Tonight Show Cake

Nov 08

Tonight Show Cake – Chocolate cake, caramel cake, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate cookie crumbs and whipped peanut butter frosting.

Inspired by the Tonight Dough Ice Cream, this Tonight Show Cake is made up of chocolate and caramel cake layers, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate cookie crumbs and peanut butter frosting #cakebycourtney #tonightshowcake #tonightdoughicecream


You know those moments when the most amazing idea hits you like a bolt of lightening? You’re not expecting it, and then, “BAM!,” the idea just pops in your head and you’re feeling like the smartest person in the world. Yup, that’s exactly how things went down a couple weeks ago when I had the brilliant idea for this cake. Of course, I can’t take all the credit. Ben & Jerry, along with Jimmy Fallon, come up with the ice cream flavor first. But, I was the one sitting in my kitchen late one night, eating The Tonight Dough ice cream straight from the carton (because there’s no other way to eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), starring at the description, when I realized it needed to become a cake.

If you haven’t heard of the The Tonight Dough ice cream or haven’t had the opportunity to try it, you are missing out and need to run to the nearest grocery store and start hunting it down. It’s a combination of caramel ice cream, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookie crumbs, chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter cookie dough. Mind. Blown. Right?

Inspired by the Tonight Dough Ice Cream, this Tonight Show Cake is made up of chocolate and caramel cake layers, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate cookie crumbs and peanut butter frosting #cakebycourtney #tonightshowcake #tonightdoughicecream

Are you still reading or have you stopped to head to the store? Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back…

 Ok, you’re back…

Cake Brainstorming

For the cake, I wanted to incorporate all the flavors Jimmy, Ben and Jerry put in the ice cream without it being an ice cream cake (I’m not a huge fan of those). It was also important to me to get some different textures throughout the cake. I first decided on caramel and chocolate cake layers. The caramel cake layers are adapted from a Milk Bar recipe I love. They’re light and fluffy and full of caramel flavor. As a contrast to the fluffy, buttery caramel cake, I then added my rich, dark chocolate cake.

With those two cakes as my starting point, I decided to stay true to the ice cream creation and use chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate cookie crumbs to give the cake different textures. Then, I was left with the peanut butter cookie dough element, which I didn’t want to be another cookie dough layer in the cake. Instead, I went with a whipped peanut butter frosting that adds a light, creamy texture to the cake and still incorporates the peanut butter flavor. There’s also a good bit of kosher salt in the chocolate cake, the chocolate crumbs, and the peanut butter frosting that helps offset all the sweetness in the caramel cake and cookie dough. 

Inspired by the Tonight Dough Ice Cream, this Tonight Show Cake is made up of chocolate and caramel cake layers, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate cookie crumbs and peanut butter frosting #cakebycourtney #tonightshowcake #tonightdoughicecream

And just a heads up, since I stacked this cake like a Milk Bar cake, you will have scraps of the cakes once you cut the layers out of the quarter sheet pan. Don’t throw those away! Create mini Tonight Show Cakes inside mason jars by stacking the scraps and left over filling just like you would the cake.



Tonight Show Cake

Yield 1 6-inch round cake

Dark chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate cookie crumbs, whipped peanut butter frosting and caramel cake.


For the Caramel Cake

  • 1/2 cup (113 g)  unsalted butter at room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tbsp (5 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2.8 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150 g) whole milk at room temp
  • 1/2 13.4 can (190 g) dulce de leche

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (165 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g)  vanilla extract
  • 1 cup(120 g)  all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) milk (a little more if your cooking dough isn't spreadable)
  • 1 cup(150 g)  mini chocolate chips​

For the Chocolate Cookie Crumbs

  • 2/3 cup (80 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (2.8 g) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (78.6 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (84.75 g)  unsalted butter, melted

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons (165 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup, minus 2 tablespoons (175 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (54 g)  dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup(120 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (54.5 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (118.3 g) hot water

For the Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons (57.75 g) heavy cream, chilled
  • 3 cups (375 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) (339 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 g) creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy)
  • 1 tablespoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt


For the Caramel Cake

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine and then set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and the sugar. Mix on medium-high speed for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the butter and sugar are mixed well with the eggs. Add the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the dulce de leche and mix for a couple minutes. The mixture will get a little lighter in color.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending with the dry mixture. Mix until just combined.
  7. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.
  8. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. To check if it's done, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger. The cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes it if doesn't pass this test.

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat on medium speed for about one minute until it's light and fluffy.
  2. Add the vanilla, flour and salt and continue to mix until combined.
  3. Gradually add the milk and mix until you get a spreadable consistency.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.

For the Chocolate Cookie Crumb

  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
  4. Spread the clusters on a parchment or silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. the crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.
  5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. stored in an airtight container, they will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

For the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. Spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for about 30 seconds.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients and whisk for a few seconds.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Once all the wet ingredients are added, continue to mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 15 to 30 seconds. Don't over beat this batter.
  5. Pour the batter into a quarter sheet baking pan. Bake the cake for 16-18 minutes.

For the Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds.
  2. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix in, slowly at first until incorporated, then increasing the mixer speed to high. Blend in the heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt, and continue to whip on high speed until very fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Can be made a day or two in advance.


  1. Put a piece of parchment on the counter. Invert chocolate cake onto it and peel off the parchment from the bottom side of the cake. Use a 6-inch cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. 
  2. Repeat step #1 for the caramel cake.
  3. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. (This is essential, as it is going to support the cake as you layer all the amazing elements.)
  4. Place one chocolate cake layer inside the ring.
  5. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/3 of the cookie dough over the caramel cake in an even layer, making sure to spread up against the acetate.
  6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the chocolate cookie crumbs evenly over the cookie dough and use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
  7. Use the back of a spoon to spread about 1/2 cup of the peanut butter frosting evenly over the cookie crumb layer.
  8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall - high enough to support the height of the finished cake.
  9. Set a caramel cake round on top of the peanut butter frosting and repeat the cookie dough, cookie crumb and peanut butter frosting layers.
  10. Repeat with the second layer of chocolate cake and fillings. 
  11. Place the second caramel cake layer on top and spread remaining buttercream on top. Sprinkle a few cookie crumbs over the buttercream. (My chocolate balls are just the cookie crumbs I cooked as giant cookie crumbs).
  12. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and the fillings. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
  13. At least three hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer. Using your fingers and thumb, pop the cake out of the cake ring and gently peel off the acetate. Let it defrost in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours. 

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51 thoughts on “Tonight Show Cake

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  1. Hey Courtney! What size cake pans do you use for this? will the recipe turn out ok if I use a cake pan that’s larger than 6 inches?

    1. Hi Ashlin! You could do this cake in a larger sheet pan (which you’ll see more about that in the instructions) and then cut cake 8″ circles but the layers will be thinner than the 6″ version that you bake in a quarter sheet pan.

  2. Pingback: Birthday Cake
  3. hi Courtney, Would these cake recipes double nicely? I would like to bake the cake in a half sheet pan and do an 8 in cake, but i want the layers to still be as thick as the 6in would be.

  4. Hi
    I just wanted to know, how do you store this in freezer (if keeping for a week) cling wrap the whole thing? and then foil?
    Any tips would be appreciated, this cake is making me hungry!!! 🙂

  5. Hi Courtney,
    I’m making this for hubbys 40th and I’m having a hard time finding a quarter sheet pan that measures 8×11. I’m finding them to be 9×13?? Any recommendations?

  6. Hi Courtney,
    Quick question! The caramel cake… I’ve made it twice now and both times they are very heavy, dense and eggy?? I’ve followed the instructions precisely, does this recipe really call for 5 eggs?

  7. Hi Courtney, quick question!
    For the Caramel cake it calls for 5 eggs, but the instructions say “Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating on medium-high for one minute after each addition. ” Does this mean we separate the eggs? Or is there an additional egg yolk?

  8. What did you use for the cookies decorating the top of this cake? I would love the recipe! I’m making this for my son’s birthday 🙂 but let’s be real, it’s mostly for me.

    1. Yay! And I’m with you! Cake is always for me 🙂 On top of the cake are just cookie crumbs shaped into balls. I took a cookie scoop and made the shapes before baking all the cookie crumbs.

  9. Just wondering what size your “quarter sheet pan” is. I feel like there is a bunch of different sizes. Thanks.

  10. Hello, I am hoping to bake this cake tomorrow, but don’t have the tools to do it milk bar style. I was hoping to just assemble it like a typical cake, will the batter be the same is I bake it individually in 6in pans?

  11. Hi Courtney!

    Have a question with the Carmel cake recipe, I have tried it 4 times now and each time after adding the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, I end up with a mixture that seems to be curdled.(white grainy pieces in it)

    I have added everything very slowly as instructed even slower than instructed this last time, and still can’t get it to not curdle.

    Any advice?

    1. Hi Tim, sorry you’re having issues. So with this one, it can be tricky sometimes, and while we add the ingredients slowly at that point, we then have to turn the mixer up quite a bit. Because there is so much fat and liquid we’re adding, we have to beat it at a high speed for a few minutes to get those ingredients to blend.

  12. Hi Courtney,
    I would like to make this cake in a regular 8-inch cake pan. Is it possible with the recipe or do I have to add another half of the recipe or even double to all of the components inside of the cake?

      1. Thank you! And by doubling the recipe will it make the same amount of layers as the one showed in the image?

      2. Hi! I’m just wondering about the instructions for assembly for this cake. It says to start with a caramel cake layer, then a chocolate, then another caramel layer and then it says you can keep layering or just stop. But your how to video shows putting chocolate on the bottom and uses all 4 layers of cake. If I’m going to use all 4 layers of cake do I need to make more of the other elements to have enough?

  13. The dulce de leche I found at the grocery store says it’s just sweetened condensed milk. Does that sound right?

  14. I am in the process of making this cake now and the caramel cake just came out of the oven. I followed the directions exactly – weighing everything and even timing the mixing. Is 5 eggs correct? The cake is super super dense.

  15. Hi…is it ok to make the cakes a few days ahead and freeze until ready to put the cake together? Hoping to bake on Tuesday, put together on Thursday and serve on Friday night.

      1. Thank you! Made the chocolate cake today…..and the cookie crumbs and PB buttercream. Now I see the caramel cake recipe has changed???? The ingredients listed now are the recipe you recommend? I’m confused!

      2. Just double checking. I can freeze the cake layers for a few days (wrapped in seran wrap and foil), then take out to assemble and then freeze again overnight? the double freeze won’t affect taste or texture of the cake?

  16. This cake looks amazing! Would it be possible to bake the cake batter in round pans? Or will that effect the outcome of the layers? Thank you!

  17. Thanks for this delicious recipe! I think there is a typo in the weight of granulated sugar in the chocolate cake. The volume amount calls for 1 cup minus 2 tbsp, which would weight about 175 g, but the weight listed is only 75 g. Would you mind clarifying which amount is correct?