Welcome to the August Baking Challenge! Get your tall glasses of milk ready because this month we’re making layers upon layers of chocolate chip cookies. There are a few reasons I chose chocolate chip cookie layer cake as the August Baking Challenge:
- National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day is August 4th!
- August is an easygoing month where most of us are on vacation or just soaking up the last weeks of summer. Chocolate chip cookie layer cake is a fun and simple recipe the whole family can prepare and enjoy together. No confusing steps, hours of preparation, or complicated ingredients.
- My husband’s birthday is in August and I needed to test his birthday cake recipe. 😉
- Because it’s chocolate chip cookies + cake together!
Easy + stress-free + and chocolate chip cookies = just what we all need in August.
What Does It Taste Like?
This chocolate chip cookie layer cake tastes like thick chocolate chip cookies. The edges are crispy, the centers are soft. It does not taste like cake.
What you see is a 6-inch 5 layer chocolate chip cookie cake. Given its height, this is literally a chocolate chip cookie skyscraper. Kevin and I shared a slice because it was so much cookie!! But prepared for a large group of hungry people, it definitely fits the bill and I guarantee it’ll be loved by all. Assuming whoever is eating likes chocolate chip cookies and if you don’t like chocolate chip cookies, what is your life?
Since you may not have 6-inch cake pans nor a special occasion for a mile high dessert, try these alternate sizes:
- Make the recipe as is and bake in three 9-inch cake pans. Layers will be thinner than pictured.
- Halve the recipe and bake in two 9-inch cake pans. Layers will be very thin.
- Halve the recipe and bake in three 6-inch cake pans.
I include instructions for each in the recipe notes below. If you’re in the market, however, I use and love these 6-inch cake pans. Many of you encouraged me to try Fat Daddio cake pans and now I’m hooked! What I love about 6-inch layer cakes is that they aren’t as overwhelming as 9-inch layer cakes. You can still have a lot of fun stacking and decorating, but there won’t be an insane amount of cake leftover. I find that most cupcake recipes yielding 12-16 standard cupcakes fit nicely in three 6-inch cake pans. See my 6-inch funfetti cake as an example.
Now that you know what this cookie cake tastes like and the alternate sizes you can bake, let’s discuss the chocolate chip cookie dough.
The Cookie Dough
This cookie dough is essentially my soft chocolate chip cookies recipe, but 1.5x each ingredient amount. There are a few exceptions like the egg and sugars, but it’s basically a little more of each ingredient. I also have these chewy chocolate chunk cookies, but that recipe yielded a very dense cake and things got a little wonky with the extra egg yolk. That recipe is best as regular cookies.
I used 2 heaping cups of mini chocolate chips so there’s a million chips in every bite, but you can use regular chocolate chips instead. Or even flavored baking morsels like butterscotch or peanut butter chips. Have fun with it!
The dough yields about 3 lbs of dough. For a 6-inch 5 layer cake, each layer will have about 9-10 ounces of dough. I weighed them so I could accurately test the recipe, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, just eyeball it.
Can I use this recipe to bake regular chocolate chip cookies? Yes! I recommend chilling the dough for 2 hours prior to baking. The bake time and yield depends on how large you roll the cookies. This is a lot of dough so expect a lot of cookies! (Baking regular chocolate chip cookies does not count towards the August Baking Challenge.)
The edges of the cake pan prevent the cookie cake layers from over-spreading, so there is no need to chill the cookie dough. Just make the cookie dough, divide between your cake pans, and bake.
My number one tip: line the baking pans with parchment paper. Cut parchment paper circles that fit nicely into your greased cake pans, then grease the parchment paper rounds. The edges and bottom like to stick to the pan, but the parchment paper guarantees the cookie cakes will slide out of the pan seamlessly.
Since it’s Kevin’s birthday next week and his all-time favorite dessert is “anything with chocolate and peanut butter,” I chose a chocolate peanut butter frosting for my cookie cake. I include that frosting recipe below because IT IS SO GOOD!!!!!!! but you have plenty of other frosting choices.
Your Choice of Frosting
- Vanilla Buttercream
- Chocolate Buttercream
- Peanut Butter Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Strawberry Frosting
- Rainbow Chip Frosting (yay!)
Each frosting recipe is enough for each of your size options: 6-inch 5 layer cake, 6-inch 3 layer cake, 9-inch 3 layer cake, or a 9-inch 2 layer cake. If making either the 3 layer or 2 layer cake, you’ll have plenty of frosting for the filling, top, and sides. If making a 6-inch 5 layer cake, like the one pictured, you’ll have enough frosting for the filling and top but not quite enough for the sides. That’s ok, it’ll be naked cake style!
Each bite combines thick and soft chocolate chip cookies with creamy peanut butter chocolate frosting, but when served with coffee ice cream, it’s truly dessert nirvana. The 2018 August Baking Challenge is, by far, the most delicious challenge we’ll ever experience and the recipe is so easy that I didn’t find a need to shoot a video tutorial for you. I’m also going on vacation in a couple weeks and haven’t had time, but I figure you can handle something like this. 😉
Join the August Baking Challenge
Make the chocolate chip layer cake as pictured or in the alternate sizes listed in the recipe notes below. Any frosting you love is perfectly acceptable! If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate August Baking Challenge:
- any challenge recipe from the past
- Crème Brûlée – this was my #2 choice for this month, so I’m making it the alternate recipe!
After you bake the cookie cake or alternate recipe, share your photos throughout August using #sallysbakingchallenge on your public Instagram or Twitter, or upload a photo of your recipe to my Facebook page or Facebook group. Or email it to me. By sharing or sending your photo, you’re automatically entered in the $250 giveaway!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer Cake
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini), plus extra for garnish
Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (130g) creamy peanut butter*
- 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
- salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease 6-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the small cookie cakes seamlessly release from the pans.
- Make the cookie cake: Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, beat in the chocolate chips. Dough will be thick and sticky.
- Divide cookie dough between however many cake pans you're using. Press evenly into each. I only have 3 6-inch cake pans, so I baked in batches. If baking in batches, cover any cookie dough that isn't being used and set aside at room temperature.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cake layers are lightly brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Run a sharp knife around the edges, then carefully invert the pan so the warm cookie cake slides out. (At this point you can clean out pans, grease, line with parchment, grease parchment, then bake remaining cakes if needed.) Set the baked cakes on a wire rack to cool completely. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
- Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter together on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and 1 Tablespoon milk. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add another Tablespoon or 2 of milk if frosting is too thick. Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed. (I always add a pinch!)
- Assemble and decorate: Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Continue layering the cake layers and frosting. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides, if there's any leftover for the sides! If desired, top with chocolate chips. Slice and serve.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Make ahead tip: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Let the frosting sit at room temperature to slightly soften for 10 minutes before assembling and frosting. Frosted cake or unfrosted cake layers can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before decorating/serving.
- Alternate sizes: No matter which size cookie cake you make, use the bake time listed as a loose guideline. When the cake layers are lightly brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, they're done. (1) Make the recipe as directed and bake in three 9-inch cake pans for about 22-25 minutes. (2) Halve the recipe and bake in two 9-inch cake pans for about 20 minutes. (3) Halve the recipe and bake in three 6-inch cake pans for about 20-22 minutes.
- If desired, use any of the alternate frosting recipes linked in the post above.
- I don't suggest using a natural style peanut butter for the chocolate peanut butter frosting as it could produce a thick, greasy, or crumbly frosting.
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