A few weeks ago, my friend was in Las Vegas and stopped by the Sprinkles Cupcakes store. Because we talk about food all the time (hence why we’re such close friends), she was, of course, texting me the play-by-play of what she was ordering. It wasn’t even five minutes later that I get a text that said, “The new Sprinkles Cookie Cupcake is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. YOU MUST RECREATE IT!”.
Done! Recreating amazing cupcakes or cakes, or taking flavors of some other decadent treat and turning it into a cake is my calling in life!
As soon as she was back in town, we had a detailed conversation about the cupcake. Since I hadn’t tried the cupcake, I made Lisa describe it to me in every detail. Crunchy or soft cookie crust? Tender and light, or rich and dense cake? What about the frosting? Silky like a meringue or a little more dense like a traditional American buttercream?
After I got as many details about the cupcake as I could, I got to work on my version of the cupcake… but in cake form.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Sprinkles uses a chocolate chip cookie crust at the bottom of the cupcake. But, from what Lisa told me, it’s not super packed and tight like a crust – definitely more of a crumbly crumb at the bottom of the cupcake. I knew a crumb like that wouldn’t stack well in a cake, and honestly, the first thought that popped into my head for my version was using Milk Bar’s chocolate cookie crumb as a crust in my cake. The Milk Bar chocolate cookie crumbs are quite possibly one of my favorite things in this life. I love dark chocolate and this cookie crumb recipe perfected the dark chocolate flavor without being overly sweet. I love the hint of kosher salt in it as well.
As I thought about the chocolate cookie crust, I knew I needed to contrast it with a lighter, fluffier and sweeter cake. I had just made my classic yellow a few weeks ago, so with it fresh in my mind, I had no doubt it would be the perfect combination with the dark chocolate cookie crust.
Next was the frosting. I had made a brown sugar frosting before but didn’t love how I could taste the brown sugar granules in my mouth. This time around, I wanted to make sure the frosting was silky smooth. To achieve this, I decided to create a brown sugar syrup by boiling my brown sugar with a little water, which dissolved the granules and turned it into a thick syrup-like consistency.
Once it cooled, I added the mixture to my buttercream base and ended up with the exact consistency I was looking for. More importantly, the flavor is out of this world. There’s a hint of brown sugar and browned butter flavors. It works so perfectly with the cake and cookie layers.
The Sprinkles cupcake is also covered with cookie crumbs, but instead of using more of the Milk Bar chocolate cookie crumbs, which might have then started to overpower the rest of the cake, I decided to grab a bag of store bought chocolate chip cookies (crunchy ones) and blended them up so I could “dust” the cake with them.
I am so excited with the end result, you guys! Like, this cake is one of my new faves! But even more important, Lisa gave it a “10” and said she liked it even more than the cupcake! (Insert my happy dance here.)
While I’ve yet to try the cupcake, I know some of you have and I’m eager to hear your thoughts on my take. So make sure to post your cake on Instagram and tag @cakebycourtney so I can see it!
Inspired by the Sprinkles Cookie Cupcake, I've created my new Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake with layers of dark chocolate cookie crust, tender yellow chocolate chip cake, silky brown sugar frosting and dusted in chocolate chip cookie crumbs.
For the Chocolate Cookie Crust (recipe from Milk Bar)
1 1/3 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (16.8 g) cornstarch
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups (157.3 g) dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoons (5.6 g) salt
12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, melted
For the Yellow Chocolate Chip Cake
1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (72.6 g) canola oil
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 cups, plus 3 tablespoons (366.5 g) cake flour
2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
1 cup (240 g) full fat sour cream, room temperature
*This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.
Filling and Garnish
Chocolate Chip Cookies
For the Chocolate Cookie Crust
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed.
Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
Spread 8 ounces of the chocolate crumbs on the parchment in each the three 8-inch cake pans or 6 ounces in each of the 6-inch pans. Using the back of a spoon, push the crumbs together to form a crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
Let the crust cool a bit while you make the yellow cake.
For the Yellow Chocolate Chip Cake
While the chocolate cookie crust is cooling, turn your oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and baking powder with the sour cream, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until combined.
Add the butter and vanilla extract. Mix on low until combined.
In a small bowl, combine the mini chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of flour. This helps to coat the chocolate chips so they don't sink to the bottom of the cake.
Fold the chocolate chips into the cake batter.
Evenly distribute the cake batter in the pans with the chocolate cookie crust.
Bake the cakes and cookie crust for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with only just a few crumbs on it.
Cool the cakes on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cakes onto cooking racks to cool completely. If you don't plan to stack and decorate the cake right away, wrap each layer in plastic wrap or tin foil and freeze.
For the Brown Sugar Frosting
In a medium sauce pan, combine the brown sugar and water over medium heat. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a soft boil and let cook for about 5 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. It won't be hot but it won't be room temperature.
When the brown sugar syrup has cooled a little, put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar.
Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, slowly stream the brown sugar syrup into the bowl. Once the syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for about 5 minutes. Don't worry if the buttercream is soft.
If the mixer gets too soft, refrigerate the frosting for 30 to 60 minutes. Beat the frosting again for a couple minutes.
Spread a small dollop of frosting on your cake board. Place the first cake layer on the board, with the chocolate cookie crust on the bottom.
Spread about 3/4 cup of the brown sugar frosting on top of the cake layer. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure it is level.
Sprinkle three crushed chocolate chip cookies (big chunks of cookie are ok!) on the frosting and tap them with your fingers to gently set them into the frosting.
Place the second cake layer, chocolate cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the frosting and cookie crumbs. Repeat step 2 and 3.
Place the final cake layer, chocolate cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the second layer of frosting and cookie crumbs.
Spread a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake to lock in any crumbs. This is called the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes to ensure the crumbs get locked into this coat of frosting. After the frosting is set, continue to frost the cake. I used about 16 cookies to pulse in my blender to get find crumbs for the outside of my cake.