Topped with vanilla buttercream, this Easy Sugar Cookie Cake is tender, chewy, and simple to make. It’s perfect for birthdays, holidays, and any day you need a little cookie treat!
I’ve been asked a number of times about how to turn my beloved sugar cookies into a cookie cake so finally I decided to make one. After a little trial and error, I think the result is not only good – it’s absolutely perfect. The cookie texture is dense without being heavy, and soft and tender. It’s a truly oversized classic sugar cookie – chewy and delicious, and topped with everyone’s favorite: vanilla buttercream.
With a pretty topping of pastel sprinkles, this cake is both elegant and fun. It only takes a few minutes to pull together, and each bite will have you craving more!
Really, the only difference between a cookie and a cookie cake is the size, as well as the fact that cookie cakes tend to be decorated with frosting. While cookies and cookie cakes are very similar, they often require slight differences to make each work in their own form.
So to make this cake, I started out with my classic sugar cookie as-is. It baked nicely, but as it cooled, the center sank in quite a bit. In fact, the cookie cake sank so much that it cracked all around the inside edge. That wouldn’t work, so I set out to fix it.
The key issue with falling cakes is often your leavening agents. If you have too much leavening in something, it may rise too quickly and then fall, because there’s not enough structure to support it. So I left out the baking powder, and used just a bit of baking soda. I often prefer baking soda in cookies because they tend to be more tender that way.
The result? A beautifully soft and chewy sugar cookie cake, perfectly moist and sweet. All the flavor of sugar cookies, in a gorgeous, easy-to-make cake!
Since there are two components to this recipe, we’ll take a look at both recipes: the cookie cake and the frosting. Here we go!
For the Sugar Cookie Cake
- Flour: All-purpose flour is perfect here.
- Baking Soda: To lighten the cake and give it the right texture.
- Salt: For flavor
- Butter: I use unsalted butter and add my own salt. If you use salted, you may want to leave out the salt in the recipe to keep your cake from being too salty. The butter should be at room temperature.
- Sugar: You’ll need regular granulated sugar, with a little bit of brown sugar for a hint of flavor and a chewier texture.
- Egg: You will need a large, whole egg to help bind the dough together and add chewiness.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor. Vanilla bean paste is also lovely!
For the Vanilla Buttercream
- Butter: Again, I recommend using unsalted butter and it should be at room temperature.
- Powdered Sugar: For volume and to create the right consistency.
- Vanilla: For flavor.
- Cream: I use heavy whipping cream to thin out the frosting, as needed. You could also use milk, or even water.
How to Make It
So just how do you make this easy cake? Let’s take a look at the process, step by step. It’s so simple, you’ll want to make it every week!
- Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Cake Pan. Before you get started, set the oven to preheat to 350°F (180°C). Cut parchment paper to fit the base of a 9 inch cake pan. Spray the sides of the pan with baking spray.
- Blend the Dry Ingredients and Cream the Butter and Sugars. In one bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Give them a little whisk or stir with a fork to combine. In the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy. This should take two or three minutes.
- Add the Egg and Vanilla to the Butter Mixture. Add the egg to the butter mixture, and beat until well combined. Next, beat in the vanilla extract.
- Beat in the Dry Ingredients. Finally, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and mix only until the dough is combined. Do not overmix, or the cake will be tough. Once the dough is just combined, use a rubber spatula to help it come together to form a more cohesive ball.
- Bake. Press the cookie dough evenly into your prepared cake pan, and bake it for 15-20 minutes. It’s done when the edges just begin to turn golden.
- Cool and Frost. Allow the baked cake to cool completely in the pan. It will firm up as it cools. Once the cake is completely cool, quickly invert the pan onto a cooling rack. Working quickly, place another cooling rack on the bottom of the cookie (which is now facing up) and invert again, so that the cake faces right-side-up again.
- Make the Buttercream. To make the buttercream, place the butter in a clean, large mixing bowl, and beat until smooth. Pour in about half of the powdered sugar and mix. Add the vanilla and a tablespoon of cream (or water)and mix until well combined and smooth. Finally, add in the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. If it’s too thick, you can add more cream or water to get the right consistency.
- Pipe! Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a piping tip (I used Ateco 847) and pipe shells of frosting around the edge of the cake.
While this cake is incredibly easy to make, here are some helpful tips for success! A little pre-troubleshooting can definitely save a dessert. Here are my top tips for making the perfect sugar cookie cake:
- Measure Carefully: I always use a food scale, which is going to be most accurate. But if you don’t have one, the correct way to measure flour is to spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it with a knife to avoid packing the flour. If you scoop the flour out of the bag with your measuring cup, you may pack in extra flour and have a crumbly dough and dry cake.
- Frosting Options: You definitely don’t have to pipe the frosting onto your cake if you don’t want to! Spreading the frosting into creamy swirls is also a lovely option and so simple.
- Don’t Frost too Soon: Once the cake has baked, be sure to wait until it is completely cool before frosting! If the cake is too warm, the delicate buttercream will melt.
My basic recipe doesn’t call for any mix-ins, but you could certainly add some if you like! You could also change up the frosting and decorations in a lot of different ways. Here are a few ideas for inspiration!
- White Chocolate: Pressing white chocolate chips into the cookie dough is a beautiful way to add contrasting texture and extra decadence to this cake.
- Funfetti: Add your favorite sprinkles to the dough as well as the top of the cake, for a cute funfetti theme! Watch out for sprinkles that melt easily, though. Their colors may bleed into the dough and spoil the effect. Jimmies typically work best.
- Cute Candies: Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms, mini peanut butter cups, and chopped up Heath bar are all wonderful decoration ideas that also taste great. Sprinkle them over the frosted cake, and enjoy!
- Baking Tin Basics: While I baked a round cookie, you could also make a square cookie, or even use a tin shaped like a heart, star, or other decorative item.
Sugar cookie cake can be stored at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five days. Either way, place it in an airtight container to keep the cake moist and fresh.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes, you can freeze this cake. For best results, freeze it without frosting. Just wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, and freeze for up to three months. Let the cake defrost overnight before frosting and serving.Print
Topped with vanilla buttercream for the perfect cookie and frosting combo, this Sugar Cookie Cake is tender, chewy, and simple to make. It’s perfect for birthdays, holidays and any day you need a little cookie treat!
For the Cookie Cake
- 2 3/4 cups (358g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (181g) granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp (28g) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Vanilla Buttercream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1–2 tbsp cream or water
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper in the bottom and baking spray on the sides. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. You should be able to see the change in color and texture and know it’s ready.
- Add the egg and mix until well combined.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until the dough is just well combined. Do not over mix. Once it’s well combined, use a rubber spatula to help it come together to form a more cohesive ball.
- Press the cookie dough evenly into the cake pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan. It will firm up as it cools.
- Once cool, quickly invert the cookie onto a cooling rack. Quickly place another cooling rack on the bottom of the cookie (which is now facing up) and invert again, so that the cookie cake is upright.
- To make the buttercream, add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
- Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract and a tablespoon of cream or water and mix until well combined and smooth.
- Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add more cream or water to get the right consistency.
- Place the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a piping tip (I used Ateco 847) and pipe shells of frosting around the outer edge of the cake.
Store cookie cake in an airtight container. Cookie cake is best if eaten within 3-4 days.
Keywords: how to make cookie cake, buttercream cookie frosting, giant cookie