Your childhood cake dreams have been answered with this delicious chocolate chip cookie dough cake! It has moist chocolate chip vanilla cake layers with a silky smooth cookie dough-style frosting and scoops of edible cookie dough on top. Made gluten free and paleo-friendly too!
Where are my cookie dough lovers? Personally, I'm a huge cookie dough gal. I even have my own edible cookie dough recipe! It's been my go-to ice cream flavor since I was a kid. I mean what's not to love - chunks of cookie dough in creamy ice cream with chocolate chips everywhere? That's a child's dream come true if you ask me!
But guess what else is amazing - CAKE! So why not combine the two and create an epic cookie dough cake recipe?!
Three heavenly components make up this cookie dough layer cake:
- Chocolate chip vanilla cake layers - the three-tiers of this layer cake are made with a moist sweet vanilla cake featuring sprinkles of chocolate chips throughout.
- Cookie dough frosting - using flavors like vanilla and a little nut butter to provide a cookie dough-style flavoring, this icing tastes just like cookie dough!
- Edible vegan cookie dough on top — because every cake deserves to be extra, why not add some edible cookie dough pieces on top?! Unlike typical raw cookie dough, it's easy to make and safe to eat straight from the bowl.
Cake Ingredient Notes
Below is a list of everything you need to make this the best cookie dough cake and some substitute recommendations:
- Almond and Coconut flour - this combination of flours creates a fluffy and moist cake. If needed, you can substitute the coconut flour for tapioca flour or arrowroot starch.
- Coconut sugar - to add a little sweetness to the cake batter. The flavor also adds a slight caramel taste that elevates the cookie dough flavor!
- Almond butter - this not only ensures the cake is moist but also helps provide a cookie dough flavor. Any nut butter will work - cashew butter would be the next best option. Peanut butter is also great. However, to keep this paleo-friendly, stick to almond or cashew.
- Coconut milk + Apple cider vinegar - this is also known as 'vegan buttermilk' and is what helps the cake mix rise. No, you won't taste the apple cider vinegar at all. You can also use lemon juice if needed in place of the apple cider vinegar.
Step by Step Directions
Here is how to make the chocolate chip vanilla cake.
Step 1 : Make the vegan buttermilk. First, place the full-fat coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Whisk well with a fork to break up the coconut milk. Set aside.
Step 2 : Combine the wet ingredients. Next, grab a large bowl, and add the eggs, coconut sugar, almond butter, and vanilla extract. Beat well with a whisk or an electric mixer on low speed until it's creamy and thick. This step can take a minute or two.
Add the coconut milk mixture, and stir it into the batter. The mixture should have a peanut butter color to it and will be slightly thick.
Step 3 : Fold in the dry ingredients. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and baking powder to the bowl of wet ingredients. Fold the ingredients into the batter with a rubber spatula until they are fully incorporated. Be sure not to over-mix!
Step 4 : Add the chocolate chips. Finally, pour in the chocolate chips, and stir them into the batter. I found that mini-chocolate chips work best in this cookie dough cake recipe.
Step 5 : Bake. Pour the batter into three greased 6-inch pans. If you want to make a different-sized cake other than a three-tiered 6-inch cake, check out these other options.
Bake in the oven until the edges of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan as each cake bakes. It's also a good idea to stick a toothpick in the center of the cake to check its doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, it's done. If there is some residual batter on the toothpick, it needs a few more minutes in the oven.
Let the separate cakes cool before icing.
Icing Ingredients and Notes
To make the cookie dough icing, here is what you need:
- Grass-fed unsalted butter - this is a vanilla buttercream-style icing. Therefore, we need butter. I prefer to use grass-fed butter, but if desired vegan butter will work as well. When making the icing, your butter should be at room temperature for the best results.
- Almond butter - the sweet nutty flavor actually makes the icing have a cookie dough taste to it! Like the cake, any nut butter will work (I recommend cashew butter). Just make sure it's "creamy" style and not chunky.
- Coconut sugar and Powdered sugar - we use a little coconut sugar to add a hint of caramel to the icing which actually results in a cookie dough flavor. I prefer high-quality powdered sugar for the icing but, to make this paleo, monk fruit powdered sugar will work as well. Monk fruit is slightly sweeter. So, I recommend starting with half of what is called for and adding more as needed.
How to make the cookie dough buttercream
You will need a hand or stand mixer to make this cookie dough icing.
Step 1 : Beat the butter. First, beat the room-temperature butter with the coconut sugar, almond butter, and vanilla. Mix on medium-high speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you do this.
Step 2 : Add the powdered sugar. Next, add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time while continuing to beat the mixture. Mix until the icing is creamy and light. If it's too thick and a little dense, add a tablespoon of nut milk or water, and continue to beat.
How to ice the cake
There is an art form to icing a cake and it's actually a lot easier than you think! For this cake, the best way is to do a crumb coat and then add the final layer of icing. I walk you through each step below:
Place the first cake layer on your cake stand. Layer with a large scoop of icing. The icing in between the cake layers should be quite thick. This layer of icing also doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. Just make sure it's even an even layer so one side isn't lopsided.
Repeat this with the second layer of cake. Then, add the third layer, and leave it bare on top as the crumb coat comes next!
The crumb coat
A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing spread over the cake and is used to "seal" the crumbs. Have you ever tried to ice a cake and find that the icing keeps pulling off bits of the cake (aka crumbs)? It's not pretty. The way you mitigate this is with a crumb coat!
Add a large scoop of icing on top of the cake. Then, using an uneven spatula, brush it over the entire cake - over the top and down the sides. You'll find little pieces of crumb will be picked up in the icing. This is what we want!
The most important thing with the crumb coat is to not put your spatula back in the icing bowl. This will disburse the crumbs into perfectly good icing. As you scrape the icing off the cake, put the excess in a separate small bowl.
Once the crumb coat is on, place the cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set. This can also be done in the fridge, but it may take a few additional minutes. The purpose of this part is to seal the crumbs into that layer of icing.
While the crumb coat is setting, prepare the edible cookie dough.
Edible cookie dough
To make the cookie dough used to decorate the top of your cake, mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips together in a bowl.
Then fold in the chocolate chips. Again, mini chocolate chips work best for this part. Stir the batter to disburse the chocolate chips. Set aside while you finish icing the cake.
The final layer of icing
Once the crumb coat is set, it's time to put on the top layer of icing.
As you did with the crumb coat, spoon a large dollop of icing on top of the cookie dough cake. Brush a thick coat of icing all over the outside of the cake with an uneven spatula. As you can see from the image above, this layer should be a lot thicker than the crumb coat.
Decorating the cake
Finally, decorate the cake with scoops of the edible cookie dough on top. You can also crumble up the cookie dough and scatter it on top and along the bottom of the cake. I sprinkled some extra chocolate chips along the bottom.
Once the cake is decorated, cut it into slices and enjoy the perfect cake!
Different ways to make this cookie dough cake
I made this cake with three 6-inch layers, however, there are a few other ways you can make this cake:
- 2 layer 8-inch cake pans - The only thing you'll need to alter for a two-tier cake is the cooking time. Because the layers will be bigger the cake will require a little longer in the oven to bake. Start with 50 minutes and check the done-ness with a toothpick. Your cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean!
- Sheet cake - This recipe will make a 9 x 13 inch sheet cake as well. To make this into a sheet cake, it will need to bake for at least 50 minutes in the oven. Again, insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake to make sure it is done. I also highly suggest using a baking pan for this and not a glass pan as this significantly affects the baking time for the cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
This cake needs to be stored in an airtight container. It will last about 4 days sitting out on the counter and about a week in the fridge. I personally prefer storing it in the fridge as it cools and solidifies the icing, giving it more of a cookie dough feel.
This cake makes 12 large slices and about 18 - 20 standard cake slices.
The only alternative I would recommend using for the almond flour is a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour. Do not use cake flour.
The coconut flour is used in this recipe to cut some of the density from the almond flour. You can also use tapioca flour or arrowroot starch as a substitution if preferred.
For more delicious cakes, check out my
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake
For the Cake
- 1 ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cup coconut sugar - or brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon almond butter - any nut butter will work
- 3 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips - I used these dairy free chips
For the Cookie Dough Icing
- 1 cup butter - room temperature (sub.vegan butter)
- ½ cup coconut sugar - or brown sugar
- ⅓ cup creamy almond butter - any nut butter will work
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar - sifted
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl whisk together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, coconut sugar, vanilla, and almond butter until creamy. Add the coconut milk and apple cider mixture and continue to mix.
- Slowly fold in the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt until no flour clumps remain. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into three 6-inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper or greased with oil. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted in the middle and come out clean.
- While the cake cools, prepare the cookie dough icing .
For the Cookie Dough Icing
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter, coconut sugar, and almond butter together until creamy. Add the vanilla and 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and continue to mix.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If the icing it too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add a tablespoon milk. Set aside while you make the cookie dough to go on top.
For the Vegan Cookie Dough
- In a small bowl, mix together all cookie dough ingredients until no flour clumps remain. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
- To assemble, take 1 cake layer and place in the center of your cake stand. Spoon a large dollop of icing on top and spread across the top to create a thick layer of icing. Leave some icing hanging over the sides as this will be used to create a "crumb coat" before we ice the entire cake.
- Layer on the remaining 2 cake piece and repeat step 1. Create a "crumb coat" around the sides and on top of the cake with an uneven spatula or cake knife. This is simply a really thin layer of icing that is used to set the crumbs in place. Place the cake in the fridge or freezer for about 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- After the crumb coat is set, ice the cake with the remaining icing. With a small cookie scoop, dollop the edible cookie dough on top around the edges.
- Slice and enjoy or store in an airtight container until ready to enjoy!