Soft Cakey Sugar Cookies

These soft cakey sugar cookies are topped with creamy pastel pink buttercream and sprinkles. Sour cream is the secret ingredient to this simple and delicious drop sugar cookie recipe!

These soft cakey sugar cookies are topped with creamy pastel pink buttercream and sprinkles. Sour cream is the secret ingredient! Recipe on

I used to turn my nose up at cakey cookies. Cookies should be dense and textured with crispy crackly edges and chewy centers. Cookies should not be little cakes suffering an identity crisis. I knew my strict mindset (and tastebuds!) wouldn’t benefit me when writing Sally’s Cookie Addiction, so I began working on a few cakey cookies that I loved. (Soft maple cookies on page 184!)

From that point, there were red velvet whoopie pies, chocolate whoopie pies, and homemade black and white cookies. And then I tasted my friend’s lemon ricotta cookies, easily one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. Soon after I baked blueberry muffin cookies and lost my mind over their cakelike perfection.

Which brings us to today.

These soft cakey sugar cookies are topped with pink buttercream and sprinkles! Drop sugar cookie recipe on

These soft cakey sugar cookies are topped with pink buttercream and sprinkles! Drop sugar cookie recipe on

These sweet cookies are light, airy, and tender. They’re flavored with vanilla and a little almond, topped with buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles, and are drop-style so you don’t need to break out the rolling pin. (We all love sugar cookies, but sometimes you just need to use a cookie scoop!)

They’re my homemade version of the fan-favorite Lofthouse cookies sold on grocery store shelves. I say that loosely because they aren’t identical since they’re from-scratch without the long list of unrecognizable ingredients!

Let’s learn how to bake these soft cakey sugar cookies.

How to make soft cakey sugar cookies on

How to Make Cakey Sugar Cookies

To make a cookie cakey, you need moisture. The more moisture in your cookie dough, the softer, fluffier, and more tender it will taste. Butter is your best friend, eggs are fantastic, but what’s crucial for cake-like cookies is an additional liquid or liquid-y solid. Today that special ingredient is sour cream. While supplying the cookie dough with moisture, the sour cream also gives us an intensely creamy cookie with rich flavor. It is, without a doubt, the main player in these cakey sugar cookies.

The rest of the ingredients are familiars. We’ve got the usual gang like flour, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and leaveners. The sugar cookies are buttery and sweet with a subtle tang, but what comes forward the most is the combination of vanilla and almond extracts. Sugar cookies have the tendency to taste a little flat and boring, but using just enough vanilla extract and a hint of almond adds a much needed layer of flavor.

The dough is a cookie dough/cake batter hybrid. It’s creamy and silky like cake batter, but very thick like cookie dough. This consistency makes it impossible for rolling out and shaping with cookie cutters, so if you’re looking for a cut-out sugar cookie with a similar flavor and texture, try my super soft cream cheese cookies.

The cookie dough requires 1 hour in the refrigerator before baking. I tried only 30 minutes in my first batch and the cookies were noticeably flatter. 1 hour of chilling helps guarantee a thick cookie that holds its shape in the oven.

How to make soft cakey sugar cookies on

How to make soft cakey sugar cookies on

To make your cookie baking experience easier (and less messy!) I recommend a cookie scoop as the dough is pretty sticky. Each cookie is 1.5 Tablespoons of dough, so this medium cookie scoop is perfect.

Decorating Sugar Cookies

These fat and fluffy sugar cookies are nice on their own, but SO MUCH BETTER all dolled up. If there’s an opportunity for buttercream, we should take it and since pink is my spirit color, I tinted the frosting dusty rose. Isn’t she lovely? (By the way, these are naturally colored rainbow sprinkles. I love them!)

I used my vanilla buttercream recipe for topping, but if you have the itch for another flavor, try chocolate buttercream, strawberry frosting, or even lemon buttercream. These sugar cookie cakelettes scream childhood and I have a feeling little bakers will love adorning each cookie with frosting and sprinkles, so grab your kids for this one and have fun!

Pink buttercream frosting for sugar cookies on

These soft cakey sugar cookies are topped with pink buttercream and sprinkles! Drop sugar cookie recipe on

Sugar Cookie Recipes Comparison

These soft cakey sugar cookies are topped with pink buttercream and sprinkles! Drop sugar cookie recipe on

Soft Cakey Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Yield: 36-40 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These soft cakey sugar cookies are topped with creamy pastel pink buttercream and sprinkles. Sour cream is the secret ingredient to this simple and delicious drop sugar cookie recipe!


  • 3 cups (370g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 235g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • vanilla buttercream and sprinkles for decorating*


  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. The mixture may look curdled; that’s ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until combined. The dough will be very thick, creamy, and silky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour and up to 2-3 days.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. Measure cookies to be 1.5 Tablespoons each. I recommend this cookie scoop. Arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until a cookie springs back when lightly poked with your finger. (That’s how I test them!) Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Prepare frosting (I use this vanilla buttercream) and spread onto each cooled cookie. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.
  7. Frosted cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (see step 2), but you can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Unfrosted cookies freeze well for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Cookie Scoop | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheets | Cooling Rack | Americolor Pastel Kit | Naturally Colored Sprinkles
  3. Sour Cream: Sour cream is a key ingredient in these cookies. For the best flavor and texture, I strongly recommend full-fat sour cream, but in a pinch light sour cream can work. Do not use fat free. Plain full-fat yogurt can be substituted. I don’t suggest subbing the sour cream with a liquid.
  4. Why Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information. It really makes a difference!
  5. Pink Frosting: In these photos, I tinted the buttercream with 1 small drop dusty rose gel food coloring and topped with these natural color rainbow sprinkles.
  6. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

These soft cake-like sugar cookies are topped with creamy pastel pink buttercream and sprinkles. Sour cream is the secret ingredient! Recipe on


  1. I made this recipe last week. The cookies were amazing – everyone loved them!! And I really enjoyed them myself. I did find them a bit hard to scoop, so I ended up with a lot of weirdly shaped cookies. Maybe next time I’ll leave it in the fridge longer to get more evenly shaped cookies when I scoop them out. But great taste! If you are reading this, I definitely recommend serving and eating at room temperature, because the taste is better compared to eating straight out of the fridge (though it is still very tasty directly from the fridge).

    I tried to make your vanilla buttercream recipe, but I did not like how it tasted. There was a very apparent aftertaste that was not very pleasant. So instead I just bought a jar of store bought vanilla icing and mixed it in with some cream cheese. It tasted great with these cookies! thanks sally!

  2. Hi Sally. I made these cookies yesterday and they turned out great. Exactly like a cakey sugar cookie. I did not make the buttercream. I just covered them with powdered sugar. Thanks for another great recipe.

  3. Hey Sally, I was wondering if I should make any adjustments for high altitude baking? If you know that would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Alex, I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful:

  4. Can’t wait to make these! However, I don’t have almond extract. Is it ok to leave it out? Should I sub it for more vanilla extract? Thanks for all your help!

    1. Hi Monica! You can just leave out the almond extract completely (though I really do recommend it for best flavor!). No need to replace with vanilla extract, though you certainly can for extra vanilla flavor.

  5. This worked out really well for me I used this recipe to break in my brand new Kitchen Aid Mini and it handled the batter super well!
    Could have left them in the fridge longer as they spread a bit.. but my coworkers had no complaints.

  6. Hi Sally. These look delicious.
    Is this recipe in one of your cookbooks?
    Please let me know. Are you going to have
    Anymore cookbook giveaways soon so I could
    Try and win one or two for myself. I am thinking baking addiction and cookie addiction cookbooks Please.
    Please let me know.
    Have a wonderful day.

    1. Hi Heather! No, this recipe is exclusive to my blog. I have separate recipes for my cookbooks. You can print this recipe out (without the blog post text) using the print button. I’ll have more giveaways on my blog for my books this year, so check back. You can join my email list so you are always alerted when I have a new blog post up.

  7. Absolutely outstanding cookies! They were soft, sweet, and delicious. I followed the directions exactly and made the buttercream icing that was suggested. My 4 yo granddaughter and 2 yo grandson helped me make these. They loved them and were so proud of the delicious cookies they made. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  8. I used my scale to measure & everything was at room temperature when I made this batter last night at 7pm and refrigerated it until 11am. The dough was super sticky & didn’t want to come off the cookie scoop, so the cookies didn’t come out very round. The cookies didn’t spread evenly; some were bigger than others. And, strangely, one of the cookies sort of exploded on the pan. It flopped to the side and ran into the other cookies leaving behind a pool of burnt butter. I took a picture. Why in the world would one cookie have a problem?

    1. Hi Laura! When that happens, it’s usually a lump of butter that hasn’t been mixed into the cookie dough. Happens to me with any cookie recipe too.

    1. Hi Melissa! Yes, it’s plenty unless you spread on a super thick layer of frosting! In that case, double the frosting recipe.

  9. I’d love to say I liked these. I spent time and money and they looked good in the picture. I followed the recipe to a tee and they were easy, but they tasted like bread with a little almond flavoring. My husband, who never thinks anything is bad, even said “Yeah…. not a cookie…bread.” Did I possibly do something wrong?

  10. I would like to take these somewhere and I’m wondering if the frosting “sets” after a while so they could possibly be stacked on top of each other.

    1. Hi Victoria! The frosting sets and the cookies are definitely stackable, but the frosting will still get a little sticky from the pressure of the cookies on top of one another.

  11. These cookies are heaven! I’ve made a soft bake cookie before that didn’t turn out well, and these are far superior. I’m making them with green frosting and rainbow sprinkles for St. Patrick’s Day!

  12. Hi Sall! I have made these same cookies and they were a great! My nieces love them. So I have a question for you I want to make them a lemon suger cookie, would I have to omit almond flavoring to add lemon juice or can the recipe stay the same?

    1. Hi Theresa! For a lemon version, I recommend replacing the almond extract with lemon extract. You can also add some lemon zest too. The recipe may require a little extra flour if using lemon juice because you’ll need more than 1 teaspoon to supply enough flavor.

  13. These turned out more like flat cupcakes than cookies, not sure what went wrong ‍♀️ Everything else I have tried on this website has turned out amazing though

  14. Hi Sally. Definitely going to try making these. Just hope they’ll come out as good as yours. I’ll let you know when I’ve made them. I have to make rice krispie treats first.

  15. These look delicious! I used to love the loft house cookies but I don’t eat them anymore bc of all the artificial sugars/flavorings in them, so these would be a perfect thing for me to bake! I would love to bake these today but unfortunately I only have low fat (not full fat or fat free) yogurt. Would that be ok in place of the sour cream? If not how would the texture change? Thank you so much, I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    1. Hi Emily! You can definitely use low fat plain yogurt here. The cookies may not be AS soft– but still pretty cakey and light!

  16. First sugar cookies I’ve ever made! I had a couple of mishaps with these, but since everything I’ve ever baked on this site has been stellar I’m certain it was me not the recipe . Anyway, when I took the batter from the fridge, it was really sticky and not very doughy, and there were still several clumps of butter-sugar in there that hadn’t incorporated. I was concerned but i put some on the pan and baked. oops! They spread like crazy, and two of them completely melted into each other. I was a bit confused because I had refrigerated them for three hours. Maybe my butter was too soft? (I had to warm it a bit in the microwave but it didn’t melt.) After that I thought I was going to have to dump everything BUT I had an idea lol: I put little balls of cookie dough in my muffin pan and make mini sugar cookies! It worked perfectly, the muffin tin cups stopped my dough from spreading and they were soft in the inside and chewy on the outside, perfect! I cooked them in there for 15 mins. I frosted them with the vanilla buttercream, which was delicious but had little chunks of butter in there too, maybe it’s my mixer? I tossed it in the microwave for a few seconds and it was perfect after that. Anyway, I’m so happy to have the mini cookies (it made 48), I bagged them up in twos this morning to give out to customers at our ninja warrior gym. They are so, so delicious- better than store bought, with that perfect hint of almond and perfect texture! Sorry for the long review, I’m just so happy these turned out well! Thank you for all of your amazing recipes- i will be making these again and again!

    1. You can! I recommend first freezing them in a single layer on a baking sheet until the frosting is really solid, and then placing them in an airtight container to store in the freezer.

  17. I wish to make these cookies as a maple walnut cookie with a maple glaze,
    How do I change and adapt this recipe to fit with the right measurements ?

  18. Like every Sally’s recipe, these turned out amazing. I had some nominal issues with the rack location within my oven but it didn’t change the taste at all! The paired icing was a bit sweet but I bet it’ll be good once it’s hardened a little in the morning!

    I intended to freeze half of the dough for another time, but got too excited about the texture of the first sheet of cookies that I used the second half to do a test bake of folding in mini chocolate chips, dried cherries and PB2. Those turned out amazing, too!

      1. Thank you so much for responding! I will definitely do that after I bake this recipe because they just look too good! Thank you

  19. I made this recipe today. I used full fat Greek yogurt. These cookies are delicious and even better after you get the icing on. I have a crowd that I sometimes have to fight off before I get to icing, worth it for this recipe. The buttercream was so easy to put together. I have been addicted to the rolled sugar cookies with royal icing but preparing those feels like such a process. I’m so glad I found a new easy fix. Thank you!

1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Recipes You’ll Love



Sally's Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More

Sally's Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

Sally's Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally