Lemon Cookie Cake

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This Lemon Cookie Cake is soft and chewy with the perfect lemon flavor! Loaded with white chocolate chips and topped with swirls of lemon cream cheese frosting, it’s the perfect summer dessert!

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Cookie Cake Recipe

I am so in love with this Lemon Cookie Cake! It’s an older recipe that is getting an update today and when re-making it, I realized I’d forgotten just how good it is. Like, amazing! I’m already dreaming about when I get to make it again. Here’s why you’ll love it too.

  • Just the right amount of lemon flavor. This cookie cake is nice and lemony (thank you lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon pudding mix!) but not so lemony that you’ll be puckering your lips. It strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet.
  • Soft and tender. I love the texture of this dessert. It’s wonderfully soft and tender, but still a little dense and almost chewy (like a cookie should be!). Best of both worlds!
  • So easy to make. Making this cookie cake is even easier than making cookies! The dough is super simple and you don’t have to form it into a bunch of cookie dough balls and do multiple rounds of baking.
  • Perfect for an occasion. If you love cookies, but want something that seems a little more fancy, this cookie cake is the way to go!

What You’ll Need

Here’s a quick ingredients list for this lemon cookie cake recipe. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.

Ingredients for lemon cookie cake.

Lemon Cookie

  • All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure your flour accurately, or you’ll end up with a dry cookie. I like to use a food scale, but you can also use the spoon and level method.
  • Baking soda – To give the cookie a little rise and help keep it nice and tender.
  • Salt – Don’t leave it out! Without it, your cookie cake will be bland.
  • Unsalted butter – The butter should be at room temperature. If it is too cold or too melted it won’t cream properly with the sugar.
  • Sugar
  • Egg – Be sure to use large eggs, not medium or extra large.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon juice – I highly suggest using freshly squeezed lemon juice. The bottled stuff will work but the flavor just isn’t the same.
  • Lemon zest – While lemon juice delivers a nice punch of lemon flavor, the lemon zest really takes it over the edge.
  • Lemon pudding mix – The pudding mix enhances the lemon flavor and is so worth using. You can leave it out if you’d like, though.
  • White chocolate chips – Not a white chocolate chip fan? You can leave them out or replace them with something else.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream cheese – Start with room-temperature cream cheese. If it is too cold, your frosting will likely turn out lumpy.
  • Unsalted butter – The butter should also be at room temperature. Otherwise, your frosting might turn out lumpy.
  • Powdered sugar – The powdered sugar adds volume and stability to the frosting. Reducing will it make it hard to pipe and it may not keep shape well.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest – The lemon zest is the only thing adding lemon flavor to the cream cheese frosting, but it’s enough. Feel free to leave it out, if you prefer.

What Does The Lemon Pudding Mix Do?

I originally suggested that if you wanted more lemon flavor, you could add lemon pudding mix, but hadn’t actually tried it myself so it wasn’t listed in the recipe. Well, I got a number of comments from people saying that they loved the addition of it, so I tested it during my updating process and fell in love with it too. The recipe still works without it, but with it, you get an even softer and more lemon-y cookie cake. So good! And you just add the dry mix right to the cookie dough.

Lemon cookie cake with a slice taken out of it.

How To Make Lemon Cookie Cake

Here’s a quick look at how to make lemon cookie cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F, line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper, and grease the sides.
  • Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Combine the wet ingredients. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the egg and vanilla followed by the lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Put it all together. Mix in the pudding mix and the other dry ingredients and then fold in the white chocolate chips.
  • Bake. Press the cookie dough into the cake pan. I like pressing a few more white chocolate chips into the top. Bake for 19-24 minutes.
  • Cool. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, flip it onto a cooling rack (it’ll be upside down), and then flip it onto another cooling rack so it’s right side up.
  • Make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in 1 cup of powdered sugar followed by the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Mix in the remaining powdered sugar.
  • Decorate. Pipe the frosting onto the edges of the cookie cake.
Overhead image of lemon cookie cake.

Tips for Success

  • Measure your flour accurately. I highly suggest using the spoon and level method or a food scale to get the proper measurement for your flour. It will help ensure that your cookie cake isn’t too dry (too much flour) or too sticky (not enough flour). Check out my post on How to Measure Flour Correctly for more.
  • Don’t skimp on creaming time. When creaming together the butter and sugar, do so until the mixture has significantly lightened in color and become fluffy. This process incorporates air into the dough, which helps ensure that the cookie cake doesn’t turn out overly dense.
  • No ingredients left behind. When mixing ingredients into the dough and frosting, scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure everything makes it into the mix.
  • Don’t over-mix. When mixing the dry ingredients into the dough and when folding in the white chocolate chips, mix just until everything is incorporated. No more. Over-mixing can cause the glutens in the flour to overdevelop. This can give you a tough, dense cookie cake.
  • Don’t over-bake. It should be done baking when the edges are lightly golden and the center looks done and is no longer shiny. If it still jiggles a bit when moved, it’s ok. It’ll continue cooking and firm up as it cools. You don’t want to over bake it.
  • Cool completely (in the pan). Allow the cookie cake to cool completely before attempting to remove it from the pan and frosting it. If you remove it from the pan before it has cooled, it will likely fall apart, making a mess. In addition, if you try to frost the cake when it is still warm, the frosting will slide right off. So be patient!
A fork taking a bite out of a slice of lemon cookie cake.

Proper Storage

  • Room temperature. The cookie itself doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but the cream cheese frosting does. Feel free to store the cookie at room temperature after you bake it and just add the frosting before serving.
  • Refrigerator. Seal the leftover cookie cake in an airtight cake carrier or arrange slices in a single layer in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer. Pop the cookie cake in the freezer for a couple of hours to let the frosting firm up. Then, wrap the whole thing in a double layer of plastic wrap. Alternatively, arrange slices in a single layer in an airtight container. You can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow leftover lemon cookie cake to thaw in the fridge before enjoying.

More Lemon Desserts

The updated version of this lemon cookie cake hasn’t changed much from the original, but if you love the old version and would like a copy, you can download this PDF of the recipe.

Print
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Overhead image of lemon cookie cake.
Recipe

Lemon Cookie Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 19 minutes
  • Total Time: 49 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Lemon Cookie Cake is soft and chewy with the perfect lemon flavor! Loaded with white chocolate chips and topped with swirls of lemon cream cheese frosting, it’s the perfect summer dessert!


Ingredients

Lemon Cookie Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups (293g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (12 lemons)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 3.4 oz instant lemon pudding mix, dry, optional
  • 3/4 cup (127g) white chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp (42g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Instructions

Make the cookie cake:

  1. 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.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to be sure all is well incorporated. You should be able to see the change in color and texture happen and know it’s ready.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until well combined. Cookie dough may look a little curdled.
  6. Add the dry pudding mix and other dry ingredients and mix until the dough is just combined. Do not over mix.
  7. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
  8. Press the cookie dough evenly into the cake pan. Press a few more white chocolate chips into the top of the cookie cake, if desired.
  9. Bake for 19-24 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the cake pan, then transfer to a serving plate. It it’s fully cool, you should be able to flip it upside down onto a cooling rack, place another cooling rack on top (which is actually the bottom) and then flip it back over so that it’s right side up.

Make the frosting:

  1. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Slowly add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  5. Pipe the frosting onto the edges of the cookie cake, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Because of the cream cheese frosting, it should be refrigerated, but should be served at room temperature. Best if eaten within 4-5 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 498
  • Sugar: 31.9 g
  • Sodium: 380.3 mg
  • Fat: 24.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 68.1 g
  • Protein: 3.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 70.6 mg

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38 Comments
    1. Lindsay

      I don’t know, I’m sorry. But if you don’t have it available in your area, you can leave it out. The cookie cake is still good without it.

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t recommend self rising flour in any recipe that doesn’t call for it. It’s not a 1:1 swap. As for cake mix, it’s possible you could use cake mix, but it would greatly alter the recipe. If you’d like to use a cake mix, check out my Funfetti Cookie Cake, which uses a cake mix and swap out the Funfetti cake mix for the lemon cake mix.

  1. Greer

    Hello! I made this for my daughter’s birthday and it was tasty but not at all what I was expecting. It wasn’t chewy at all and tasted far more like a coffee cake than a cookie. In fact, other than the lovely crunchy part on top, it was nothing at all like a cookie. Did I do something wrong or is it supposed to just be cake? I was expecting a lemon version of the chocolate chip cookie cakes you buy at the store or at least a lemon cookie in mega size. I would love to try again unless I just misunderstood and it is supposed to be a cake but not a cookie. Thanks for your advice!

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm. It definitely shouldn’t be cakey like you describe. That seems super odd. I actually will be updating this recipe with new photos and helpful information soon and upon re-testing and playing with it, I can tell you I didn’t get a result like you describe in any of my testing. It’s not exactly like a store-bought cookie cake but it’s more because it’s thicker and I think far better. But definitely not cake-like. That said, I’m making two adjustments to the recipe. One is actually a suggestion I made in the post that people have commented they really liked, so I tried it and love it as well, and that’s adding the dry lemon pudding mix. You can certainly leave it out, but the flavor is amazing with it. The only other change is to reduce the baking soda to half a teaspoon, instead of a full one. The full teaspoon was simply more than necessary and the cookie fell during cooling more than it probably should, so I reduced it. But nothing that was changed had anything to do with feeling like it was too cakey. I shared it with several friends and we all agreed it was even better than you’d expect from a lemon cookie cake. I say all this only to explain that I really didn’t get the result that you did. Are you sure you used baking soda and not baking powder? I still wouldn’t think it would make the cookie as cakey as you describe, but I do think baking powder gives cookies a fairly different texture. I’m honestly not sure how you would’ve gotten a cookie that is as cake-like as you describe. I’m sorry!

  2. Consuela

    This was a big hit at my son’s birthday party! I doubled the recipe, added a small box of lemon pudding mix, and increased the vanilla extract to about 1 heaping tablespoon (roughly doubled). The cookie was the entire cookie sheet and I cut out a shape for his birthday cake, and used the leftover to make circular cookies by using a cup as a cookie cutter. The cookie was really thick and soft. Also, I did not increase the cooking time and left it to cool on the pan. I saw comments saying that the cookie fell apart when they flipped it, so I just didn’t.

  3. SC

    Thank you, this recipe was amazing! For anyone wondering if this can be made gluten free, I subbed in Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour, and I was perfect.






  4. Jenice

    Thanks for posting the recipe! Yours looks amazing. I tried it but it was a complete flop. What’s the texture supposed to be like? I baked it for 22mins and it looked beautifully brown but after I turned it over after cooling, I found the center and the bottom were uncooked. 🙁 

    I put it back to bake longer for around 15mins more and it just wouldn’t cook more. 

    1. Lindsay

      It should be much like any other chewy cookie. When you say it had cooled – for how long? It should be COMPLETELY cool. That said, you could certainly bake it for longer. Once you remove it from the oven though and let it cool, it won’t cook any more if you put it back in the oven.

  5. Laura

    Hey there!  I love, love, love this lemon cookie cake!
    If I wanted to make it lemon-ier, would I just add the lemon pudding in?  Or would I substitute it for some of the sugar?
    Thanks for your help!  And your delicious recipes!  And your love of DOWNTON, which matches mine!

      1. Laura

        Tee hee hee!  And the idea was your own, so thank YOU!  I’m just wondering if I need to compensate by removing any other of the ingredients…?

      2. Lindsay

        Ha! You’re right! It’d been a while since I read the post .:) You wouldn’t need to remove anything. Just know that it’ll also make a softer/moister cookie, so you may need to be a little more gentle removing it from the cake pan.

  6. Alexis @ Upside Down Pear

    I’ve been really enjoying cookie cakes lately. A lemon flavored one sounds perfect for summer! I can’t wait to try this 🙂

  7. Tanya Schroeder

    Lindsay, this is such a good dessert! Sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into a thick, sweet cookie cake! The lemon makes this extra fabulous!

  8. Thalia @ butter and brioche

    yum.. another awesome recipe! thanks for sharing. love the flavour combinations. definitely a recipe i will be recreating. thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    Yes!! Lemon cookie cake. Just…yes. There’s so little on TV and so little my husband will watch, we are re-watching West Wing. 🙂

  10. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking

    So I’m kind of mad at you…WHY DIDN”T YOU CALL ME SO WE COULD WATCH D-ABBEY TOGETHER AND EAT THIS CAKE!!!!?!?! Obsessed and I recently just finished season 4 too, but I would have happily watched all the seasons again with you. 😀

    So this cookie cake looks amazing! I heart lemon and sugar cookies…together in giant cake form…well, that just sounds like bliss to me!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Ahh! I’m sorry! I kinda figured you’d have your husband in town for the 4th so it wouldn’t be the best time to kidnap you 😉

  11. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    Loving lemon lately. (I love saying that.) 🙂
    This looks simply awesome!
    Pinning.
    Enjoy your weekend Lindsay!

  12. Mir

    Wow. This is probably the prettiest thing I will see all day! Thanks for posting a lemon recipe. Everyone’s on a berry kick, and I wanted some citrus!
    And Maggie Smith is hysterical. I rewind her scenes, too!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29