This Cookie Dough Cake is a layer cake made of a brown butter brown sugar chocolate chip cake with edible cookie dough between each layer and a brown butter cookie dough buttercream! Each element of the cake is made with browned butter to bring an impeccable flavor to the cake! 

For an in-depth look on browning butter, see my Browned Butter post! I answer all your questions and give the best tips for getting perfectly browned butter every time! Be sure to try out my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, which is the delicious cookie version of this amazing Brown Butter Cookie Dough Cake! And be sure to try my classic Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, too!

A slice of Cookie Dough Cake made with browned butter on a white plate with a fork cutting into the top of the cake slice.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Edible cookie dough between each layer. When it comes to a recipe for cookie dough cake, it’s really a must for some delicious edible brown butter cookie dough! Well, we’ve added a thick disk of edible cookie dough between each layer! 
  • Browned butter elevates the flavor. To take this chocolate chip cookie dough cake to the next level, we decided to brown the butter! It makes a huge, huge difference in the flavor of each element. See all my tips for browning butter for the best results!
  • Moist cookie dough cake. Using a combination of browned butter and oil in the cake brings a moist crumb texture and, of course, amazing flavor! Pair that with some mini chocolate chips and this cake really is the ultimate cookie dough cake — the cake version of our favorite Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe!

Ingredient Notes

A layered brown butter cookie dough cake frosted with a mini chocolate chip flour based white frosting and topped with edible cookie dough on the top of the cake.
  • Light Brown Sugar: You can use light or dark brown sugar. This will be in the cake layers and in the buttercream. Note that if you use dark, the color will be darker in both elements and the flavor will be a bit more prominent. Light brown sugar is my preference in this recipe for cookie dough cake.
  • Unsalted Butter: Each element of this recipe includes browned butter. You can either brown the butter at each step or brown it altogether. Note that the amount of butter you start with reduces once browned. Follow my step-by-step instructions carefully as I give a pointer on how to brown all the butter at once and what the browned butter measurements will be. 
  • Oil: Using oil in the cake layers will give a much softer and more moist texture because oil is a liquid at room temperature. 
  • Flour: Regular, all-purpose flour is what you’ll need for the cake layers and the edible cookie dough recipes. 
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: These are the leavening agents for the cake layers. They will react when combined with water (for the baking powder) and an acid (for the baking soda). The acid in this cookie dough cake recipe is buttermilk.
  • Buttermilk: Use room temperature buttermilk (along with room temperature eggs) in order to get the best results. Room temperature wet ingredients will incorporate into the dough better, resulting in a more even bake. 
  • Mini Chocolate Chips:Using mini chocolate chips in the brown sugar cake layers, cookie dough and the cookie dough buttercream is better than regular-sized chocolate chips that are bigger. The mini ones will be much easier to work with. 
  • Heavy Cream: You will need heavy cream for the frosting and for the edible cookie dough. Use heavy cream, do not use half & half. 
  • Powdered Sugar: Always sift the powdered sugar to ensure a smooth buttercream consistency. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Each element of this cookie dough layer cake requires all or some of the butter to be browned. The recipe as written instructs you to brown the butter separately for each element. This is because you lose some of the butter through evaporation while browning. 

If an effort to make things easier on you, I did the calculations for you so you can brown the butter all at once if you want! 

You will need to brown 2 1/2 cups + 7 tablespoons of butter. Once all that butter is browned, transfer it to a separate container or bowl and let solidify in the fridge. Once it starts hardening, give it a stir to incorporate all the browned butter flecks throughout the butter (since you’ll be measuring it out for each element).

Of the browned butter you’ll need

  • 10 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of browned butter for the cake layers
  • 1 cup browned butter for the edible cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup + 5 1/2 tablespoons of browned butter for the buttercream

Make the Cake Layers

  1. Brown the butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Cook until little white specks at the bottom of the melted butter turn golden brown. Stir constantly! Watch closely because it will go from nicely toasted to burnt very quickly! Remove heat and pour into a heat-safe container and refrigerate until solid.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients. Sift together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Set aside. 
  3. Cream the wet ingredients. Cream together the brown butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the oil and mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, all of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  5. Divide the batter. Spray three 8-inch circle cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with a circular piece of parchment paper and spray again. Divide the browned butter cake batter evenly among the three pans. 
  6. Bake the cake layers. In an oven preheated to 325°F, bake the cake layers for 28-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove and let cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack to cool completely. 
  1. Brown the butter for the cookie dough. If you are browning each element’s butter separately, follow the instructions from step 1 with the amount of butter listed in the recipe card for the cookie dough. If you browned the butter all at once, following my directions listed above these steps, then be sure to use the adjusted browned butter measurement for the cookie dough. Note that this browned butter should be softened to room temperature.
  2. Heat the flour. Microwave the flour in a microwave-safe bowl on high heat in 30-second intervals stirring between each, until the temperature of the flour reaches 165°F. (About 45-60 seconds typically.)
  3. Cream the butter and sugar. Cream the browned butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, cream and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the heated flour. Add the flour to the bowl and mix until combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Reserve 1-1 1/2 cups of the cookie dough for cake decoration.
  5. Chill the cookie dough. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with plastic that hangs over the edges. Divide the rest of the cookie dough into two equal portions. Press into the pans. Cool in the fridge until firm, then carefully lift the plastic out from the pan. Wrap completely in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  1. Brown the butter for the buttercream.  If you are browning each element’s butter separately, follow the instructions from step 1 with the amount of butter listed in the recipe card for the buttercream.  If you browned the butter all at once, following my directions listed above these steps, then be sure to use the adjusted browned butter measurement for the buttercream. Note that this browned butter needs to be slightly softened but still cold. 
  2. Cook the heavy cream and brown sugar. Mix together the brown sugar and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Once all the sugar has dissolved, remove and let cool.
  3. Heat the flour. Follow the instructions from step 2 above, under “Make the Edible Cookie Dough.”
  4. Beat the butter. Beat the 2 cups of regular butter + the browned butter for this recipe and a pinch of salt on medium high in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until the mixture becomes smooth and light in color. There will be flecks from the browned butter; that is normal. 
  5. Add the brown sugar/heavy cream mixture. Add the cooled cream and sugar mixture and beat until well combined. 
  6. Add the powdered sugar and flour. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and flour 1 cup at a time. Add a tablespoon of heavy cream after each addition if needed to keep the texture spreadable.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Assemble the cake layers. Spread a dollop of the buttercream in the center of a cake board or stand. Place a cake layer on top. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream on top. Place a layer of the edible cookie dough on top, then add another thin layer of buttercream. This will keep the cake layer above it from sliding around. Add the next cake layer and repeat. Place the third cake layer on top.
  2. Apply the crumb coat. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake and store in the fridge or freezer until the buttercream is cold and firm. Add 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips to the remaining buttercream. 
A three layered round Cookie Dough Cake frosted with white frosting that has mini chocolate chips in it, against a black background.
  1. Frost and decorate. Cover the cake in the remaining buttercream with mini chocolate chips. The cake will have a rustic look due to the mini chocolate chips (meaning it won’t be perfectly smooth). Decorate with cookie dough pieces you reserved. Serve! 
A slice of cookie dough layered cake on a serving spatula against a black background.

Recipe Tips

The dollop of buttercream in the center of your cake board or cake stand will help keep the cake from sliding around while you assemble and decorate it. 

Use room temperature wet ingredients in the cake for best results. When combining the wet and dry ingredients in a cake, always mix until just combined. Over mixing at this stage will result in a tough cake batter, which will affect the overall bake and rise of the cakes.

For an in-depth look at how to brown butter, along with tips and FAQS, check out my How to Brown Butter post! 

See my brown butter hack at the top of my Step-by-Step Instructions section on how to brown all the butter for each element at once. This is important because the amount of butter you start with is different than the amount of browned butter you get. Be sure to note my exact measurements to get the best results. If you’re overly worried, just brown each amount of brown butter for each element separately. 

You can make each element ahead of time and store them to help reduce the amount of work. See my next section for details. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

If making the cake layers ahead of time, let cool completely then double wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or freezer. If needing to store them for longer than a few days, see my Storing and Freeze Cakes post.

This frosting can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let the frosting sit out at room temperature for about 3 hours and then beat it until it’s smooth again before using. If it is at room temperature and seems too thick to spread, add heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time until it becomes spreadable.

Store the edible cookie dough covered in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

For more information on storing and freezing cakes, including how to freeze cake layers, buttercream and decorated cakes, check out my How to Store and Freeze Cakes guide!

A slice of Cookie Dough Cake that has edible cookie dough between each cake layer, on a black rimmed white plate.

Recipe FAQs

Can I brown all of the butter at the same time?

Yes you can. Please carefully follow my instructions listed in this post right under the Step-by-Step Instructions header. This is important because each element of the cake requires some or all of the butter to be browned. But the amount of butter you start with is more than what you have left once the butter is browned. So, the browned butter measurements are different than the butter measurements prior to browning. To reduce confusion, the recipe card instructs you to brown each amount separately.

Is the cookie dough edible?

Yes it is! The layer of cookie dough between each of the brown butter cake layers is safe to eat!

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

Definitely! In fact, I highly recommend it. This cake is a bit involved, so breaking it up and making one element one day and another element another day is much easier. Follow my Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing instructions for details. 

A Cookie Dough Cake slice on a black rimmed white plate with a fork cutting into the top portion of the cake.

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A three layer mini chocolate chip Cookie Dough Cake on a white plate against a white background.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Cookie Dough Cake

This cookie dough cake is the MOST amazing cake ever! The cake layers are a brown sugar based cake made with brown butter and oil which contributes to their immpecible flavor and moist texture. Between each layer is edible cookie dough too!
Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Assembly Time: 1 hr
Servings: 15 servings

Ingredients
 

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Cake Layers

  • 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar - packed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter - softened
  • 1/4 cup oil - vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs - at room temperature
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk - at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Edible Brown Butter Cookie Dough

Brown Butter Cookie Dough Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter - slightly softened but still cold (we will brown this 1 cup of butter)… see step #1 under "brown butter cookie dough buttercream" instructions.
  • 2 cups unsalted butter - slightly softened but still cold
  • 1 cup light brown sugar - packed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream - plus more if needed (I added a few extra tablespoons to my frosting to get it more spreadable).
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions
 

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Cake Layers

  • In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the little white specks at the bottom of the melted butter turn golden brown. Watch closely because it will go from nicely toasted to burnt very quickly! Remove heat and pour into a heat-safe container and refrigerate until it becomes solid again.
  • Preheat oven to 325° F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans by spraying with non-stick spray and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the brown butter and brown sugar. Add the oil and mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • With the mixture on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, all of the buttermilk and vanilla extract, then the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until partially combined, then fold in the mini chocolate chips. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 28-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the layer comes out clean or with a couple crumbs stuck to it.
  • Let cool in pans for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks until completely cool. If making ahead of time, wrap with plastic and freeze.

Edible Cookie Dough

  • Line two 8-inch round cake pans with plastic. Make sure it overlaps the edge by about 3 inches on two of the sides.
  • Brown the 19 tablespoons of butter. ( Which is equivalent to 2-cubes of butter plus 3 tablespoons). In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the little white specks at the bottom of the melted butter turn golden brown. Watch closely because it will go from nicely toasted to burnt very quickly! Remove heat and pour into a heat-safe container and refrigerate until it turns from a liquid to a soft solid.
  • Place the flour in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Continue heating until flour reads 165°F on an instant read thermometer. This will take about 45 seconds to 1 minute. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (Fitted with paddle attachment) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add the vanilla, cream, and salt. Beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the heated flour and mix to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
  • Set aside 1-1½ cups of the cookie dough to save for decorating the cake. Divide the remaining dough in half and press evenly into the two plastic-lined pans. Refrigerate until firm and remove from the pans by carefully lifting the overhanging plastic. Wrap completely with plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

Brown Butter Cookie Dough Buttercream

  • Brown 1 cup of butter. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the little white specks at the bottom of the melted butter turn golden brown. Watch closely because it will go from nicely toasted to burnt very quickly! Remove heat and pour into a heat-safe container and refrigerate until it becomes solid again.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, mix together brown sugar and heavy cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved into the cream. Set aside to cool.
  • Heat treat the flour. Place the flour in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Continue heating until flour reads 165°F on an instant read thermometer. This will take about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • In the bowl of a stand fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the 2 cups butter, brown butter, and a pinch of salt on medium high speed until it’s smooth and light in texture and color (there will be little golden brown flecks from the brown butter). Add the brown sugar/cream mixture and beat well. With the mixer on low speed slowly add the powdered sugar and flour. If the frosting is too stiff or hard to mix, add heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until a spreadable texture has been achieved. 
  • This frosting can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let the frosting sit out at room temperature for about 3 hours and then beat it until it’s smooth again before using. If it is at room temperature and seems too thick to spread, add heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time until it becomes spreadable.

Assembly

  • Spread a dollop of buttercream in the center of a clean cake board or stand. Place a cake layer on top of it. This will help keep the cake from sliding around while you assemble and decorate it. 
  • Spread a thin layer of buttercream evenly over the top of the cake layer. 
  • Place an edible cookie dough layer on top of the buttercream and then add another thin layer of buttercream to the top of it to act as glue to keep the next cake layer from sliding around.
  • Repeat steps 2-3 with the second layers of cake and edible cookie dough.
  • Place the third cake layer on top and crumb coat the entire cake in a thin layer of buttercream. Refrigerate or freeze for a few minutes, until the buttercream is cold and firm.
  • While the cake is in the refrigerator, add ½ cup mini chocolate chips to the remaining buttercream and mix. You can add more mini chocolate chips if you’d like more in the final layer of frosting.
  • Spread the final layer of frosting around the entire cake. It’s a little tricky with the chocolate chips in the frosting, so this cake will end up looking a little more rustic. We finished decorating the cake by crumbling the set-aside edible cookie dough around the top of the cake.

Notes

I did the calculations for you so you can brown the butter all at once if you want! 
You will need to brown 2 1/2 cups + 7 tablespoons of butter. Once all that butter is browned, transfer it to a separate container or bowl and let solidify in the fridge. Once it starts hardening, give it a stir to incorporate all the browned butter flecks throughout the butter (since you’ll be measuring it out for each element).
Of the browned butter you’ll need
  • 10 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of browned butter for the cake layers
  • 1 cup browned butter for the edible cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup + 5 1/2 tablespoons of browned butter for the buttercream

Nutrition

Calories: 1210kcal (61%)Carbohydrates: 197g (66%)Protein: 11g (22%)Fat: 43g (66%)Saturated Fat: 25g (125%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 122mg (41%)Sodium: 445mg (19%)Potassium: 240mg (7%)Fiber: 3g (12%)Sugar: 149g (166%)Vitamin A: 1080IU (22%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 170mg (17%)Iron: 4mg (22%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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