Milk & Cookies Cake Recipe

chocolate chip cookie cake

One of my favorite go-to things to bake are actually the simplest things ever: chocolate chip cookies. I don’t have a fancy recipe (I literally just use the one on the back of the Hershey’s chocolate chip package), but in my opinion, a warm chocolate chip cookie dipped in milk at the end of a long day is like heaven. So as I was whipping up a batch the other day, I had an epiphany: why not translate the deliciousness of chocolate chip cookies and milk into cake form? It didn’t take me long after that to start testing recipes for the best milk & cookies cake ever. Here’s what happened:

cookies and milk cake by sugar and sparrow

It’s a chocolate chip cookie flavored cake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate ganache, and plenty of homemade chocolate chip cookies on top! I’m calling it a Milk & Cookies Cake as a nod to its inspiration.

cookie cake by sugar and sparrow

Let’s talk about this cake. I based the ingredients off of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, so there are both brown and white sugars involved in the creaming process. The brown sugar gives such a deep, rich flavor and adds a little bit of moisture. I wanted it to be extra moist though, so I added a some sour cream to the batter as well.

You can use regular sized chocolate chips in this recipe, but I opted for mini chocolate chips instead! Either way, be sure to coat them in a few Tbsp of flour before folding them into your batter at the end. That will make it less likely for them to sink to the bottom of your cake layers in the baking process.

chocolate chip cake recipe

Vanilla buttercream is the milk to this chocolate chip cookie cake, and it provides a nice subtle flavor to wrap it all up in. Just like milk to a cookie, it’s a great complementary flavor that doesn’t try to steal the spotlight. Not too sweet, just right.

chocolate chip cookie cake by sugar and sparrow
milk and cookies cake

I used Wilton Tip 1M to pipe a buttercream rope border on top, then topped it with some homemade chocolate chip cookies to really go the extra mile! Here’s a quick video to show you the entire decorating process, from filling and frosting the cake layers to garnishing with cookies and chocolate ganache:

Like I said before, I’m all about the basic recipe on the back of the Hershey’s chocolate chip bag (although sometimes I get a little crazy and substitute the vanilla extract for almond extract – so tasty!), but if you’ve got a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and want to make them your cake toppers, my hat’s off to you. If you want to use store bought cookies like Chips Ahoy instead, you totally have my blessing. However you decorate it, you can be sure that this cake will satisfy all the cookies and milk loving people in your life!

chocolate chip cookie cake
4.78 from 9 votes
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Milk & Cookie Cake

A decadent chocolate chip cookie flavored cake topped with vanilla buttercream and extra chocolate chip cookies for good measure.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

  • 3 3/4 Cups (400g) cake flour, sifted before measuring
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/8 Cup (254g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cup (220g) granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 Cup (140g) packed brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup (112g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups (355ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Cups (283g) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, coated in 1.5 Tbsp flour

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 Cups (452g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 7 Cups (840g) powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

For Garnish (optional)

  • chocolate chip cookies
  • chocolate ganache drip (see link below)

Instructions

Make The Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch or four 6-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with a cooking spray (Baker's Joy is my favorite) and a wax paper circle fitted to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can grease and lightly flour the pans. 

  2. Sift the cake flour and then measure by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter for on high for two minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add in white and brown sugars and continue to mix on medium-high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and sour cream, turn the mixer to high, and mix for one minute, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more. 

  4. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the whole milk and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps, then fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips. Batter will be slightly thick, but pourable.

  5. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans (about 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cakes are done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they’re entirely room temperature before applying any frosting.

Make The Vanilla Buttercream

  1. With a hand mixer or paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high until it’s creamy and light (almost white) in color. About 7 minutes. 

  2. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping down after each addition and making sure each cup is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Add vanilla, milk, and salt and mix on medium-low for another two minutes until fully incorporated. 

Assembly

  1. Fill and frost the cake layers with vanilla buttercream. Crumble the chocolate chip cookies (either homemade or store-bought) and garnish the cake by adding them to the bottom third of the frosted cake, pressing the crumbles in to the sides. 

  2. If garnishing with a chocolate ganache drip, chill the cake for 30 minutes before dripping with ganache. Finish by piping a border on top with vanilla buttercream (I used Wilton Tip 1M) and placing whole chocolate chip cookies on top. 

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Tips: the cake layers can be made ahead and stored (wrapped in plastic) at room temperature for up to one day. Alternatively, you can wrap the cake layers in plastic and store them in the freezer for up to two months. When you’re ready to use them, thaw them to room temperature before continuing with the frosting and decorating process.

The vanilla buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one day. Alternatively, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip with your stand mixer on medium for one minute to bring it back to frosting consistency. 


100 Comments

  1. This cake looks amazing!!! Could I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour? Would love to make this for Valentine’s Day for the hubby 🙂

    • Hi Vicki! The reason I use cake flour for this recipe is because it’s what makes the cake super fluffy. You can use all purpose flour, but the cake will end up being more dense. There is a really easy way to convert all purpose flour to cake flour though: for every 1 cup of all purpose flour, remove 2 Tbsp, and replace with 2 Tbsp of corn starch. Repeat for however much cake flour you need. Sift the mixture 5-6 times (don’t skip that step), then measure out how much cake flour the recipe calls for. That should make your cake softer and fluffier than all purpose flour alone.

    • Hi Hala! The recipe calls for sour cream, just for added moisture. I would definitely use it as the recipe calls for it!

  2. I’m thinking about making this tomorrow? Is it too sweet though with chocolate chips all throughout the cake?

    • Hi Colette! I don’t think it’s too sweet, especially since the chocolate chips are semi-sweet. I think it tastes just like a chocolate chip cookie in cake form, but if you think chocolate chip cookies are too sweet you could always reduce the amount of chocolate chips or reduce the white sugar by 1/4 cup or so.

  3. Hi Whitney! I would like to try this recipe but I have a question for you, How do I get the sour cream? I am at Portugal so sour cream is not very used in our tradicional recipes, Sometimes I use “Milk cream” wich is a tippically used at brazilian bakery. Could this be the same? or can I make sour cream at home?Thanks

    • Hi Ana! Sour cream is a thick mixture similar to greek yogurt. You could totally substitute it for full fat greek yogurt, but I think milk cream is different than sour cream so I can’t recommend that as a substitute. If you don’t have full fat greek yogurt on hand, you could omit the sour cream, but the results may not be as moist. You could definitely give it a try though!

  4. Robin Dorf

    Hi there! Making this cake for my daughters 28th birthday. The 6 inch round look so tiny to me, lol. The picture of the cake looks more like 8 inch rounds. Also, do I use 6×2 or 6×3? Thank you!

    • Hi Robin! What an awesome way to celebrate your daughter’s birthday! Yes – the 6 inch rounds look small but when you have three layers it makes a good sized cake (feeds about 15 people!). The cake pictured is three 6-inch layers and I used 6 x 2 pans.

  5. Hello Whitney, I’m looking for an eggless cake recipe for my friend birthday and she loves cookies! Can I replace all egg with sour cream? Thank you.

    • Hi Natalie! I’ve never made an eggless cake before and wouldn’t know what to substitute the eggs with. You can certainly try it and let me know how it goes, but since I’ve never tested it myself I can’t recommend substituting the eggs!

  6. Janet Torch

    I made this cake for a shower yesterday and it came out perfectly. A big hit! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hello! I am going to make this cake for son’s birthday, but I don’t have 6 inch cake pans! Can I use 2 8 inch pans instead? All the cake pan/math conversions everywhere are so confusing! Thanks. Lisa, Sydney, Australia

    • Hi Lisa! You can totally use 8-inch cake pans for this recipe. You’ll have some cake batter left over (probably even enough for another 8 inch layer if they’re short layers). You can bake the cake according to the instructions, just check the cake layers at 40 minutes and see if they need more time.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this for my father-in-law’s 86th Birthday. It came out great except I forgot to put the chocolate ganache on. I made my chocolate chip cookies using a recipe I found on Pinterest. Everyone loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Hi Hannah! I have never tried this recipe as cupcakes but a friend of mine has. They said it turned out amazing as cupcakes, so feel free to give it a try! Just be sure to fill the cupcake tins no more than 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 17 min.

      • How many cupcakes per recipe? 12 or 24?

        I made the cake yesterday and am making cupcakes today for an event!!! The cake was sublime!!!!!!

        • Hi Ninfa! This recipe will make a lot of cupcakes, probably around 35. I’ve heard this recipe is amazing as cupcakes!!

  9. The recipe says to add the whole milk mixture yet there’s no instructions on what’s in the mixture. Do you just mean to add 1.5 cups whole milk?

    • Thanks for catching that, Kim! It was just a typo and I fixed it. I meant to add the 1.5 cups of whole milk in that part of the recipe 🙂

  10. 4 stars
    This cake was very moist, tasted just like chocolate chip cookie flavor, and held up nicely. The only reason for a 4 star is that the frosting that went with it was too sweet for my taste. (Others may like the amount of sweetness though!) I would try it again, but use a less sweet frosting. Other than that, for me, it was delicious!

  11. This looks really delicious since my husband and I are not exchanging anniversary gifts even though it’s our 20th because we are saving for Italy in April. I think he might like this cake for our Anniversary.

  12. I am in the process of making this cake for my daughter’s birthday, and I think you have the pan size listed incorrectly. Do you mean three NINE-inch pans? I happen to have six-inch pans like the recipe says, but I had WAY too much batter for three of them. I ended up needing 4 of the six-inch pans, plus a small loaf pan to fit all the batter.

        • Hi Shanthi! That’s correct. I always use 6″ pans and have batter left over, it ends up being enough for three 8″ pans.

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! I made cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday and everyone raved about how they really tasted like milk and cookies. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Hi
    Is it possible to make this cake with the buttercream 1 day ahead?
    I want To make it for my sons birthday tomorow but i want to finish it today but im not sure if its a good idea or how to store it.
    Thank yoi

    • Hi Roxana! You can totally make the cake and buttercream ahead and frost it a day ahead as well. Just store it in the refrigerator overnight and then continue with the decorating process the next day.

  15. I made this for my daughter-n- laws 28th birthday. Everyone loved it. However, I used the mini chocolate chips and they still settled to the bottom of the cake. Also, my cake didn’t rise like yours. I followed the recipe exactly. Can you tell me why?

    • Hi Denise. So sorry that your chocolate chips sank! I learned a trick for this recently – if you coat the chocolate chips in a few Tbsp of flour before adding them to the batter it helps prevent them from sinking while baking. Give that a try next time.

      As far as the cake not rising properly, it could mean a few different things went wrong: 1) check to see that your baking powder is fresh. It expires every 6 months, and if it’s expired it will cause the cake to dip in the center because it won’t have enough leavening agent. 2) make sure your ingredients are room temp. If they are colder than room temp, it will mess with the chemistry of the cake and could cause dipping. 3) Make sure you only mix for the exact amount of time specified in the recipe. Overmixing leads to the cake dipping in the center. 4) Check your oven temperature internally. Sometimes the display will read one temp while the oven is actually a different temp.

      Most of the time the culprit is either overmixing the batter or expired baking powder. I hope it’s an easy fix for you because this recipe should be failproof!

  16. I am in Canada and can’t find whole milk. Is there something I can use as a replacement? Thank you!

    • Hi Alicia! I’ve never tried cake recipes with anything other than whole milk, but after doing some research it appears that any dairy milk should substitute just fine (2%, 1%, etc). If you can’t find dairy milk, I also hear that soy milk is a good alternative to whole milk. Let me know what you end up trying – now I’m curious!

  17. Suzanne

    Hello, how do you get the cookies to stick to the bottom layer of the cake?
    Thank-you
    Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne! I crumbled the cookies and, while the frosting was still slightly wet, pressed them onto the side of the cake with the palm of my hand.

  18. This cake looks amazing and I’d really like to try making it for to celebrate my brother’s graduation (or what would have been), but I only have 9″ pans. Any tips on how that will alter # of pans and bake time?

    • Hi Karlie! This cake recipe makes quite a lot of batter as-is. It should be enough for three short 9 inch layers or more than enough for two tall 9 inch layers. If you want a taller 9 inch cake, you can 1.5x the recipe to ensure you have enough

  19. Hi! Looks so yummy! Can I substitute the granulated white sugar for stevia?

    • Hi Marina! I have never substituted Stevia before, but I think there are instructions on the Stevia packaging for how to substitute (I don’t think it’s a straight amount for substituting in a baking recipe). If you try it let me know!

  20. If you 1.5x the recipe for 9” pans do you have to alter the buttercream too or does it make enough? I’m making it for family coming in town for birthdays

    • Hi Abby! It depends on how many layers you’re making. For 3-4 layers I would do 1.25x the buttercream recipe (you’d have a lot left over with 1.5x). Just multiply all the ingredients by 1.25 and you’ll have the perfect amount!

  21. Hi, can the cake be stored outside for 2 days before I frost it? I got the wrong date

    • Hi Nan! You can store the cake layers by wrapping them in saran wrap and keeping them at room temp for two days before frosting. Any longer than that and I would recommend storing them in the freezer, then thawing the layers before frosting.

  22. What kind of Cake Flour do you use?
    Or like any cake box flour and then follow this instructions or what is recommend to buy for this recipe?

    • Hi Sarah! You can use any brand of cake flour, but the ones I use personally are Swan’s Down and Softasilk.

  23. Samantha

    I cannot wait to make this cake this weekend! I saw that you usually do 3 6” layers. I do the same as well. And I love how tall your layers are! Is that how they turn out by filling the pan 2/3 full? Or could I fill them a bit more to give them that height?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Samantha! I always fill my cake pans about 2/3 of the way full, any more than that and they’ll overflow in the baking process. So yes, 2/3 full and you’ll have nice tall layers (they rise a bit in the oven)! So excited for you to make this cake!

  24. I am making this cake this week and wanted to make two cakes, one three layer and one two layer. I’m seeing comments about there possibly being left over batter. My question is, if I’m using 6-inch pans, should I 1.5x the recipe to get 5 total layers or will the original recipe be enough?

    • Hi Ashley! This recipe makes enough batter for four 6-inch layers that are about 2 inches tall when baked. It’s possible to divide this recipe as-is into 5 6-inch pans, but the layers will be closer to one inch tall. If you want to keep the height in your baked cake layers, I would recommend 1.5x the recipe. Hope that helps!

  25. 5 stars
    Just made today!!! Like a few other people who posted, I like tall layers and I usually bake in 6″ round pans. I used all the batter and made 4 equal 6″ layers that baked to just around 1 3/4″ tall each. I was afraid to try to use only 3 pans so 4 was the better decision. I will have an extra layer and make my cake using 3 as Whitney did. Hope mine turns out as gorgeous!

  26. Hi Whitney. Love the cake, the only issue I had was that all of the mini chips sunk to the bottom! ugh….I tossed them in flour and folded them in…any thoughts?? :-/

    • Oh no! That’s the only way I really know how to try and prevent them from sinking – coat them in flour and fold them in. You could try chopping them smaller next time so they don’t weigh so much but other than that I don’t have any additional advice for sinking mini chips.

      • Well..it’s still a great tasting cake!! Could I have used too many chips? I measured 1 1/2 cups of mini chips. That was nearly the entire bag. Maybe that was why? I wonder if chilling the mini chips and tossing in flour will make the flour stick better and then not letting them sink? Who knows!

  27. Pauline Jen Garcia- Ciar

    5 stars
    Hello! I tried you cake two times, but sad to say tje chocolate chips sank in the bottom. I follow your recipe correctly. Can i prevent this to happen again? Btw your cake is delicious my family really loves your cake, that’s why i want to remake it again and again. ❤️ your no.1

    • Hi Pauline! Sorry to hear the chocolate chips sank. My only advice is to coat them in more flour next time, as this helps keep them suspended. You could also try chopping them even smaller so that they weigh less.

  28. Hi! Quick question. I have class and need to make and assemble ahead of time. After making the cake, frosting it and topping with ganache and everything, will it be okay to store it in the fridge for one night/day until we eat it, or should it be stored at room temp? Thanks!

    • Hi Jesselyn! You can certainly store the decorated cake in the refrigerator one day ahead. That is my preferred method of storing a cake before serving. Just make sure to bring it to room temp by the time you serve the cake because it tastes much better at room temp!

  29. […] Milk and cookies is not just a Santa Claus thing. Not everyone enjoys their cookies dipped into a glass of cold milk, but they still taste good together, one after the other. Try this indulgent, upgraded take on the combo, where both foods come together in a delectable milk & cookies cake. Get the recipe here. […]

  30. 5 stars
    What an over the top incredible cake! I’ve this twice for birthday celebrations!

  31. Hi, can I use apple sauce instead of sour cream? Or will that change the consistency and taste too much?
    Also what’s the conversion ratio for kosher salt and table salt? Thank you!

    • Hi Ara! I’ve never tried subbing in applesauce for the sour cream, so I can’t say for sure what the results will be. You are welcome to try it! And you can use an equal amount of table salt (or any salt) for the kosher salt.

      • Hi, just finished baking this, used 3-6” and the left over batter for some cupcake. It’s still cooling right now but omg this cake is soooo good! Not to sweet and so light. It’s kinda dangerous because we might it all the cupcakes before frosting it lol. Thank you!

  32. This looks like another awesome cake. Is it 3 or 4 6” inch layers? Will be making this for my son’s 29th bday next month. THANK YOU!

    • Yay, Kathy! Excited for you to make this cake! The cake pictured is three 6-inch layers but the recipe yields enough batter for a fourth layer.

      • Thank you. After you do the ganache drip and cover top with the ganache do you refrigerate before piping on the buttercream?

        • I do refrigerate the cake after the ganache drip for 5-10 minutes just so that it sets before adding the piping to the top.

  33. I made this today… it made 4 6” layers…delicious… thank you for your delicious recipes and tutorials.

  34. To crumb coat, fill and frost with piping is this recipe for the buttercream or should I increase the amount? I’ve made it before but can’t remember.

    • This recipe makes enough to fill, crumb coat, frost, and pipe the three layer 6-inch cake pictured. Hope that helps!

  35. DeeDee

    4 stars
    Just putting this out there in case anyone else tries the same thing. I used 3 – 6″ pans that are 3″ high, baking them a lot longer. It was a total fail. Although the pans were only filled 2/3rds full, the cakes all sunk in the middle and crumbled around the edges when removed from the pan. My son asked me why I was making giant chocolate chip cookies, lol. What did I do wrong? I used cake flour but didn’t notice that it was SELF RISING cake flour. Dumb rookie move on my part as too much leavening agent will cause your cake to sink. It tasted great, albeit a little saltier because of the salt content already in the flour. Time to start over again, lol.

  36. 5 stars
    Made this cake yesterday. Hoping you can help me troubleshoot a couple things. When adding the eggs one at a time to the butter/sugar, The mixture curdled. Ingredients were out at room temp for a little over an hour so not sure why that happened. Maybe everything was still too cold? Also most recipes call for alternating adding dry ingredients with the milk. Just wondering if there was a specific reason it is done differently in this recipe. And i did coat the mini chips in flour but sadly they still sank to the bottom and the layers came out slightly dense/ crumbly. I baked in three 8 inch pans for about 25 minutes. Even with my minor mess ups the cake was still delicious and everyone at my work devoured it. I will definitely be making this again. Hoping to perfect it next time. Thank u!!

    • Hi Maria! I’m so sorry to hear that the cake turned out slightly dense/crumbly. Did you make any substitutions or leave out any ingredients? If not, then it sounds like the cake may have been slightly overmixed (that would make it dense). I wonder if this happened when you saw that the batter looked curdled after adding the eggs. It’s actually totally normal for the batter to look curdled at that point in the recipe and doesn’t really start to look like cake batter until the very end. And about alternating the wet/dry ingredients, I found that it made no difference in the outcome of the cake, which is why I just tend to add the dry all at once and add the wet all at once right after. Hope that helps for next time! And happy to hear that the cake was still a hit!

      • Thanks so much for answering my questions! I didnt make any substitutions. The only thing i did differently was alternated the milk and dry gently stirring with a spatula. Im going to try it again using your exact instructions. Cant wait to try more of your cake recipes

  37. shabana mohammed

    hiiii so this cake tasted soooo good…. one thing though… my choc chips all sank to the bottom … i did dust them with flour… they were regular sized chips… i also tapped tge pan a little to get out bubbles before i baked… could this be why?… also my cake flour came pre sifted so i measured it out then sifted again and measured from the sifted set and it was way less than what i measured initially, i saw u said the batter wud be somehwat thick but not sure mine was as thick but they baked lovely.. could this be another reason the chips sank?

    • Hi Shabana! The regular chips were probably too heavy for the batter, which is why I specify using mini chocolate chips. I don’t think any of those other things would cause the chips to sink. Next time give the mini chocolate chips a try!

  38. Hi! Really wanna try this recipe! Can it be halved? I’m planning to make a 6″ cake. Its only for a small group of people. Do let me know. Thank you!

  39. 5 stars
    Hi Whitney, I was wondering if I should adjust the cooking time for dark colored pans, as things tend to cook faster in them.

  40. I have a question, is the batter supposed to be smooth? I’m making it now and i still just put it in the oven just to see, but the batter was almost a little curdled??? Maybe my kitchen is too cold? Is this normal lol help

    • Hi Chasia! The batter will look a little curdled after adding the sour cream and vanilla, but when you add the dry ingredients and milk at the end it should look smooth and no longer curdled. Let me know how they baked! It sounds like the milk might have been too cold if the batter looked curdled at the end.

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