Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake – inspired by one of my favorite Sprinkles cupcakes, this cake is filled with a chocolate cookie crust, yellow chocolate chip cake layers, brown sugar frosting and chocolate chip cookie crumbs.

Cookie Cake: layers of yellow chocolate chip cake, baked on a chocolate cookie crust, with brown sugar frosting #cakebycourtney #cookiecake #easycakerecipe #layeredcake #chocolatechipcookiecake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

A few years 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.
 
Cookie Cake: layers of yellow chocolate chip cake, baked on a chocolate cookie crust, with brown sugar frosting #cakebycourtney #cookiecake #easycakerecipe #layeredcake #chocolatechipcookiecake

Dark Chocolate Cookie Crust

The base of the cupcake has a cookie crust. It’s a bit crumbly and would be hard to eat in cake form, I think. I opted for a dark chocolate cookie crust, that’s more packed in place. We’re not cooking it too long, so it should still be easy to cut when you’re ready to serve. 
 

The Best Cocoa Powder

It’s important to note that this recipe uses dark chocolate for a reason. Because we’re adding cream, butter, and powdered sugar to the chocolate, the flavor gets diluted just a bit. If you use milk chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate chips, you’re going to lose a lot of the chocolate flavor. Additionally, the buttercream will simply taste overly sweet. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love all things sweet, but it’s important to have balance. The dark chocolate in the layers and the buttercream help provide a balance to the sweetness because dark cocoa is bittersweet.

I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powderbut you can also use Hershey’s Special Extra Dark Cocoa Powder if you’re in a pinch and can’t get Cacao Barry. Just be sure to use dark cocoa powder. It not only creates a rich, dark color in the cake, but the flavor is slightly bitter and pairs so well with sweet, American buttercream.

 
 
Cookie Cake: layers of yellow chocolate chip cake, baked on a chocolate cookie crust, with brown sugar frosting #cakebycourtney #cookiecake #easycakerecipe #layeredcake #chocolatechipcookiecake

The Best Yellow Cake Layers

As I thought about the chocolate cookie crust, I knew I needed to contrast it with a lighter, fluffier and sweeter cake. My Classic Yellow Cake was the perfect choice.  
 

When making the cake layers, don’t forget to follow my go-to tips for getting your cakes to rise and bake well:

  • Preheat your oven for 30 minutes prior to baking.
  • Use good quality pans like Fat Daddio.
  • Spray your pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. 
  • Don’t overmix your cake batter once you add the dry ingredients.
  • Use room temperature wet ingredients.
  • Use fresh baking powder.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it
 
Cookie Cake: layers of yellow chocolate chip cake, baked on a chocolate cookie crust, with brown sugar frosting #cakebycourtney #cookiecake #easycakerecipe #layeredcake #chocolatechipcookiecake
 

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

For the frosting, I went with a less sweet option – Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Surprising, I know! I don’t do SMC often, but chose to use it for this cake because I wanted to add brown sugar to it. I knew if I used brown sugar in my American Buttercream, it would be too sweet (and that’s coming from someone who lives for sweet!).

Be sure to follow the instructions for SMC below. It’s super important that you allow the egg white mixture to cool COMPLETELY while it’s whisking to stiff peaks.
 
 
 

Other Chocolate Chip Recipes You’ll Love

 
 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

5 from 7 votes
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.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs

Ingredients
 

FOR THE CRUST

  • 1 1/3 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups (157.3 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoons (6 g) salt
  • 12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE CAKE

  • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (72.6 g) canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (13 g) clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) butter extract
  • 1 cup (240 g) full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup (150 g) mini chocolate chips, dusted in 1 tablespoon flour

FOR THE BROWN SUGAR SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cup (400 g) brown sugar
  • 7 egg whites
  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • *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 ½ batch.

FOR THE GARNISH

  • Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Instructions
 

For the Crust

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • Combine the flour, 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 mix 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. Using the back of a spoon, push the crumbs together to form a crust. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Let the crust cool a bit while you make the yellow cake. 

For the Cake

  • While the chocolate cookie crust is cooling, turn your oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, and sugar. Beat on medium-high 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. Add the extracts. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and mix for an addition 2 to 3 minutes, until the texture is smooth and the color is light.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir just until the flour is combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • 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 on top of cookie crust.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 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 Buttercream

  • In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 to 3 inches of water over medium-high heat until simmering.
  • Using a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip sugar and egg whites on medium-high until foamy.
  • Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and place over the saucepan to create a double boiler. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Pour out some water, if necessary.
  • Heat the mixture to 160-170 degrees F, stirring occasionally.
  • Carefully transfer the bowl back to the stand mixer. Whip the mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form and the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch.
  • Change the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. Once incorporated, add the vanilla.
  • With the mixer on medium-high speed, beat the btutercream for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl at least twice during the process. The texture should be silky-smooth

Assembly

  • Spread a small dollop of buttercream on your cake board. Place the first cake layer on the board, with the chocolate cookie crust on the bottom.
  • Spread about ¾ cup of the brown sugar buttercream 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 buttercream 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 buttercream and cookie crumbs.
  • Spread a thin layer of buttercream 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 buttercream. After the buttercream 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.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword brown sugar buttercream, brown sugar frosting, Chocolate Chip, chocolate chip cookie cake, Yellow Cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

Get my free cake decorating guide
Everything you need to know about decorating a cake like a pro!

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Comments

  1. Well I made it… or I should say I tried. 🙂 It didn’t quite look like that cake but the taste was amazing. Very moist cake, and the icing really is so beautiful and unique. Thank you so much for sharing this!! Seriously such a lovely feeling making from scratch and comes out this good.

  2. Oh Courtney! I love your website and your amazing cake recipes. You’re site is my go to cake recipe place! This chocolate chip cookie cake is by far one of my favorites. I printed this recipe in March but didn’t get to make it until 6 weeks ago (July). Now, I’ve made this cake 4 times in the last 6 weeks for various events and each time, I’m told this is the best tasting cake I’ve ever made – And I’ve made a lot of different cakes! Funny thing is, when I originally printed the recipe, it had 452 grams of butter for the cake, not the 227 grams as it does now. I just caught it today – after making it again. So curious now to try it with 227 grams – might have to stick to the 452! LOL! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  3. I would like make this cake into cupcakes, what would be the baking temps and time be so the crust and cake doesn’t dry out?

  4. Hi! I made this cake for my birthday! It’s a beautiful cake, but the cake itself was kinda dry. It had really good flavor though regardless that it was dry. I’m not sure what I could’ve done differently as I followed the recipe exactly. I did have to bake the cakes an extra 5 minutes because mine weren’t completely done at 30 minutes. :/ Ah, well.

  5. Hi Courtney! I’ve made this cake two times and both times it’s took 36-37 minutes for the cakes to be done & the tops were pretty browned. I didn’t know it that was normal, maybe the pan I am using is affecting it or that I had my oven on Convection. Love the flavor of this cake it’s AMAZING!

  6. I’m going to make a truck-shaped cake for my son’s birthday, but I’m going to use yellow cake for the layers, so I was wondering about what I could do to make it more interesting. I thought I might do a cookie crumb layer and use the brown sugar icing. Can you color this icing fairly easily? I was planning on making a blue and green truck. This icing sounds yummy but I wondered if it would turn a strange color because I’m guessing the icing is a little brown to begin with?

  7. Hello… Love your cakes and I have baked some of them as a challenge my daughters and friends love them.. Thank you… stupid question, all the eggs on the batter it won’t taste eggy?? thank you…
    And thank you again for all the tips and recipes.

  8. Hi Courtney,
    When I was making the crumble layer I noticed that 2 tsp cornstarch weighed 6 grams, not 16. Did you mean tablespoons?

  9. Hey!! I made this cake today. It was so cute and yummy. I have a few questions because I am going to make it again later this month for a birthday party. The cookie crust crumbled around the edges when I took the cake out of the pan. Not too big of a deal since ultimately covered in icing but made it difficult be messy in my kitchen so didn’t know if you had any suggestions… cooking that layer longer? More melted butter? Pressing harder into pan with back of spoon?
    Second thing was the brown sugar syrup for the buttercream. I tried making it twice and both times when I took it off the heat to cool it turned to dry crumbles instead of staying as a syrup to stream into the buttercream. What am I doing wrong??😂I know you prob won’t see this but just in case!!! Thanks !!!

    1. I would definitely press harder and then actually cook a little less time. You could also add a couple extra tablespoons butter if you’d like too. I’m updating that brown sugar recipe for my book, but in the meantime, you can cook the brown sugar for less time and that should help.

  10. Hey Courtney!

    Did you use semi-sweet mini chocolate chips? I HATE semi-sweet but can only find regular size milk chocolate chips— not mini size. Should I use semisweet because the size of the chip really matters or do regular size milk chocolate chips because I like the flavor more?

    Thanks! Excited to try this cake for my daughters 3rd birthday!

    1. You can use regular milk! Just toss them in flour. They still might sink a little to the bottom of the cake because they are bigger.

  11. You mentioned the butter twice in the cake and I wanted to know if it was supposed to be split to be mixed in twice or if I’m misunderstanding

    1. There is butter in the crust and then butter in the cake. I specify how much you need for each element.

  12. How far ahead can I assemble this cake? I need it for a party on November 20 and would like to start making it on November 18

  13. HI Courtney, I was looking through your cake recipes as I am trying to find one for our family birthday party (7 different birthdays) We all our chocolate lovers, however, I have to pre bake the cake and pre make the frostings and then fly to Colorado with them. I watched and read your info on flying with cakes. I will assemble when we get there. I know to freeze the cake layers which will be fine, but wondering if the frosting will freeze well. If not, can you recommend what cake or frosting might be better to pre make, freeze and then fly a 3 hour flight? Looking forward to getting your cookbook.

  14. Hi!
    This was my first recipe of yours I tried, and it will not be my last. This cake was fantastic. The cake was so moist and all the flavors blended so well. Everyone raved about it. My favorite part is the chocolate cookie layer, takes it to the next level! 10/10

  15. When making the buttercream, when do you add the salt? After the butter and before the vanilla? I made the crust and cake layers last night and they turned out GREAT! Making the buttercream today and assembling tomorrow 🙂

  16. Hi Courtney,
    I have a question. Did you recently update this recipe? I made this back in April and I’m either losing my mind, or the icing used to be ABC not Swiss meringue? I swear I don’t remember it being this way a few months ago?

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