In this cookie dough cake, cookie dough is sandwiched between super soft vanilla cake layers and covered with silky smooth brown sugar frosting. It’s a rich cake but not overly sweet. Everyone who has tried it loves it!
There are quite a few parts to this cake but I’ll show you the quickest way to make and assemble it all.
Make the cake layers
I use my Very Vanilla cake layers for this cake but my Perfect Chocolate Cake tastes delicious with the cookie dough filling and brown sugar frosting, too! You'll find the ingredients and step by step instructions for the cake layers at the bottom of this page.
Prepare the base for the brown sugar frosting and cookie dough filling
Start by preparing the brown sugar frosting, which begins by cooking flour, milk and salt over a medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Whisk it constantly until it simmers to prevent any lumps forming.
The mixture will thicken suddenly so don't stop whisking for a moment! As soon as it starts to thicken, switch to a spatula. Scraping along the bottom and sides of the pan, stirring for about two minutes until the mixture thicken enough to leave ribbons when you lift the whisk:
It needs to be thick enough to holds its texture when you stir it. It will feel somewhere in between being liquid and solid.
Remove the pan from the heat and add vanilla. Mix that in and then transfer the mixture into a bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to cool to room temperature. It will thicken to a pudding-like consistency.
Now for the cookie dough, bake flour for 5 minutes at 350F or 175C. This kills any bacteria so that it’s safe to eat the cookie dough raw. Let the flour cool and then sift it to get rid of any lumps.
Make the cookie dough filling
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix butter and brown sugar together at medium speed until it’s light and creamy. It will take about 5 minutes. This is going to the base of the cookie dough AND the brown sugar frosting. Take a third of this out now to use for the cookie dough. If you want to weigh a third, it will weigh 193g.
Add vanilla, mix it in, and then add the cooled flour and mix that in. The dough will get crumbly so add milk to pull everything together. It will become the consistency of cookie dough. Add mini chocolate chips and fold them into the dough. I like using semi-sweet chips since it balances the sweetness of the cookie dough. Mini chips are the perfect size because I think full size chips are too big and hard to bite into within a cake.
Divide this cookie dough into three equal parts: two for the filling between cake layers and one for cookie dough balls for the top of the cake.
For the filling, you'll need two pans that you baked your cakes in. Line the pans with plastic wrap. Then put one part of cookie dough in each and push it down to the bottom of the cake and up to the edges, to make a flat layer. Fold the plastic wrap over the dough to wrap it up within the pans and then put the pans in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the cake.
For the final part of cookie dough, use a teaspoon to scoop it up and then roll it between your hands to make 10 cookie dough balls. Put them on plate in the fridge until you’ve frosted your cake.
Make the brown sugar frosting
To finish off the brown sugar frosting, take the cooked flour and milk mixture out of the fridge. Add it to the rest of the butter and brown sugar in the mixer. Mix it at medium speed for 5 minutes, until it’s smooth and lighter in colour. Look how silky and decadent this frosting is! I can’t wait for you to taste it!
This brown sugar frosting has a LOT less sugar in it than buttercream so it’s not very sweet at all, which pairs perfectly with the sweet cookie dough filling.
If your frosting doesn’t thicken it could be for two reasons. First, if you don't cook the milk and flour mixture for long enough, until it thickens, your frosting won't thicken. Second, if you add the cooked milk and flour mixture to the butter and sugar before it cools to room temperature it will melt the butter and also won't thicken.
Assemble the cookie dough cake
Take the pans of cookie dough out of the freezer and unwrap them from the plastic wrap. You’ll have two identical cookie dough discs. They'll be cold enough to hold their shape so you can move them around easily as you assemble your cake.
Spread a dot of brown sugar frosting onto the middle of a cake board and press your first layer of vanilla cake onto it. Spread a very thin layer of brown sugar frosting over the cake. This will act as glue to attach the first cookie dough disc.
Spread another thin layer of frosting over the cookie dough to attach your next cake layer and repeat.
If you trimmed the sides of your cake layers, the cookie dough discs will stick out. Use some sharp kitchen scissors to cut off the excess cookie dough so that the sides of the cake are straight. This will make frosting the cake easier.
Spoon the frosting onto the cake and cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. This is called a crumb coat and it traps any crumbs that come off the cake. Then spread another layer of frosting on top, which won’t have any crumbs in it since those are all stuck in the first layer of frosting. This brown sugar frosting spreads onto the cake like a dream and it’s easy to smooth it, too.
Take your cookie dough balls out of the fridge. They’ll be cold and firm enough to place around the top of the cake without losing their shape. Press them gently into the frosting to attach them.
How to store and serve this cookie dough cake
Wait about 30 minutes before serving the cake so that the cookie dough discs warm up and soften, which will make it much easier to cut through them.
Look at the gorgeous cross section of these slices! I really can’t wait for you to make this cake and tell me in the comments if you’re as obsessed with it as I am!
The cake and frosting taste best at room temperature. If you make the cake in advance, store it in the fridge for up to 2 days but take it out of the fridge 2-4 hours before you serve it. This gives it time to come to room temperature and everything softens up.
This recipe makes a three layer 6″ cake. Double the recipe below by clicking "X2" to make a three-layer 8" cake.
You can watch a video tutorial for how to make and decorate this cake at the bottom of the page!
2. Add egg and vanilla, mixing on the lowest speed until incorporated, about 1 minute seconds.
Cookie dough is sandwiched between super soft vanilla cake layers and covered with silky smooth brown sugar frosting. This cake is rich but not overly sweet. Everyone who has tried it loves it!
For the cake:
1/2cup unsalted butter
2/3cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/4cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the base of the cookie dough filling and brown sugar frosting:
1 1/2cups unsalted butter
1 1/2cups brown sugar
For the brown sugar frosting:
1cup whole milk
1/3cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cookie dough:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
For the cake:
In a mixer with a beater/paddle attachment, beat room temperature butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down to the bottom of the bowl once during mixing to make sure no butter or sugar is stuck at the bottom.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing on the lowest speed after each addition for 30 seconds. Scrape down to the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated before adding the next egg.
Add vanilla and mix for about 30 seconds to combine.
In a small bowl or measuring jug, mix room temperature buttermilk and oil. Add half to the butter mixture and mix on lowest speed to incorporate.
In a bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix on lowest speed to incorporate, scraping down to the bottom of the mixing bowl to check that batter is evenly mixed. Add the remaining buttermilk mixture, mix to combine and then mix in the remaining flour mixture.
Grease three 6" baking pans with non-stick oil spray or butter. Divide batter equally between the cake pans.
Bake at 160ºC or 325ºF for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Leave cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to loosen the cakes from the edges of the pans and then turn onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely.
Prepare ingredients for the brown sugar frosting and cookie dough:
For the brown sugar frosting, whisk together flour, milk and salt in a small pan. Cook over medium low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Switch to a spatula and stir, scraping around the bottom and sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to bubble, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 more minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap down onto the surface of the flour mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread 1 cup of flour out on a baking tray and bake at 350F for 5 minutes. Sift it and set aside for the cookie dough.
Now make the base for the brown sugar frosting and cookie dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar together at medium speed until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer a third of the butter and sugar mixture into a bowl. A third of the mixture will weigh 193g (or double, if you're doubling this recipe!). Set aside for cookie dough filling.
To make the cookie dough:
Add vanilla to the butter and brown sugar mixture in the bowl you set aside. Mix to combine.
Add cooled and sifted flour and mix until crumbly.
Add milk and chocolate chips and stir until the mixture is the consistency of cookie dough. Divide into three equal parts.
Line two baking pans (the same sized ones you used to bake your cake) with plastic wrap and put one part of cookie dough into each pan. Press the cookie dough down into the plastic wrap at the bottom of the pan and up to the edges of the pan. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the cookie dough to seal it. Put the pans of cookie dough in the freezer until you're ready to assemble the cake.
For the final part of cookie dough, use a teaspoon to scoop up the cookie dough and roll it between your hands to make a cookie dough ball. For a 6 inch cake you'll have enough cookie dough to make 10 balls. Place on a plate and put the plate in the fridge until you've frosted the cake.
To make the brown sugar frosting:
Add cooled milk and flour mixture to the remaining butter and sugar mixture in the mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
To assemble the cake:
Spread a dot of the brown sugar frosting onto a cake board and press the first layer of vanilla cake into it. Spread a thin layer of frosting onto the cake layer.
Take the pans of cookie dough out of the freezer and peel off the plastic wrap. Placed one cookie dough disc onto the first cake layer and spread a thin layer of frosting on top. Press the next cake layer on top. Spread a thin layer of frosting onto this cake layer, then place another cookie dough disc on top, and spread another thin layer of frosting onto the cookie dough. Place the final cake layer on top.
Frost the cake with the brown sugar frosting. I recommend applying a thin layer first, called a crumb coat, to trap and crumbs and then spreading and smoothing a final layer on top.
Take the cookie dough balls out of the fridge or freezer and space them evenly around the top of the cake. Press them into the frosting to attach them to the cake.
Store this cake in the fridge but take it out at least 2 hours before serving to let the cake and frosting come to room temperature, when it tastes the best!
If you don't finish the cake, cover the cut side with plastic wrap to prevent the cake from drying out.
If you only want to make the cookie dough filling, use only 1/3 of the base ingredients
To make a three-layer 8 inch cake, double the recipe by clicking "X2" at the top right of the recipe.