Dorothy Kern's Three-Layer Cookie Cake

Three-Layer Cookie Cake

Three-Layer Cookie Cake

By Dorothy Kern

This is an epic cake for a cookie lover. A few summers ago, my husband and I renewed our wedding vows, and instead of having cake at the reception, I made a version of this. If someone you know doesn’t love cake but you want to make them a special treat, this is the one to make. I used one large cookie base to make three different flavors for the three layers and added frosting and sprinkles for good measure. I think if I had to choose only one birthday cake to have for the rest of my life, this would be it.

Yield: 16 servings
Prep time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes


For the Cookie Cake

1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (200 g) packed brown sugar
2/3 cup (134 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (372 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (510 g) chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup (65 g) rainbow sprinkles

For the Frosting

1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups (452 g) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 3 tablespoons (15 to 45 ml) heavy whipping cream


Make the Cookie Cake 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line three 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make the base cookie dough by stirring together the melted butter with brown and granulated sugars in a large bowl. You can do this with a spatula or wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Stir in the eggs, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt; then slowly stir in the flour until combined.
  3. Divide the dough into three equal portions. Stir 1 cup chocolate chips into one portion; press into one of the prepared pans. Stir ¾ cup (128 g) chocolate chips and the sprinkles into the second portion; press in the prepared pan.
  4. Place 1/4 cup (42 g) chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat on 50 percent power in 30-second increments, stirring between each until the chocolate is melted and smooth (about 2 to 3 minutes total). Stir the melted chocolate into the third portion of cookie dough. Add remaining 1 cup (170 g) chocolate chips and stir, and then press into the third prepared pan.
  5. Bake all three pans for 28 to 34 minutes or until lightly golden and no longer glossy on the top. Cool completely before frosting.

Note: If you only have two 8-inch (20 cm) pans, you can bake the first two and then cool for 10 minutes in pan; then remove to add the remaining cookie dough to bake.

Make the Frosting

  1. Cream the butter in a very large bowl with an electric mixer. Mix in the powdered sugar, 1 cup (113 g) at a time, until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth and fluffy, adding more cream as needed for desired consistency.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Place one layer on the cake plate and frost, making sure the frosting goes to the edges. Top with the second layer and repeat. Place third layer on top.
  2. Frost the top of the cake as desired or place remaining frosting in a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip. Frost around the edges and dust with sprinkles.
  3. Store loosely covered for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from Crazy for Cookies, Brownies, and Bars: Super-Fast, Made-from-Scratch Sweets, Treats, and Desserts by Dorothy Kern, Harvard Common Press (February 1, 2022).

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