OLLIE’S COOKIE CAKE
When he turned 2, we wanted to celebrate with a small party incorporating some of his favorite things. In addition to being a huge fan of milk & cookies, he also loved Sesame Street. I really wanted to make a cake inspired by milk and cookies and kind of made it up as I went! Below you’ll find all of the steps I took to make the recipe and how it turned out.
LET’S MAKE A (COOKIE) CAKE
First, I had to think about the cookie. I knew that I wanted it to be thick and fairly soft. If the cookie was thin and crispy it would have been tough to pull off layers of frosting in between without it feeling like there was too much frosting. Also, I was hoping to make a cake that would be easy to cut. I fear that a thin, crispy cookie wouldn’t have held up. So I took my existing chocolate chip cookie recipe and made a few changes – similar to what I would have done if I were writing a recipe for a bar cookie. The dry ingredients were standard and basic – flour, baking soda, and salt. I increased the salt a bit more than I usually would to try and obtain that sweet and salty bite.
MELTED or SOFTENED BUTTER?
I chose to work with melted butter rather than softened butter because I wanted the cookie to be denser, rather than “puffy.” To the melted butter I added both brown and granulated sugar in addition to large eggs plus extra yolks to achieve the consistency I was after. I upped the vanilla and was happy with the decision – I think nine times out of ten, vanilla should be “upped.”
I used larger chocolate chunks instead of traditional chocolate chips because I wanted them to be more visible in the larger cookie. I found them right next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle.
MIX IT UP, BUTTERCUP – BUT NOT TOO MUCH
I was really careful to not over-mix the dough – no mixer necessary at all. I divided the completed dough into quarters and pressed the first quarter into a greased 9-inch springform pan. If you have multiple springform pans (or 9-inch cake pans) you could do this at the same time and pop them in the oven together. I had to do this twice and it was no big deal. While the first batch of two was baking, I kept my dough in the refrigerator to keep it cool.
DON’T SKIMP ON THE CHIPS
After one-quarter of the dough was pressed into the greased pan, I took another 1/4 cup of chocolate chunks and pressed them into the top and sides of the dough. This was really only because I wanted it to look like a perfect chocolate chip cookie. Not necessary, but I’m a big believer in your food looking as good as it tastes. Plus, who’s going to complain about more chocolate?!
FROSTING IS THE BEST PART
I was really happy with how the cookies looked coming out of the springform pan. It was super easy to remove them and they were all perfectly the same size. After baking and cooling my big cookie layers, I made a classic cream cheese frosting. I used the frosting recipe from these bars and it was really nice. I’m sure you could use buttercream as well. To prevent the layer cake from sliding around during transport, I plopped on a dollop of cream cheese frosting to secure everything.
I visually divided the frosting into 3 parts in my mixing bowl and used about 1/3 of the frosting in between each layer. I was so nervous that the weight of the cookies would make the frosting layers impossible, but it was actually alright. I did focus on adding a bit more frosting to the edges of the cookies so that the frosting would be visible. I didn’t want it to look perfect, so I didn’t worry too much about it being super even on all sides. I love using an offset spatula any time any sort of frosting is involved. It’s one of those silly tools that I think everyone should have who plans to ever decorate a cupcake or a cake. I like them so much I have a few in different sizes.
I was so happy with how the cake turned out for Ollie’s Milk & Cookies party! The beautiful cake stand from Shop Sweet Lulu was the perfect shade of Cookie Monster blue and finished off the presentation of the cake beautifully. They have amazing stuff! It’s so well curated and I reused so many of the decor items I’ve picked up from them over the years.Once the cake was assembled, I found myself very nervous about how to store it. The party wasn’t for another 24 hours, so I had to make a call as to whether or not to leave it on the countertop or in the refrigerator. My worry about the countertop was the cream cheese frosting loosening up and shifting my layers. My concern about placing it in the refrigerator was the cold drying out the cookies. I went with the refrigerator after a tip from an expert friend on Instagram and I’m so glad I did. I loosely covered it with plastic wrap and kept it chilled. By the time we got to the park and cut the cake, it was totally soft and the layers looked awesome. I was so nervous about this! I was actually surprised at how easily a serrated knife cut through it. I think the frosting softened the layers just enough to make it a good clean slice.
Thanks for hanging with me on a super long post. The final recipe is listed below. Feel free to comment with any questions!
Ollie's Chocolate Chip Layer Cake
Yield 1 9" layer cake (12 servings)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer Cake inspired by milk & cookies for my son’s 2nd birthday!
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 ½ cups), melted
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups chocolate chips or chunks
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Two (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 4 (9-inch) cake pans or springform pans. *note: I made this recipe in two batches using 2 pans because I didn't have 4 cake pans that were all the same size.
In an extra large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars until fully combined. Whisk in the eggs and yolks one at a time followed by the vanilla. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients avoiding over-mixing. Once the dough has just come together, stir in the chocolate chunks until they are evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Press 1/4 of the dough into each prepared pan. If desired, press additional chocolate chunks on the top and sides of the dough.
Bake until the tops of the cookie layers are golden brown, about 24-28 minutes. Avoid over baking the cookies as you want the centers to still be soft. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack until each layer has reached room temperature.
Starting with one cookie layer on a cake plate, add 1/3 of the prepared cream cheese frosting to the center of the cookie, and using an offset spatula smooth it out evenly over the cookie, emphasizing the sides so that the cream cheese layer is visible when the next cookie is placed on top. Repeat this process two more times, ending with an unfrosted cookie on top.
Store completed cookie cake (covered) in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Before serving, allow cake to come to room temperature.
For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixture, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Beat in the confectioners' sugar a little at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 5 days.