photo of my best chocolate chip cookie cake in a white cast iron pan on a marble tabletop

About My Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe

This chocolate chip cookie cake recipe makes a 10-inch chocolate chip cookie with a giant, fudgy center and crisp edges. The cake is then decorated with a classic American buttercream frosting and lots of sprinkles. All in all, it tastes like the chocolate chip cookie cake I remember fondly from my childhood!

Over my many years of blogging, I’ve tried many chocolate chip cookie cake recipes from trusted sources like Bon Appetit magazine and America’s Test Kitchen. Both recipes were good, but felt short of what I was looking for. The resulting cookie cakes were too crispy, and both used “elevated” ingredients like brown butter and gourmet chocolate.

I wanted a cookie cake recipe more similar to the chocolate chip cookie cake I remembered from my childhood. Specifically, a giant cookie cake made with cookie dough, with a fudgy, rich texture and topped with sweet buttercream.

I’m happy to report that this chocolate chip cookie cake recipe is IT!

And for even more fun chocolate chip cookie recipes, check out Hummingbird High‘s full collection!

close up photo of my best chocolate chip cookie cake

Why You Should Make The Recipe

Here are all the reasons to make this chocolate chip cookie cake recipe:

The recipe is delicious and tastes like your childhood.

I mentioned earlier that I was unhappy with the previous chocolate chip cookie cake recipes I’d tried. But this one knocks it out of the park!

The chocolate chip cookie cake results in extremely dense and fudgy slices, all topped off with just the right amount of sweet buttercream frosting. Honestly, it’d almost be too much if it didn’t exactly like the supermarket chocolate chip cookie cakes that I loved so much as a kid.

Be sure to check out the ingredients below for more on how I managed to achieve these flavors!

The recipe comes together quickly.

Most chocolate chip cookie recipes, cake or otherwise, instruct you to bring butter down to room temperature to be able to cream it with sugar for the dough. Good news! There’s no need to do that for this recipe.

Instead, I instruct you to melt the butter instead. Doing so results in the extremely fudgy and dense texture of this giant chocolate chip cookie cake. You can read more about the science of why in this epic Serious Eats post about developing the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

It also turns out that baking a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough as one giant cake significantly reduces your Bake Time. Most cookie recipes require you to bake multiple batches of cookies. While it takes only around 10 minutes or so to bake each batch, most recipes make around 4 batches. This significantly increases your total Bake Time to 40 minutes!

However, with this chocolate chip cookie recipe, you’ll only need to bake the cookie dough as one giant chocolate chip cookie cake for 20 or so minutes.

The cake stores well.

Individual chocolate chip cookies get stale faster than a giant chocolate chip cookie cake. I have no idea why. It’s just some kind of magic, lol.

photo of my best chocolate chip cookie cake in a white cast iron pan sliced

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make this chocolate chip cookie cake recipe, here’s the shopping list for the recipe:

Shopping List For My Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe

  • salted OR unsalted butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • dark OR light brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • large eggs
  • pure vanilla extract
  • semisweet chocolate chips
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • whole milk
  • food coloring (optional, for decorating)
  • sprinkles (optional, for garnish)

And here’s a secret: it’s actually the chocolate chip cookie recipe from my cookbook, but with a few important ingredient changes! These changes are responsible for making them taste like the supermarket chocolate chip cookie cakes I remember so fondly from my childhood. Let’s talk about them below:

Salted Butter

My best chocolate chip cookie cake recipe needs ½ salted OR unsalted butter to make the cake.

99% of baking recipes instruct you to use unsalted butter in your baked goods. Why? The level of salt in salted butter varies from brand to brand. Using unsalted butter allows the baker to control the EXACT amount of salt in their baked goods without worrying about which brand to use.

But here’s a secret: you can get away with using salted butter in a LOT of baking recipes. In fact, some folks argue that all that extra salt from the salted butter makes them even better. I personally find that it’s best to use salted butter with bold flavors like chocolate and peanut butter.

For this recipe, I used salted butter because most commercial bakeries use a shocking amount of fat and salt in their recipes. It’s the secret to why everything tastes so dang good, really. I also wanted a lot of salt to balance out the sweetness of the buttercream frosting topping.

Can I use unsalted butter instead?

Yes, absolutely! You can use unsalted butter in place of the salted butter in this chocolate chip cookie cake recipe. Follow the rest of the ingredients and recipe exactly as written; there’s no need to make any changes as a result!

Chocolate Chips

My best chocolate chip cookie cake recipe needs 1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips to make the cake.

If you own my cookbook, you may have noticed that I rail against chocolate chips a LOT. Why? Cheap chocolate chips contain additives like palm oil and paraffin wax that help them retain their shape after being baked. Unfortunately, it also affects their flavor. As a result, I rely on fancy chocolate bars, feve discs, or wafers for most of my baking.

But supermarket bakeries don’t make chocolate chip cookie cakes with that kind of gourmet chocolate. And I’m going for nostalgia with my best chocolate chip cookie cake recipe, remember? The truth is, this recipe just doesn’t taste right with fancy chocolate.

Want to know more about the best chocolate for chocolate chip cookies? Check out all my recommendations in this post on Hummingbird High with links to my favorite chocolate chips and chocolate for baking recipes!

photo of my best chocolate chip cookie cake slices on small white plates on a marble tabletop

Here are the basic steps to make the chocolate chip cookie cake from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the cookie dough for the cake. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)

  2. Make the cookie dough. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  3. Press the cookie dough into the baking pan. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  4. Bake the chocolate chip cookie dough. (Bake Time: 20 minutes)

  5. Cool the cookie cake.

  6. While the cookie cake cools, prep the ingredients for the frosting. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)

  7. Make the frosting. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  8. Decorate the cake. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

FAQ: Tools To Make The Recipe

Do I need a special chocolate chip cookie cake pan?

No! Like I said above, I developed this recipe specifically for a 10- or 12-inch skillet. You can also bake the chocolate chip cookie cake in traditional cake pans or a springform pan.

Traditional cake pans are usually 8- or 9-inches wide, while springform pans are typically 9- or 10-inches. If you make this recipe in a smaller cake pan, your cookie cake will come out thicker than mine. You may also need to increase Bake Time for a few minutes to adjust for this thickness. In general, thicker baked goods take longer to bake.

Alternatively, note that I made this recipe in this 10-inch skillet. If you’re using a 12-inch skillet, your chocolate chip cookie cake will likely be thinner than mine. You may need to decrease Bake Time; check for doneness at 18 minutes instead of the 20 minutes listed in the recipe.

FAQ: Questions About The Recipe’s Techniques

Can I use store-bought cookie dough to make a chocolate chip cookie cake?

You can! Look for a tube or packet of chocolate chip cookie dough that makes around 16 cookies (or clocks in at around 16 ounces). Follow the instructions in my recipe to press the cookie dough into the skillet or cake pan of your choice and bake accordingly.

Can I use this cookie dough to make cookies instead?

Yep! Though I’m not sure why you would, especially when I have many chocolate chip cookie recipes already available (see links for them below!). But if you insist, use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion the dough into cookies. You’ll end up with around 16 cookie dough balls. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the cookie dough balls at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. Bake one pan at a time at 350℉ for 10 minutes. The cookies will look puffed when you pull them out of the oven, but will fall and crack into the perfect cookies as they cool.

How long to bake a chocolate chip cookie cake?

Most chocolate chip cookie cake recipes are baked for between 20 to 25 minutes. In general, it’s better to pull out the cookie cake when the center is still gooey but the edges have set. If you wait until the center is fully set, it’s likely that your cookie cake will be too crispy and hard. Why? The residual heat from the pan will continue to bake the cookie cake even after its pulled out of the oven. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center of the cookie cake—if it comes out with few crumbs, it’s perfect!

FAQ: Questions About The Recipe’s Results

How big is this giant chocolate chip cookie cake?

Truth be told, most supermarket chocolate chip cookie cakes clock in at larger sizes and are usually between 12 to 18 inches wide… or at least they were in Texas, where I grew up (and everything is bigger in Texas, am I right?!).

However, my recipe makes a chocolate chip cookie cake that is smaller than that. My chocolate chip cookie cake is around 10 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Why? Most folks don’t have a 12-inch+ cake pan in their home kitchen. But a lot of folks have a 10-inch or 12-inch cast iron skillet. As a result, I decided to develop a recipe for that pan.

That being said, if you are the proud owner of a 12 inches+ cake pan, feel free to bake this chocolate chip cookie cake recipe in it! You may need to shorten the Bake Time. Because the cake pan is bigger, the dough will spread more thinly across the pan and require a shorter Bake Time.

Help! My chocolate chip cookie cake tasted super salty. What did I do wrong?

Here’s the thing: although I instruct you to use salted butter for the cookie dough in this recipe, it’s always a little bit risky to do so. Why? Different brands add varying levels of salt to their salted butter. That means that the flavor of your dessert will vary widely depending on whatever brand of salted butter you happened to use. And if you found this chocolate chip cookie cake too salty, it’s likely because you used an extra salty type of salted butter.

If you want to try making this recipe again with the same type of salted butter you used, I recommend decreasing the amount of kosher salt in this recipe to a ½ teaspoon. Alternatively, you can also avoid this sort of risk in the future by baking the recipe as is but with unsalted butter instead. Baking with unsalted butter will give you more control over the final taste of the product since you’ll be adding all the salt in the recipe yourself.

FAQ: Questions About Storing The Cake

Can I freeze the unbaked chocolate chip cookie cake?

Yes, you can! To freeze the unbaked cookie dough, follow the recipe to make the dough as instructed. Instead of pressing the cookie dough into the skillet, mold it into a rough ball and press down to make a disc. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake into a cookie cake, thaw the disc overnight in the refrigerator and follow the instructions in the recipe to press it into the skillet and bake.

Can I freeze the baked chocolate chip cookie cake?

Yes, you can! To freeze the baked cookie cake, follow the recipe’s instructions to cool the chocolate chip cookie cake completely and decorate. Once the frosting has “crusted” (it should harden to the point that your finger won’t leave an indent in the frosting when it’s gently poked), slice the cookie cake into wedges. Tightly wrap the individual wedges in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. To enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then for a few hours at room temperature.

Best Recipe Tips

Ingredient Tip

  • Note that while the chocolate chip cookie cake dough instructs you to use salted butter, you’ll need to use UNSALTED butter for the frosting. In general, it’s not a good idea to use salted butter for frosting. Frosting recipes usually require a LOT of butter. Using salted butter at that volume will definitely make your frosting taste salty.

    In a pinch, if you only have unsalted butter on hand, don’t worry! Simply follow the recipe. There’s no need to increase the amount of salt in the cookie dough. If you only have salted butter on hand, feel free to use it in the frosting recipe. But don’t say I didn’t warn you if you find it to be too salty and weird! You may also want to skip the “pinch of salt” I instruct you to use.

Technique Tip

  • The easiest way to spread the cookie dough across the skillet is to use a stiff rubber spatula, a wooden spoon, or even your hands (like I did!) to press the dough into the pan. Don’t dump the cookie dough all at once into the center of the pan! Instead, transfer the dough bit by bit, pressing it into the pan as you go. Doing so will make it easier to get it across the pan, I promise.

Decorating Tip

More Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

Get the Recipe: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe

My best chocolate chip cookie cake recipe makes a giant, 10-inch chocolate chip cookie with a fudgy center and crisp edges. The chocolate chip cookie cake is decorated with a classic American buttercream frosting and lots of sprinkles. All in all, it tastes like the chocolate chip cookie cakes you remember from childhood!
Readers say: “This cookie [cake] is incredible! The sweet and salty combo is so tasty and such a nice surprise. Both of my boys have asked for this cookie in lieu of a birthday cake. Thanks so much!”
(4.91 stars) 63 reviews
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Ingredients

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

  • 1 ⅔ cups (7.5 ounces or 213 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) salted (preferred) OR unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for pan
  • ¾ cup tightly packed (5.65 ounces or 160 grams) dark OR light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups (8 ounces or 227 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Icing

  • 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces or 57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt
  • food coloring

Instructions
 

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

  • Prep the oven and pan. While the butter melts, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt.
  • Mix the butter, sugars, egg, and extract. In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to mix together the butter and sugars until moistened, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and chocolate. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the chocolate all at once and mix until the chocolate is evenly distributed throughout, about 1 minute.
  • Assemble the cookie dough in the pan. Transfer the cookie dough into the prepared skillet by scraping a small portion of the dough into the pan and using a wooden spoon, stiff rubber spatula, or your hands to press the dough down into the skillet. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake the cookie cake. Bake the chocolate chip cookie cake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center is still gooey. Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting. The cookie cake can be stored by slicing it into wedges after frosting. Store the wedges in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Icing

  • Make the icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-low until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer to low and add the confectioners' sugar ¼ cup at a time, beating until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt all at once and beat on low just to incorporate the liquid. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, then beat on medium-high until the frosting is creamy and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Decorate the cake. Use immediately by scraping into a piping bag fitted with the piping tip of your choice. At first the frosting will be creamy and smooth, but will harden the longer it sits. The frosting can also be made for up to 1 week in advance. Transfer to an airtight container with a lid and refrigerate. Before using in a recipe, bring to room temperature and beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Notes

  • Note that while the chocolate chip cookie cake dough instructs you to use salted butter, you’ll need to use UNSALTED butter for the frosting. In general, it’s not a good idea to use salted butter for frosting. Frosting recipes usually require a LOT of butter. Using salted butter at that volume will definitely make your frosting taste salty. In a pinch, if you only have unsalted butter on hand, don’t worry! Simply follow the recipe. There’s no need to increase the amount of salt in the cookie dough. If you only have salted butter on hand, feel free to use it in the frosting recipe. But don’t say I didn’t warn you if you find it to be too salty and weird! You may also want to skip the “pinch of salt” I instruct you to use.
  • The easiest way to spread the cookie dough across the skillet is to use a stiff rubber spatula, a wooden spoon, or even your hands to press the dough into the pan. Don’t dump the cookie dough all at once into the center of the pan! Instead, transfer the dough bit by bit, pressing it into the pan as you go. Doing so will make it easier to get it across the pan, I promise.
  • To pipe the border, I used a star tip from this Ateco jumbo piping tip set. For the letters, I used these edible white chocolate letters from Dr. Oetker that I bought during my last trip to London. You can also make your own using these candy molds!
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Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.