A dessert that doesn’t make you choose between cake and cookies – this chocolate chip cookie cake is a dream come true. With delicate chocolate chip sponges, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, a luscious chocolate ganache drip and an overabundance of chocolate chip cookies… there’s nothing not to love about this cake.
This post has been created in collaboration with KitchenAid UK. All opinions expressed in the post are my own… plus, there’s a whole lotta cake – so read on. (For more information you can check out my Disclosure Policy.)
The first time I made this cake was way back in February, for my birthday. It wasn’t perfect. The chocolate chips in the sponges all sunk to the bottom, smoothing out the buttercream frosting was a nightmare, the ganache drip was messy, and the finishing touches were… rough around the edges.
But I turned the sponges upside-down (so all the chips were at the top… is that a chocolate chip equivalent of a glass half-full?), and all the little imperfections aside – I loved the cake, and my colleagues who got to enjoy it certainly had no complaints. I mean, it’s cake AND cookies. What’s not to love?
Since then, I’ve improved the recipe. The chocolate chips are now evenly distributed within the sponges, the buttercream frosting is fluffy and has a smooth finish, the ganache drip is glossy and (dare I say it) perfect, and the overall effect is just… WOWZA.
I am over the moon to be sharing this recipe with you. And it’s only fitting that what was originally my birthday cake is now shared in celebration of another birthday – KitchenAid’s 100th year anniversary. I love my KitchenAid stand mixer, use it constantly and couldn’t imagine my baking adventures without it.
For their 100th year anniversary, KitchenAid have created a special edition of their iconic stand mixer (as well as other appliances), and it’s a thing of beauty – from its vibrant red colour to the heart pattern of its trim, it’s officially my latest kitchen appliance crush. (Yes, that’s a thing.)
But enough of my gushing over kitchen appliances (though, trust me, I could go on)… let’s talk about the chocolate chip cookie cake.
This isn’t a fancy sort of cake. It’s an indulgent, slightly over-the-top showstopper of a dessert, shouting “look at how absolutely fabulous I am” with every inch of its sweet deliciousness. I mean… it’s cake and chocolate chip cookies and luscious chocolate ganache. You know it’s going to be good.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
7 reasons for why you should make the chocolate chip cookie cake ASAP
1. The chocolate chip sponges – The sponges walk the line between fluffy and dense: they’re fluffy and buttery enough to melt in your mouth, but dense and sturdy enough to be able to stack them in a layer cake without fear of it collapsing. The light brown sugar gives them a wonderful caramel-y undertone, and the burst of chocolate from the chocolate chips makes them… perfect.
2. The fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream frosting – Yes, that’s a separate reason all on its own. I love Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s less sweet compared to American buttercream, allowing the flavours to shine through. And because it has meringue as its basis, it’s SO FLUFFY!
3. The luscious chocolate ganache drip – I mean… it’s chocolate and it makes the cake extra pretty. Need I say more?
4. ALL THE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES – When it comes to decorating the cake, go nuts with the chocolate chip cookies. Seriously. Crumble them up to make a “collar” round the bottom of the cake, decorate the top of the cake with as many cookies as you can… go wild. You could even crumble some cookies in between the sponge and buttercream layers! No such thing as too many cookies.
5. It’s gluten free – Yes, the cake is gluten free! Now, if that isn’t a requirement for you, just use regular all-purpose flour instead (and omit xanthan gum). But if you’re making it gluten free, make sure you’re also decorating it with gluten free chocolate chip cookies (such as my gluten free tahini chocolate chip cookies).
6. Actually really easy to make – It may look impressive, but if you know a few tricks (and I’ll tell you all about those below), this cake is a breeze to make. Promise.
7. It’s DROP DEAD GORGEOUS – Just look at it!!! Does it get any better than this?!
How do you make the chocolate chip sponges?
The basis of the chocolate chip sponges is the perfect gluten free vanilla sponge recipe (even if I do say so myself). The ingredients for the sponges are the usual suspects we encounter time and time again – and you probably have all of them in your pantry already!
(For the full recipe, including ingredient quantities, scroll down to the bottom of the page.)
- plain gluten free flour blend
- almond flour
- xanthan gum
- baking powder
- a mix of light brown and caster/superfine sugar
- pinch of salt
- unsalted butter
- eggs (and a few more egg whites)
- lemon juice
- as many chocolate chips as your heart desires
To make the chocolate chip sponges:
- Sift together all the dry ingredients (including sugar).
- Add the softened unsalted butter and mix it into the dry ingredients until you get a texture resembling coarse sand – preferably using a pretty KitchenAid mixer (obviously).
- Add the wet ingredients, and mix until you get a smooth batter.
- Transfer the batter into lined (or greased) cake tins in several layers, scattering chocolate chips on top of each layer as you go (more on this below!).
As in the raspberry sheet cake and the AMAZING gluten free lemon drizzle cake, we’re using the so-called “reverse creaming method” to make our sponges. It’s great because it gives a very delicate, melt-in-your-mouth cake crumb with an even aeration.
Basically what that means, is that the air holes/bubbles in the sponge are smaller and even in size – and the sponge is slightly denser compared to one prepared by the “standard creaming method” (where you cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs, etc.). Therefore, the reverse creaming method works wonderfully for layer cakes, where the sponges have to be sturdy enough to be stacked on top of each other – as well as totally delicious, obviously.
How do you prevent the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of the cakes?
In my first attempt at making this cake, all the chocolate chips sank to the bottom. It was a sad sight to behold. But with just a few SIMPLE tweaks, I’ve managed to get my chocolate chips to be evenly distributed throughout the sponges – no more sinking to the bottom!
Here are the tips and tricks that will prevent the chocolate chips from sinking as your sponges bake:
- Use mini chocolate chips (or, if you can’t get hold of those, just roughly chop up regularly sized chocolate chips). The reason is simple: gravity. The larger (and therefore the heavier) the chocolate chips, the greater their tendency to sink to the bottom of the batter.
- Toss the chocolate chips in flour BUT lightly wet them first. Tossing them in flour when they’re dry means that only a very small amount of flour sticks to them. What I’ve found works much better, is to first sprinkle them with some water and then mix them with a tablespoon or so with flour.
- Don’t mix the chocolate chips into the batter, but rather transfer the batter into the cake tin in several layers, sprinkling each layer with the chocolate chips as you go. It’s an additional failsafe… and when it comes to chocolate chips not sinking – better safe than sorry! (This is serious business, you guys!)
Assembling the chocolate chip cookie cake
So we’ve made our sponges (with perfectly distributed chocolate chips, obviously), whipped up a batch of vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, prepped the chocolate ganache drip and have chocolate chips ready for decorating.
Now, for the fun part – assembling the cake!
Start by stacking the sponges together with (generous) layers of buttercream in between.
Then, frost the top and sides of the cake with the Swiss meringue buttercream. Make it nice and smooth and pretty.
Next, crumble up some chocolate chip cookies and made a collar of cookie chunks around the bottom of the cake (if a few cookies disappear into your mouth in that time… nobody’s judging).
Because with chocolate, more is 100% more, we’ll also add a gorgeous chocolate ganache drip down the sides. I like to use a squeeze bottle to do this, but you can also just use a spoon. Go crazy, get chocolatey – and have fun.
And the final crowning glory: a chocolate chip cookie or two (or three… or ten) goes on top of the cake – just in case there were any doubts that this is indeed a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE CAKE.
Now, tell me: doesn’t it look drop dead gorgeous?
This is hands down one of my favourite cakes. It’s delicious, pretty, playful AND it doesn’t make you choose between cake and cookies. Definitely a win-win-win(-win) situation in my books.
So get baking. I hope you love this cake as much as I do – it’s a joy not only to eat but also to make… especially if you have a good ol’ trusty KitchenAid stand mixer to help you along.
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake (Gluten Free)
For chocolate chip sponges:
- 2 1/2 cups (300 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum)
- 1 cup (96 g) almond flour
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan)
- 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) caster/superfine sugar
- 1 3/4 sticks (200 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 medium eggs, room temperature
- 3 medium egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup (240 mL) milk, room temperature
- 6 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup (100 - 150 g) chocolate chips (for best results, use mini chocolate chips)
For Swiss meringue buttercream:
- 8 medium egg whites
- 1 3/4 cups (350 g) caster/superfine sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 3 1/2 sticks (400 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
For chocolate ganache drip:
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (90 mL) double/heavy cream
- 2 oz (60 g) dark chocolate, chopped (I recommend using chocolate with 60%+ cocoa solids)
You will also need:
- chocolate chip cookies of choice for decoration
For chocolate chip sponges:
- Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line three 6 inch (15 cm) round cake tins with baking/greaseproof paper (or you just can grease and flour them lightly).
- In a large bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum and baking powder. Add the sugar and salt, and mix until combined.
- Add the softened butter and, using either a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer with the double beater attachments, work the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a texture resembling coarse sand.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, egg whites, milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry+butter mixture, and whisk/mix well until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.
- To prepare the chocolate chips: Sprinkle the (mini) chocolate chips with some water (~1/2 tsp), and then mix them with a tablespoon or so with flour. Make sure they're all thoroughly coated in flour.
- Transfer the cake batter into the prepared cake tins. I recommend doing this in several layers, sprinkling each layer with the flour-coated chocolate chips. This will reduce the risk of the chips sinking to the bottom during baking.Smooth out the top, sprinkle with any remaining chocolate chips, and bake in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 35 - 37 minutes or until risen, golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.If the sponges start browning too quickly or too much, cover them with aluminium foil and continue baking until done.
- Allow the sponges to cool in the cake tins for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tins, and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
For Swiss meringue buttercream:
- Mix the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl, and set the bowl above a pot of simmering water.
- Heat the meringue mixture with constant stirring until it reaches 150 ºF (65 ºC) and the sugar has melted.
- Transfer the heated meringue mixture into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer with the double beater attachment) and whisk the mixture for 5 - 7 minutes, until it reaches room temperature and forms glossy peaks. Do not over-whisk as you can lose some of the fluffiness. (NOTE: The meringue must be at room temperature before you start adding the butter – otherwise, you'll get a soup and not a deliciously fluffy buttercream!)
- Add the butter, 1 - 2 tbsp at a time, while constantly whisking/beating at medium speed. If using a stand mixer, I prefer to switch to a paddle attachment for this step.
- Continue until you've used up all the butter.The buttercream will probably look like it's split at some stage (or it might become very runny, almost "soupy") – don't worry, that's normal. Just continue adding the butter and whisking/beating. The buttercream will eventually become velvety smooth. Be careful not to over-beat it, though – you will lose the air (and fluffiness) from the original meringue!
- Add the salt and vanilla, and whisk/beat briefly until evenly incorporated.
- Set aside until needed.
For chocolate ganache drip:
- Place the chopped dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. Heat the double/heavy cream until only just boiling (either on the stove or in the microwave), then pour it over the chocolate.
- Allow to stand for 2 - 3 minutes, then stir well until you get a smooth glossy ganache.
- Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Assembling the cake:
- Stack the sponges together with generous layers of buttercream in between.
- Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining white buttercream, creating an even smooth layer.If your buttercream isn't perfectly smooth, you can use a cake smoother (metal bench scraper) dipped in hot water (and dried) to create a super smooth surface by "melting" the outermost buttercream. Do this gently – you want to smooth away any imperfections, not completely melt your frosting.
- Chill the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes - 1 hour.
- Once chilled, decorate the bottom third of the cake with the chocolate chip cookie crumbs, creating a "collar" around the bottom of the cake.
- Check the consistency of the chocolate ganache. It should be runny enough to drip, but not too hot (otherwise it will melt the buttercream). If it's too thick, heat it up briefly in the microwave.For the easiest (and prettiest) drip, transfer the chocolate ganache into a squeeze bottle.Create the chocolate drip: first allow the chocolate ganache to gently run down the sides, then fill out the top of the cake by drizzling on more ganache and smoothing it out with an offset spatula.
- Decorate the top of the cake with chocolate chip cookies.
- That's it! Enjoy!
- The cake keeps well in a closed container or wrapped in cling film, in the fridge (or a cool dry place) for 3 - 4 days.