Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Layer Cake / by Chelsea Zwieg

Happy 2017! I cannot think of a better way to start a new year than with a new cake. Sorry 'bout it juice cleaners, but you don't really need me to tell you how to make a green juice do you? I sure hope not, because I would be the worst person you could ask. But I can tell you all about cookie dough and so that's just what I am going to do. 

But before I tell you about how amazing this cake tastes, I have to tell you a little story about this particular cake. *cue funeral march* As I mentioned before, my raging New Year's Eve plans were to go over to my best friends house, third wheel it with her and her fiance and eat lots of sushi and champagne right on into 2017. And that's exactly what we did and it was so great. But since it's not a party without a cake (or two), I decided to make this chocolate chip cookie dough cake to keep the champagne cake company. I made it, decorated it, photographed it, did a little happy dance about how good it was and literally the second I was done with all of that, I bumped the table with my knee and my poor poor cake did a backflip off the other side facedown onto the floor. Bye, cake. Here's a picture if you are having a hard time picturing just how devastating the destruction was. To make the situation even more ridiculous, I had been up since 3am for work that morning and was already a little loopy, so my reaction was pretty much just standing in my kitchen laughing hysterically all by myself. Like a crazy person.

Eventually I cleaned it up, gave it a proper trash can burial and moved on. Needless to say, I have no other witnesses to tell you how great this cake was in it's short, short lifetime. But if you can at all believe me, the girl who knocks cakes off the table (and also almost fell off of a non-moving treadmill at the gym this morning. I don't want to talk about it), then let me tell you: this cake was GOOD. 

I used my very favorite chocolate cake recipe, a fluffy cookie dough frosting and creamy vanilla buttercream. I have been wanting to make cookie dough frosting for months and I cannot believe I waited this long to make it. It's a very soft, spreadable, eggless cookie dough that is full of chocolate chips and the perfect thing to be sitting between layers of fudgy chocolate cake. As much as I love cookie dough (A LOT) it seemed like a bit much to have an entire cake covered in cookie dough frosting and I was worried it would like a pile of dough rather than a pretty cake (I prefer to make my cakes look pretty before I send them crashing to the ground, thank you very much) so I opted for a super vanilla-y swiss meringue buttercream for the outside. The buttercream is beautifully white and super creamy which makes for the best cookies-and-milk combo when it's with the cookie dough frosting. This is definitely of my favorite cakes that I've made in a long time, so I hope you'll give it a try! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Layer Cake

Chocolate cake adapted from Magnolia Bakery, Buttercream adapted from Layered

For the cake: 

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee

For the cookie dough frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream (or a little more) 
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the vanilla buttercream: 

  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

| Instructions | 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 4 (see note) 6" cake pans. 

Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl of stand mixer and run on low to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the bowl and the paddle well and add the hot coffee. Mix on low, scraping as needed, until smooth.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

For the cookie dough frosting, beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. It will be very crumbly. Add the milk, a little bit at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Depending on the temperature of your butter/kitchen/mixing bowl etc. you might need a little more or less than 1/4 cup. Aim for the consistency of soft buttercream. Mix in the chocolate chips. 

For the vanilla buttercream, combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Make sure the bowl is completely clean and dry before adding the egg whites. Whisk to combine. Place the mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook, whisking often, until the mixture reaches 155 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully return the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed 8-10 minutes, until the whites hold medium-stiff glossy peaks and are cooled to room temperature.

Swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the butter a couple tablespoon at a time allowing it to incorporate after each addition. The butter needs to be at room temperature to incorporate properly. Once the butter is fully mixed in, add the vanilla and increase the mixer speed to medium. Beat until the frosting is silky smooth and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. 

To assemble the cake, level each layer as needed with a serrated knife. Fill and stack the layers with the cookie dough frosting. Frost the outside with the vanilla buttercream and decorate as desired. If you have leftover cookie dough frosting, add a thin layer to the top on top of the vanilla buttercream. I added chocolate chips to the outside, peak side in, for the polka dots.