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
Cookie Dough Cake
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 three layer 8-inch cake
Globs of cookie dough baked into layers of sweet vanilla cake, all smothered in cookie dough buttercream and coated in silky chocolate ganache.
- 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (130g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour *SEE NOTES
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (180g) mini chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups (330g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups (400g) all-purpose flour **SEE NOTES
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (125g) 2% Greek yogurt (sour cream also works)
- 1 cup (180g) mini chocolate chips
Cookie Dough Buttercream
- 1 1/2 cups (330g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 5 cups (550g) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour **SEE NOTES
- 3/4 cup (140g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (90g) mini chocolate chips
- 4oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4oz (1/2 cup) heavy cream
- 2–3 tsp vegetable oil
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars using the paddle attachment.
- Add in the milk and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Mix in the flour and salt and then fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop (15) 1 1/2-tbsp sized balls and flatten slightly. I used this small cookie scoop to because it dispenses the perfect amount. Set the cookie dough “patties” on a plate lined with wax paper and place those and the leftover dough in the fridge.
Cookie Dough Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare (3) 8 inch round cake pans. Coat them with non-stick spray and cut out 3 rounds of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each pan.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a measuring glass, pour in the milk and mix in the vanilla. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar using the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Don’t cut this step short! Make sure the butter and sugar are light and fluffy, otherwise the cake will turn out too dense.
- Turn the speed down to medium and mix in one egg at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Mix in the yogurt.
- Using the flour and milk mixtures, alternate between the two by starting and ending with the flour mixture. This will be three additions of the flour mix and two of the milk.
- Lastly, fold in the mini chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter between the cake pans and spread it even.
- By now your cookie dough should be chilled enough to handle. Push down 5 cookie dough “patties” in each cake pan. Spread the batter over top the cookie dough so that you can no longer see any dough.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. You may need to rotate the cakes halfway through to ensure they bake evenly.
- Let the them cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the inside of the pans and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Peal the paper off the bottoms.
- To ensure there is no breakage while frosting the cake, transfer them to the fridge to chill for at least an hour before assembling the cake.
Cookie Dough Buttercream
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
- Gradually mix in the powdered sugar and flour 2 cups at a time. Pour in the milk between each addition.
- Lastly, mix in the salt and vanilla. DON’T mix in the chocolate chips yet.
- Spread an even layer of buttercream between each cake layer. Each layer uses one large heaping scoop using a standard sized rubber spatula.
- Once the cake layers are stacked, pop the naked cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This helps the layers set so the cake doesn’t slide everywhere when you frost the outside.
- Now mix in the 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips to what’s left of the buttercream. After the 20 minutes, apply an even layer of the cookie dough buttercream to the outside of the cake.
- Place the cake back in the fridge while you prep the ganache.
- Measure out the chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
- In a glass measuring cup, pour in the heavy cream and heat in the microwave for 1 minute or until it starts to bubble.
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. To thin it out for the cake drip, add 2-3 tsp of oil. To test and see if it’s the right consistency, lift your whisk out of the ganache and watch how it drips back into the bowl. It it runs back into the bowl in a smooth stream, it’s ready to go. If it’s still too thick, add another tsp of oil.
- Immediately pour the ganache in the center of the cake and use a small offset spatula to push the ganache towards the sides, allowing it to drip down.
- Using the remaining cookie dough that’s left in the fridge, crumble pieces all over the top of the cake.
- Now it’s ready to serve!
- *As a quick (and optional) extra step, you can heat treat the flour to ensure it’s 100% safe to eat. Although contamination is very rare, read all about heat treating flour and how to do so in my recipe for Edible Brownie Batter Cookie Dough.
- **Make sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off, don’t shake it down or pack it in otherwise the cake/buttercream will turn out too dense/thick.
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: cake recipes, cookie dough cake, chocolate drip cake
Amanda Rippon says
I made this for my son’s 16th birthday. It was a huge hit! I added a floating bowl of the cookie dough tipping out onto the cake to make it 16th birthday worthy.!
Thank you for the recipe. I will definitely be making it again!
Delicious recipe! Was wondering if this cake freezes or not?
Yep it should be OK to freeze! As long as it’s well wrapped.
Would it be okay to add sprinkles to the batter too and make it like a funfetti cake? Would any adjustments need to be made?
I’m in the midst of making this…DAIRY FREE! Cake layers look and feel great. I also cut the recipe in half to make a baby cake!
Hi there. This looks delicious. Wondering if I can make cake layers ahead of time and then freeze them until I’m ready to do butercream and decorate? Thank you.
Yes you can absolutely do that!
Wow holy crap this is the best cake ever! It really is a perfect blend of cookies and a cake. It’s dense, but in a great way! I really just wanted to make this for my boyfriend and I, so we really didn’t need a big cake for us two. I decided to cut the recipe in half and use Momofuku’s Milk Bar way of building small 6” three layer cakes using a cake ring and acetate. Easy to google if you’re interested in learning her method and it worked perfectly for this cake!
Highly recommend! It is worth the effort especially if you love to bake like me!
So fun! Thank you for sharing!
Made this for a friend’s birthday and she loved it so much that she’s requesting it for her wedding cake. Unfortunately, the wedding cake will need to be two 10 inch layers. Do you recommend making two full batches? I’m always nervous about doubling/halving recipes.
It should be ok as just one batch! The batter should fill two 10″ cake pans.
I’m planning to make this, along with your sweet almond cake, as a two tiered wedding cake (10 inch bottom, 8 inch top). I was hoping to do the cookie dough cake as the top tier because the recipe is already written for 8 inch layers. Would you recommend doing it as the bottom tier because it’s so dense? Or do you think it’ll be ok as long as I use bubble tea straws for supports?
I recommend it as the bottom layer because it is pretty heavy! And the almond cake is much lighter.
Can I make this recipe without adding the cookie dough into the layers?
If I do, will that adjust the bake time?
Yep you can do that! The bake time should be about the same, but I’d try reducing it by a couple minutes just in case.
What a cool idea for a recipe. I made this for my girlfriend for her birthday and she loved it! Took me a bit longer than anticipated since this was my first time ever baking a cake, but I will definitely keep this in my repertoire since she is a cookie dough lover! Thanks for the recipe!
Yay! Glad you enjoyed!
Making this today for my daughter’s 15th birthday. Attempting gluten free. How many people do you think this cake serves?
I’d say it serves about 16 people! It’s a very rich cake so thin slices are best.
Hey, I’m making this for my brother tomorrow and i was wondering if i decided to do the cake and do the cookiedough and buttercream and chocolate tomorrow, do I need to freeze the cake? And if so how do i unfreeze It? Do i just leave It out for a couple hours?
Hi! If you baking the cake a day head, you can just wrap the cooled layers in plastic wrap and refrigerate them 🙂
Hi! I have made this before as an 8” cake but am needing to make it as a 6”. How would you recommend splitting the ingredients?
Hmmm I would suggest splitting the cake recipe in half but leaving the cookie dough recipe as is 🙂
I’m attempting this for my husband. The cake states sugar but doesn’t say what kind. Should it be caster sugar? Granulated sugar? I’m confused. Thanks x
Can I use buttermilk instead of the whole milk? Or I also have full fat oat milk, would that maybe work as a sub for the whole milk? Thanks! I’ve made your brownies and your chocolate chip cookies and both were THE best baked goods I’ve ever eaten!
I suggest the oat milk instead! The acidity in buttermilk could throw it off.
Giuliana Hinojosa says
OMLLL I LOVE THIS CAKE RECIPE it takes a whole BUT SOOOO GOOD 💁♀️
I haven’t made this yet but I can already tell its 5 stars! does the cookie dough bake along withe cake or does it stay as cookie dough? Thanks!
It bakes slightly, but it’s definitely still soft like cookie dough!
Hey! I am making this cake for my birthday!,and it looks so good!Awesome Job Jenna!
This is the first cake I’ve ever made from scratch. I cannot believe how perfectly it turned out!! And it’s a show stopper!!! My husband said it’s the best cake he’s EVER tasted. The cookie dough butter cream frosting is to die for!! I followed the recipe exactly. I made the cakes on Thursday, wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in fridge until Saturday morning when I assembled it. I made the frosting on Friday! I can’t wait to make another cake! This was so much fun!
This cake sounds so DELICIOUS! I am definitely going to try it . Would it also work to replace the cookie dough in the cake layers with your Edible Brownie Batter Cookie Dough?