Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

I receive a lot of press releases in my inbox. They usually start with a chipper greeting and an assurance that  “I know your readers will love this!” before seguing into a pitch about gluten-free dog biscuits, or fat-burning pumpkins from Peru, or my personal favorite, a man who invented a new form of psychological therapy that takes place on a skateboard. (I mean, it doesn’t have anything to do with dessert, but all snarking aside, how fun does that sound?)

Either those PR pros are out of touch with what my readers actually love, or I am, because if I had to estimate the number of times those pitches actually seemed relevant to SugarHero, the answer would rhyme with “shmero.”

…until now.

Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | From SugarHero.com

Recently, I received an email telling me that May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Unfortunately, I don’t actually know what the email was trying to promote, because I stopped reading after that and sprinted to my calendar to make sure that I had this important holiday marked down. (However, if other pitches are any indication, the email probably took a left turn and was about chocolate chip-flavored steak sauce or cookie-scented perfume.) **
**Update: the day after I wrote this blog, I got a press release about chocolate chip flavored salad dressing. Not joking! I think I should win some sort of Most Psychic Blogger prize.

No matter—it had accomplished its mission. I love cookies, and I love made-up food holidays, so you know that I’m going to be celebrating National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day tomorrow, and I hope you will too. Hang the cookie wreath and play the cookie carols! I’m bringing this Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake to celebrate.

Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | From SugarHero.com

 

This might look like a typical cake, but the layers are actually made from chocolate chip cookie dough, baked in 8-inch cake pans. I tweaked the dough to produce extra cakey cookies, so the layers bake up soft and fluffy—you don’t want to be sawing through chewy cookie layers when you’re trying to serve it! They still have the familiar brown sugar taste of chocolate chip cookies, though, and are still packed with (you guessed it) lots and lots of chocolate chips.

Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | From SugarHero.com

 

Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | From SugarHero.com

In between each giant cookie is a thick layer of frosting, because I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t want to frost, or a cake I didn’t want to embiggen. If you’re less of a frosting fan you can easily cut the recipe by a third to make a more reasonable portion, but the cookie layers were substantial enough that I found they stood up well to a big ole scoop of frosting.

Besides, this cake is as much about the frosting as it is about the cookies. The layers of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla frosting are what make it special, and Neapolitan-ish, and they elevate it from the typical giant cookie cakes you can get at the mall.  I used unsweetened chocolate to give the chocolate layer a deep, rich taste, while the strawberry layer gets its light and tangy flavor from freeze-dried strawberry powder.

Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | From SugarHero.com

I’m not saying you have to make this cake for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, but I do think you should eat some sort of chocolate chip cookie to celebrate. Let not all those press releases be sent in vain. Carpe cookie!

 


Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12-16
Ingredients
For the Cookie Layers:
  • 13¾ oz (3¼ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 9 oz butter
  • 11¼ oz (1½ cups) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 18 oz (3 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the Buttercream:
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups freeze-dried strawberries
  • 12 oz butter, at room temperature
  • 36 oz (9 cups) powdered sugar
  • ½ cup milk, divided use
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
Instructions
To Make the Cookie Layers:
  1. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, and spray them with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
  3. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Stop the mixer and finish mixing by hand, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well. Add the chocolate chips and stir them in completely.
  4. Divide the dough between the 3 prepared pans—if you want to use a scale to portion them, each pan should get about 20 oz. Bake the cakes for about 22 minutes, until they're golden brown, starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cookie cakes on a wire rack until completely cool. They can be made in advance and kept, well-wrapped in plastic, for several days until ready to use.
To Make the Frosting and Assemble:
  1. Place the unsweetened chocolate in a small bowl and microwave it in 30-second increments until melted. Once melted and smooth, set it aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Place the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor and process them until they are a fine powder.
  3. Combine the butter, powdered sugar, ⅓ cup milk, vanilla extract, and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until the sugar is moistened, then raise the speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Divide the frosting into three approximately equal portions, making one slightly larger than the other two. (This will be the top layer, which requires more frosting for piping decorations.) Add the melted chocolate and a tablespoon of milk to the second portion, and stir until well-mixed. Add the strawberry powder and the remaining milk to the third portion and stir until well-mixed.
  5. Place one cookie layer on your serving plate, and spread the chocolate frosting on top of the cookie. Add a second cookie on top, and spread the strawberry frosting on the second cookie. Finally, top the stack with the third cookie. Spread some vanilla frosting on top, and use the rest to pipe rosettes or other decorations around the edge. Top with chocolate chips, sprinkles, or mini cookies.
Notes
Freeze-dried strawberries can be found at Trader Joe's and many online stores. If you don't have access to them, you can substitute ⅓ cup strained strawberry puree instead. You may want to add a drop or two of pink food coloring to boost the color, and add more powdered sugar if necessary to make the frosting stiffer.
This recipe provides a very generous amount of frosting. If you like thinner layers of frosting, or don't want to do decorative piping on top of the cake, you can reduce it by a third.

 

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54 Responses to Neapolitan Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
  1. WOW! That is one cookie cake! I love all the frosting :-)
    Chloe @ foodlikecake recently posted…Flourless Chocolate Cake

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Chloe! I am such a frosting fanatic. I know there are anti-frosting folks out there, but I so don’t get it–the more the merrier, that’s what I say!

  2. Medeja says:

    This cake is a bit of work.. but I am sure this cake is very very good!
    Medeja recently posted…Bananų Duonelė su Klevų Sirupu ir Graikiškais Riešutais/ Maple Walnut Banana Bread

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha, everything I do is a bit of work…I’m allergic to sleep, I guess. :) But in comparison to most layer cakes, I think it’s actually pretty low key, so…winner? ;)

  3. This is my kind of cake. Man I wish I could scoff a slice of this right now!
    Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker recently posted…Nutella Raspberry Entremet

  4. GOOD LORD. That is the cake of my cookie coloured dreams.
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit recently posted…Treacle Tart with Brown Butter, Rosemary and Lemon

  5. Heather Seguine says:

    You are a cookie genius, my friend. May 15 is now my favorite day.

  6. Danguole says:

    Oh my gosh. This is even better than I imagined when I saw those cookies on Instagram!

    And I have to admit I never saw the appeal of cookie cakes, because I imagine they’d be rock-hard, but I love how you made these layers soft and fluffy! Best of both worlds. It looks amazing.

    P.S. “Embiggen”–nicely done.
    Danguole recently posted…Peanut Butter Chiffon Pie with Macerated Strawberries and Pretzel Crust

  7. This is HANDS DOWN my favorite recipe you have ever posted. Ever. I’m pretty sure it is the pink frosting … seriously, three layers of cookie dough, Neapolitan frosting, AND adorable cookies?? Heck yes! If anything, food blogging has taught me that if there is a dessert, there is a holiday. Thank you food blogging, my life has been bettered (and sugar overloaded) thanks to you!
    Mary Frances recently posted…Whole Wheat Trail Mix Banana Bread

    • Elizabeth says:

      Fave recipe?! That’s a huge compliment, thanks Mary Frances! Pink frosting makes everything the best. :)

  8. This has to be the most amazing cake ever created. I’ve never been a fan of those cookie cakes you see in the mall, but a layered version with frosting and cookies on top? Sign me up, please!
    Natasha @ The Cake Merchant recently posted…Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Cake

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Natasha! The mall ones are always a little sad to me too–too thin and not enough frosting! Somehow the ones I make at home never have that problem… ;)

  9. lynn says:

    hmmm….i want to know what happens to that cake the day AFTER national chocolate chip cookie day? you need me, right? say you need me.
    lynn recently posted…What’s New Pussycat

  10. Oh you’re dangerous, maverick! Haha I love it! Pure decadence at it’s best! I can feel the sugar coma through the screen =)
    Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons recently posted…Baby Bites

  11. Johlene says:

    The last photo had me drooling.. it is beyong amazing.. that´s all I´m going to say cause sometimes you just have to say it like it is! Happy week friend! xoxo
    Johlene recently posted…Swirled Nutella and Cream Cheese Jars

  12. Jordan says:

    That cake looks amazing! It’s my first time on your blog, and I can’t wait to explore :)
    Jordan recently posted…Thank Goodness It’s Thursday No. 22

  13. dina says:

    it is so cute! i love the colors and the cookies on top.
    dina recently posted…Haagen-Dazs Free Cone Day May 13

  14. Holy moly! This is amazing!
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg recently posted…goat cheese stuffed chicken breast

  15. I so did not know there was such a national food holiday. I’m in love with this cake. It looks so delicious, yet so . . . coma-inducing as well. You know, I taught my teenage guy how to make chocolate chip cookies as a way to win the ladies’ hearts. Does that work? I’m not even sure. A man that bakes, though? Be still MY heart. . . .

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m pretty sure there’s a national food holiday for everything! Today is probably, like, five different food holidays. It’s dumb, and also fun. As a teenager I would have swooned for a boy who made me cookies…okay, I still swoon for cookies on a regular basis. You’re a good mom!

  16. Lindsay says:

    this is so gorgeous!! I love how you fluffed up the cookie layer to make it a little more cakey :) do you have a link to the actual cookie on top of the cake? Xo
    Lindsay recently posted…Giant Oreo Cake

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Lindsey! The cookies are just a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe (I like Anna Olson’s, but even the Nestle Tollhouse one will do) with pink chips from a “Nestle spring mix” I bought a few weeks ago, plus white and dark chips. I should add a note to the recipe–sorry for the confusion!

  17. Cut the recipe by a third to make a more reasonable portion? What? Madness. Nice work by the way, this thing is amazing. Starting your fan club.
    Meggan Hill recently posted…Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

  18. Tina says:

    When I first saw the picture I thought it was made with ice cream in between the cookies, which I think would be delicious if you could get the ice cream hard enough and the cookies not super duper frozen.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Ice cream WOULD be delicious! I think it would work if you froze ice cream in cake pans lined with plastic wrap, then popped them out of the pans and assembled them with the cookies (so the cookies were never actually frozen). Now I can’t stop thinking about chocolate chip cookies and strawberry ice cream!

  19. LOL I adore your posts! I get all of those crazy press crap too, but chocolate chip salad dressing takes the cake! This is my ideal birthday cake. Can you just come on down here and make it for me ;)
    Jackie @theseasidebaker recently posted…Margarita Chile Cheesecake Bars

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Jackie! There should be a website that collects the craziest press pitches–I would totally read that sucker. :)

  20. Holly says:

    I have just discovered your blog (I googled ‘raspberry mousse cake recipes’) and I am dazzled by your photos and recipes! and your writing and wit…’schmero’ :D The styling of this cake, with the sassy cookies posed on top, and the theme of pink/chocolate/white is stunning! so temptingly stunning. So I am sitting here and busily remotely printing your recipes to go through. I am so lucky because I am the sole pastry baker in a private lodge, we serve 3 meals a day, and I can bake/serve whatever seems to be delicious. And I think I just found a mother lode of deliciousness! thank you!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Holly, thank you so much! I love that you have the freedom to make what you want–I hope that you give this one a try! And please let me know what you think when you do. I’ll bet you could come up with some fun variations too!

  21. Hahaha, that’s too weird about chocolate chip flavored salad dressing. Maybe you should work in marketing? Although I’m really trying to wrap my head around that flavor idea. This cake, however, is a great idea!
    Amy @ Elephant Eats recently posted…Memorial Day Recipe: Caprese Pasta Salad!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I know, right?! I wish they had included the ingredients–I am dying to know what goes into that dressing! Obviously some experimentation is in order…or not!

  22. […] Click on the photo for the recipe. […]

  23. moniek says:

    I’m making this for my birthday it’s beautiful i think my family and friend will love it

  24. Steph Wright says:

    This cake looks awesome! I promised my sister I would make this for her birthday and so far I have had two failed attempts …… I will not cry. I will not cry. I can’t work out what I’m doing wrong. The cookie cake layers themselves seem to cave in the middle and the frosting never seems to have enough stamina to hold a layer of the cake. Also the little cookies won’t stand up in the icing like on ur picture………. Please please please help me.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Steph, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with the recipe! (And please, don’t cry!) Let’s tackle the frosting first. It sounds like it’s very soft, so it can’t hold the cake layers or the cookies upright. What is the temperature of the butter you’re using? Assuming that all of your measurements are correct, my guess is that the butter is very soft and is causing the frosting to be soft as well. In the summer months, this is an especially common problem. Try using butter that is soft when you press a finger in it, but still cool to the touch. You may only need to leave it out of the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so before using, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. You can also try omitting the milk entirely, then adding it back in a spoonful at a time if the frosting seems too stiff otherwise. And adding extra powdered sugar is always an option to get a nice stiff frosting consistency. So in order, my suggestions would be: cooler butter, less milk, and then more sugar if necessary.

      Now let’s talk cookie layers. There are a lot of reasons why they might be collapsing, and it’s hard to know for sure without seeing what you’re doing. Some possible culprits: an inaccurate oven temperature (I always recommend using an oven thermometer to make sure the bake temp is correct), baking soda and/or baking powder that is old and has lost its effectiveness (you can google for a simple way to test whether they’re still good), being underbaked (what’s the texture of the finished product? Gooey in the center?) or possible being overbeaten during the creaming of the butter/sugar. If you beat it forever and whip too much air into it, that could cause it to rise too much and be structurally unsound, and then collapse. Are you measuring by weight or volume? Have you double-checked all quantities? I hope some of these ideas gave you a place to start looking–I wish I could say for sure, there’s just too many variables without seeing the situation in person!

  25. […] Mmmmmmmh Kuchen Yummy cake >>> […]

  26. Baby Rottie says:

    I would love some opinions or suggestions on making a fudge cookie and Andes mint cookie cake for my boyfriend. He’s going into the Navy and before he goes to Boot, I would love to make him something super special!

    • Elizabeth says:

      That sounds delicious! I think you could pretty easily use the frosting recipe from this post and add some mint extract to the plain vanilla version, and then use this cookie recipe and double it:

      http://www.sugarhero.com/junior-mint-cookiesand-a-new-arrival/

      It would also be tasty to mix some chopped Andes mints into the cookie batter, and maybe some chocolate chips too.

      This is such a sweet idea for your boyfriend! When does he leave?

      • Baby Rottie says:

        He leaves at the end of next month. And he’ll be gone for about 16 weeks. It’s going to be so tough, but I know it’s worth it for him!

        Oh wow! He would love those Junior Mint cookies on their own!!! I’m adding that recipe to my “care package” list! And I’m definitely going to use that for the cookie cake! Thank you so much!!! I’ll try to get pictures and let you know how it turns out!!!

        • Elizabeth says:

          Awesome! Please do send me pics if you do (elizabeth @ sugarhero.com) I would love to see it! I’m not entirely sure what September holds, but if I have some time I’ll try to make and post a version for the blog before the end of the month, because I think it sounds awesome. ;)

  27. Baby Rottie says:

    I will do my best! I’ve got a bag of Andes mints that I’m going to cut diagonally and arrange on the top for decoration!

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