This cake is the ULTIMATE cookie dough lovers dessert. This cookie dough cake has a sweet and buttery vanilla chocolate chip cake with globs of cookie dough baked into each layer. These 3 layers are stacked and smothered in cookie dough buttercream then doused in silky chocolate ganache. If you have a major sweet tooth, this cake is for you!
The Ultimate Cookie Dough Cake
This cake is not for the faint of heart. It’s rich, sweet, and comprised of a super rich and buttery cake AND globs of cookie dough.
But with that being said, it’s the perfect cake to bake for special occasions because it is an absolute show stopper. No one expects cookie dough AND cake to be in a single bite.
There are 4 major parts to this cake that help make it the BEST cookie dough cake:
Part 1: Cookie dough globs – Making the cookie dough is the first step in this recipe because it’s pressed into the cake layers and used as decoration on top of the cake, therefore it needs to chill before adding it to the cake.
Part 2: Chocolate chip vanilla cake – You might be thinking that’s A LOT of butter for a cake recipe, but this cake needs to be fairly dense and rich to hold up to the globs of cookie dough baked in. In the end you’re left with a super soft and rich vanilla cake baked with chocolate chips.
Part 3: Cookie dough buttercream – Oh yeah, the cookie dough doesn’t stop at the cake layers. This entire cake is smothered in a delicious cookie dough buttercream that tastes just as good as the real thing. Flour and brown sugar are added to the buttercream to give you that cookie dough flavor.
Part 4: Chocolate ganache – The entire cake comes together when you pour over that layer of chocolate ganache on top. I’m sharing a super simple recipe to ensure yours turns out perfect!
How to bake cookie dough into a layer cake
After learning how to bake cookie dough into a layer cake, the options are endless. You’ll start baking all kinds of treats into your cakes!
But for this recipe, it all starts with the cookie dough. This is an eggless recipe that’s comprised of the usual cookie dough ingredients:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Mini chocolate chips
All of these ingredients are mixed together to create a cookie dough that’s dense and easily moldable. It should not stick to your fingers.
It’s also important to use mini chocolate chips. They blend seamlessly into the dough and the cake to create the perfect texture. Using regular chocolate chips could lead to a clunky cake with too many large pockets of chocolate.
Using a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tbsp amount) scoop 15 balls onto a plate lined with wax paper. Gently press each ball into a small disk shape about 1/2 an inch thick and place them in the fridge.
These will be baked inside the cake so it’s important that they’re somewhat cold before pressing them into the batter. This will keep them nice and soft (but not too melty) as the cake bakes.
To bake them into the cake, first evenly distribute the cake batter between 3 8-inch round cake pans. Then, press 5 cookie dough “patties” into each cake pan. They should be evenly distributed all around the cake (see picture above). Then, carefully spread the cake batter on top until you can no longer see the cookie dough. Now they’re ready to bake!
Transfer the rest of the dough into the fridge to chill completely. Once the cake is baked and assembled, this cookie dough will act as the topping. By that point, it should be firm and easy to crumble on top.
How to make cookie dough buttercream
This recipe alone is worth baking the entire cake. My cookie dough buttercream tastes just like cookie dough, only in frosting form!
So how do you turn regular buttercream into cookie dough buttercream? It’s made up of all the typical buttercream ingredients: butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt.
But for the cookie dough version, I’ve added flour, brown sugar, and mini chocolate chips. The brown sugar turns the buttercream that classic light brown cookie dough color and the flour gives it that raw cookie dough taste.
Mix in some mini chocolate chips and your buttercream is now cookie dough-afied. Mini chocolate chips work best because it makes it MUCH easier to spread onto the cake. The smaller the pieces, the less work it takes to create that smooth buttercream layer.
Is it safe to eat?
To ensure your cake is completely safe to eat, you can choose to heat treat your flour. We’ve always been taught that eggs are the reason that raw cookie dough is unsafe to eat, but flour actually plays a role too.
I talk all about how to heat treat your flour in my edible brownie batter cookie dough recipe. I’ve eaten so much raw cookie dough in my time that I’m not too concerned about it and contamination is very rare, but it’s a small extra step that ensure this cake is totally safe to eat!
Why not include the chocolate chips in the cake layers?
The chocolate chips are only added after all the cake layers have been assembled.
The reason for not adding the chocolate chips in between each cake layer is so that the cake is easier to slice. I found that if I left the chocolate chips in between each layer, the knife would drag them down between each slice.
So adding them once you’re ready to cover the whole cake makes it much easier to slice into.
Assembling your cookie dough cake
What I love about this recipe is that the cake rises evenly. Typically before stacking a cake, you would need to level out the cake layers to ensure they all lay flat against each other. Not here! No need to waste any cake in the process.
Once your cakes are baked, it’s important that they’re completely cooled before stacking. To do so, remove them from the cake pans after about 20 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for at least an hour to chill. This gives you plenty of time to make the buttercream while you wait.
When they’re ready, spread a small bit of buttercream on an 8″ cake board and press one layer on top. This prevents the cake from slipping and sliding while you frost it.
Spread about 1/2 cup of the chocolate chip-less buttercream on top in an even layer. Allow the buttercream to spread a little past the edges then place another cake layer on top.
Repeat by spreading another 1/2 cup of buttercream and lay the final cake round on top. Pop the entire cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow the layers to set and firm up.
In the meantime, mix in the chocolate chips to the remaining buttercream.
Once chilled, take the cake out of the fridge and smear on the final layer of buttercream all around the outside of the cake. The chocolate chips may get stuck and drag along the sides, but that’s totally fine. The cake will still look beautiful!
Place the cake back in the fridge while you prep the ganache.
How to make the perfect chocolate drizzle for layer cakes
The chocolate drizzle that perfectly cascades down the sides can sometimes be tricky. It can either be too thick and go nowhere, too thin and slide off the cake, or separate and create a chocolate mess.
For this recipe, the addition of a touch of oil helps smooth out the ganache to create the perfect dripping consistency.
To make the ganache, add the chocolate to a bowl and set aside. My favorite chocolate to use is the Ghirardelli bittersweet baking squares. They easily melt without any lumps and have a rich dark color and flavor.
In a separate bowl, heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it starts to bubble (60-90 seconds).
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
At this point, the chocolate is probably too thick. It should run off your whisk in a smooth stream. If it’s not there, at 2-3 tsp of oil until you reach the right consistency.
Immediately pour it over the cake before it has time to thicken. Pour it into the center of the cake, then use an offset spatula to spread it out to the edges. It should gently drip down the sides.
Crumble the remaining cookie dough on top to finish off this beautiful (and scrumptious) cake.
How to store a layer cake
Once the entire cake is assembled, transfer the cake to the fridge until it’s ready to serve.
If you plan on serving it that day or the next day, it’s OK to store uncovered as long as it hasn’t been sliced into yet.
Otherwise, I recommend storing it in a cake container in the refrigerator. If you don’t have one on hand, you could cover the exposed sliced layers with plastic wrap to prevent the cake from drying out too quickly.
Or, if you’re done with the cake and just have leftovers, slice it up and store the slices in whatever container they can fit in.
It should keep in the fridge for up to 5 days before it starts to dry out.
Can I make the cake layers ahead of time?
Yes! Bake the cake layers and allow them to cool in their pans for about 20 minutes. Then turn them out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool at room temp for about an hour.
Once they’ve completely cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. With the remaining cookie dough, make sure to cover the bowl so it doesn’t dry out in the fridge.
Can I make the buttercream ahead of time?
Yep this too! Make the buttercream but leave out the chocolate chips. Then cover and transfer to the fridge for up to 3 days.
When you’re ready to assemble the cake, take the buttercream out of the fridge and let it sit at room temp for 1-2 hours. Then mix it up again using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. It should smooth out and go back to how it was when you first made it.
For more delicious cake recipes, check out my:
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make this Cookie Dough Cake. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print