Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Cake

I *cannot* get used to cooking for two people. 

It's a bit of a story - but that's the real reason behind this Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter cake!

Seriously, it’s a little ridiculous sometimes. All the recipes I cooked growing up were for our family of 7 – and I CANNOT get the hang of cooking for just two people to save my dang life. 
The number of times I’ve put a 9x13 pan of lasagna, casserole, enchiladas, etc into the oven and thought “Huh. I really didn’t need to make that much food” is many more than I really care to admit. The same tendency spills over into baking.

By default I make the same chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve made for years, which makes about 3 dozen. Then I wonder why I have SO many left! 

Guess I could freeze them, but in this case Pinterest came to my rescue with a different – slightly more exciting solution 😉 I stumbled across a “Homemade Cookie Butter” recipe to use up the remainder of the huge batch of cookies I made!

Once I had a jar of homemade chocolate chip cookie butter, then naturally I had to use it in a cake - and the rest is history! 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Layers:

3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cup  granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon  salt
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature 
5 eggs 
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (or buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!) 
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
-¾ c mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds, and /or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray. 
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. 
Mix bits of room-temperature butter into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter are visible, and the mixture looks crumbly.
Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk on a low speed. Add in vanilla and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height. 

Bake for 35-37 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.

Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.

While you’re waiting, make your cookie butter and/or your frosting! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter: (recipe inspiration from ABeautifulMess)

(Note - I LOVE cookie butter, but it does take a bit of extra work. It WILL be 100% worth it to make your own, but if you’re just wanting to make the cake and short on time, stirring cookie crumbs into about 1 cup of frosting would also work in a pinch!)
-2 cups cookie crumbs (Chips Ahoy cookies work if you'd rather not make them!)
-1/3 stick butter
-1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
-1/4 cup evaporated milk
water as needed 
Place your cookies into a food processor (or a blender like I did) and blend until it forms a very fine powder. You’ll need 2 cups, so just keep blending cookies until you get there (cookies come in all different sizes, so I’m not sure how to give you a count of exactly how many you’ll need). 
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and then stir in your sweetened condensed milk + evaporated milk.
Starting with 1/2 cup of the liquid, pour it into your cookie crumbs and mix together with a spoon. Keep adding small amounts of the liquid until the cookie butter is just wet enough to stay together. 

Once your cookie butter is blended, allow it to cool in the fridge for an hour or so. If it becomes too thick to spread as it cools, add 1/2 teaspoons of water at a time, stirring continuously until you reach a 'peanut butter' consistency. 

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:  
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar  
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.

Additional Supplies/Equipment:
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- Small piping bag (for adding the dam for your filling) 
- Squeeze bottle OR piping bag OR spoon – whatever you’d prefer to add your ganache drip to the cake
Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- about 20 mini chocolate chip cookies for decorating – I made a batch of mini cookies, but Chips Ahoy cookies are about the same size if you want to use those! 
- ¼ c regular-size chocolate chips for decorating (I used my favorite Nestle brand)
- ¼ c mini chocolate chips for decorating

Assembly:

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Fill your piping bag with frosting, and pipe a border of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer. Spread the layer with cookie butter, keeping it inside the rim you piped so it doesn’t smear into your outer frosting layer. This part is optional, but I crumbled a couple of mini cookies and added cookie crumbs and a few chocolate chips in between the layers as well. Go big or go home, right?
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers, adding the final layer on top.

Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. 
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the freezer to set the frosting and ensure that your chocolate ganache drip will set.

Speaking of which… meanwhile, make chocolate ganache for your drip!

Chocolate ganache drip:

12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Add whipping cream and microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half power in 30-second increments until smooth, stirring in between.

When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. A spoon will work;I’ve just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.
Slowly drizzle ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Return cake to the fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to set the drips.

Decorating!

Once the drips have chilled in place, you’re ready to add your decorations! I used a large scoop of cookie butter on top of the cake to hold my pile of mini chocolate chip cookies on top of the cake. I piled them as high as they would stay on top of the cake, and then quartered a couple of the remaining cookies and added them in 2-4 inch intervals around the base of the cake. I added a mix of regular and mini chocolate chips in a ‘large-to-small’ gradient up the side of the cake, and added a few more around the upper rim of the cake. 

Done and done! Enjoy! 

 

(Note – an easier/faster option is to use 2 white cake mixes baked with 1 c butter, 2 c buttermilk, and 6 eggs – combine first 4 ingredients and fold in ¾ c mini chocolate chips before baking. Options! )

Make this Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter cake? Let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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