for the frostingCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXAdd powdered sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract.Southern Living Cookie Cake adding the other ingredientsCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXBeat on low speed 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat until smooth and just beginning to lighten in color, about 1 minute.Southern Living Cookie Cake icing mixed in mixing bowlCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX
  8. Decorate Cookie Cake:Remove the collar from the pan and, using a thin metal spatula, slide the cookie cake onto a serving platter.Southern Living Cookie Cake on platter to serve before decoratingCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXUsing a large open star tip, such as a Wilton or Ateco 1M, pipe a star border around the edge of the cookie cake.Southern Living Cookie Cake with the chocolate frosting piped on the borderCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COXSprinkle frosting with sprinkles and serve.Southern Living Cookie Cake whole on a plate to serveCAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is cookie cake a cookie?Yes, a cookie cake is a giant cookie. But the ingredients are a bit different so that the cookie cake is chewy and buttery, not crispy. That’s why you can’t substitute any cookie dough recipe for this one and expect the cookie cake to be perfect.
  • Can I make this cookie cake into a layered cookie cake?Yes, this cookie cake recipe doubles easily—cake and frosting. Just make double the batch on both, and bake the cookies separately. Spread half the frosting between the two cooled cookie layers, then use the remaining frosting to pipe and decorate on top.
  • How do you write on a cookie cake?You can thin the frosting recipe down with a bit more whipping cream (no more than a teaspoon or two) so it can be piped from a thin piping tip. Practice some on a paper towel before you attempt to pipe on the cookie cake itself.
  • Can I use canned frosting?Yes, you can use canned frosting—or any of your favorite buttercream frostings. But making homemade frosting is so easy, you’ll not want to bother with the canned stuff.