Giant Layered Cookie Cake


The following post is written in celebration of my half birthday, which occured on Monday–April 1st.  I couldn’t have posted this on my actual half birthday, since it was April Fool’s and you wouldn’t have believed for a second that I was serious in what I’m about to say.

I was born on the best day of the year. October first. Ten-one. 10/1. A palindrome. Binary. A Libra.

Since my birthday falls on such a singular day,  I always made a big deal of celebrations when I was younger. One birthday wasn’t enough–I prized not just my half birthday but also my quarter and three-quarter birthdays.

To this day, each morning I wake up on the first of the of the month, I calculate the fraction of my age and rejoice a little (or mourn the ascent of 30). Most of the time I keep these celebrations private, confined to the interior of my head, because normal people don’t celebrate half birthdays, let alone 5/12th birthdays.

Most normal people. At camp, at age 10 and 2/3,  I met Becky, who was born on February 1st. We only spent summer months together, and so we celebrated July 1st (my three-quarter birthday; also: Canada Day) and August 1st (her half birthday) with gusto. At college, lovely Lisa, my roommate, turned 21 then 22 on March 1st. My sister’s husband was born on April 1st. I like to think we’ve all bonded, as I do with every firstie that I meet. I feel a natural affinity with any and all of you, as I assume you prize coming in first as much as I do. (Firsties are naturally a little competitive.)

While there was a period when I thought I’d convinced everyone I knew that half birthdays should be celebrated–mine, yours, whoever’s, in reality, only my sister and occasionally my mom would comply.

But were you to celebrate half birthdays, you might puzzle over what to make. A half cake? And then what to do with the other half?

Today’s confection has half-i-ness in its nature: it’s half cookie and half cake. It’s cute and a little silly, which means the cookie cake might suit not only half birthdays but also other ridiculous and whimsical events that need fêting in an offbeat and childlike way. The recipe comes from a Martha Stewart collector’s edition called “Cakes & Cupcakes,” and honestly no one could have invented this but Martha. It’s perfect.


Giant Layered Cookie Cake
Serves 16
Adapted ever so slightly from “Cakes & Cupcakes: The Best of Martha Stewart Living”

4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups chocolate chips
2 pounds (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line several baking sheets with parchment. Find a ruler, measuring tape, or circle you believe is 8 inches in diameter. Keep it around.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

With an electric mixer on medium, beat 6 tablespoons of the butter and the sugars together. The mixture will come together, first into crumbs, then into more of a batter, but it won’t fully become creamy. Beat for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla, and beat. Reduce the speed to low. Add half the flour, then the cream, then the rest of the flour. With a spatula, stir in the choclate chips.

For each of the 5 layers, drop 1 level cup of batter onto the center of a baking sheet. Using a small offset spatula, spread it into an 8-inch round. Measure with the ruler or 8-inch round you located earlier. Bake until edges are pale brown, about 12 minutes.

Remove the sheet from the oven and use the offset spatula (cleaned and dried) to nudge the cookie back into a circle. Return to the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, another 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with all the rest of the batter.

With an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Spread equal amounts of icing on top of 4 of the cooled cookies. Stack the frosted cookies and place the unfrosted one on top. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Posted in: Baking For Others
  • Brian Samuels

    A belated happy 1/2 birthday to you, you crazy woman 😉 Just kidding… I think it’s cute actually. And I think birthdays totally need to be celebrated. I don’t understand people who say “Oh, it’s not a big deal. Just a year older…” Blah blah blah. What a great way to celebrate. I think you made the ultimate cookie cake here!

    • BGSK

      I’ll take the crazy woman moniker since you’ve also been so kind as to send half bday wishes.

  • In Katrina’s Kitchen

    omgggggg this is going to put me into a very happy sugar coma!

    • BGSK


  • Becca Poccia

    This looks amazing. Is there a particular reason not to just bake the layers in cake pans?

    • BGSK

      If you baked in pans, I think the cookies would just look like cakes – it’s the crisp edges that really give this its cookie look. That being said, you could sacrifice those edges for ease…let me know how it goes if you bake it!

  • Carrian Cheney

    ok, that is just unreal!!

  • Michelle

    Why didn’t you post this yesterday?! I JUST made a batch of cookies! I mean, not that I’m complaining… I’ll just make another dessert .

    I was wondering what the creme was made of, because icing would’ve made the whole thing way too sweet! Cream Cheese frosting is my FAVORITE—cream cheese ANYTHING is my favorite.

    • BGSK

      Haha, my apologies.

  • christin schindewolf

    i need to make these. asap. ASAP I SAY!

  • marie @ little kitchie

    I am totally in love with this! Definitely going to make this next time I’m making a cake for a birthday… or a half birthday!

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    Happy half birthday! This cookie cake is outrageous!

    • BGSK

      Why thank you, Marcie. Was hoping someone would wish me that. :)

  • Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe

    I simply LOVE this, there are no words to describe how brilliant this idea is! I love cake and I love cookies so this combo is just perfect for me, I can’t believe I haven’t thought about this before…Thanks for this amazing inspiration!
    xo, Elisa

  • Bessie Nguyen

    I’ve tried making large cookies before and the edges were always too crisp and middle too soft. Did you have any problems like this with Martha’s recipe?

    • BGSK

      None at all. The batter’s sort of halfway between a cake and cookie batter, which is what does it, I think.

  • Erin

    This looks unbelievable!

  • Lori Yates

    Oh, this looks so great. I may have to make this for my sweet niece’s birthday party next year!

  • Taylor

    I love this!!! I want someone to make this for my birthday.

    Side note::I wasn’t born on a first, but I, too, celebrated quarter and half birthdays! My birthday is 10/24, so we celebrate them in the same months. My family and friends think I’m a little weird that I know all those dates, so I keep it to myself now. =)

    • BGSK

      It makes me feel 10 times better that you celebrate your fraction birthdays – so worth having family and friends consider you weird, right?

  • Gemma Chew


    this makes me want to squeal!!! YUM!


    • BGSK

      Squealing totally encouraged.

  • katesteaks

    Oh my god. My boyfriend’s favorite dessert is cookie cake. Saving this recipe for his birthday – this takes things to the next level.

  • keisenpress

    We must have ESP…My oldest sister and I were talking about exactly this cake but with brownie layers! Happy belated 1/2 birthday!

    • BGSK

      We must be related!

  • frost

    this is really genius!!

  • Jen

    This looks amazing! Since you mention that the batter is halfway between a cookie and cake batter, does it taste like a “cake-y cookie”? Or does it still come out chewy?

  • Hybridmom

    I wonder if the cookie would get too soggy if I used vanilla ice cream instead of the frosting? I love Toll House cookie ice cream bars!

    • BGSK

      I think ice cream would be fine! Just remember you’ll have to freeze it for a while before serving. Enjoy!

  • Gina Monge

    I made this recipe over the weekend for my sister’s b-day, and it was a huge hit!! When it came to forming the dough on the cookie sheet, I found that it was easier to coat my hands with a vegetable oil spray and just use my hands rather than using an offset spatula.

  • Scarlet

    Can I check how much 3/4 heavy cream is? Is this 3/4 of a cup?! I am making this today and don’t want to get it wrong!

    • BGSK

      Yes, 3/4 of a cup. (Fixed now in the recipe–thanks for catching that.) Enjoy the cake!

  • Scarlet

    I made this today and it is fantastic! For anyone in the UK who wants to make this here is the conversions and alternative uk ingredients :-)

    4 cups flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    112g unsalted butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups light brown soft sugar
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
    3/4 cups double cream
    2 cups chocolate chips
    900g cream cheese
    1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

  • jen

    If you bring it to room temperature before serving, how do you prevent all the cream cheese frosting from oozing out when you cut it?

    • BGSK

      It doesn’t soften that much – still cuts fine in my experience!

  • Megan

    Gah! I found this on pintereste and I do the same thing. I loved celebrating my half birthday in high school and for a while after. My husband and I were both born on 3/1!!!

  • CookieSue

    This sounds wonderfully delicious and fun! How easy is it to cut once it has been refrigerated and then brought back to room temp? Does it really cut as cleanly as shown in the photo?

    • BGSK

      It cuts pretty cleanly! If you’re worried, it’s okay to leave it out at room temp for a bit shorter and serve slightly cold.

  • Delirious

    This was my Redemption Recipe for the catastrophic cake I baked the other day for Boss Appreciation Day. I made two of the cookies with 2/3c of miniature candy-coated chocolate, and the other three cookies with 1c of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I baked them in 9″ cake pans lined with parchment (sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray, and they came out gorgeously; I used greased parchment paper to press them down flat into the pans (I pressed some to the edge, and left about 1/2″ around others, but it made no difference). Baked at 325* for about 20minutes(some took a few minutes more or less; watch to see when the center is done and the edges are golden). Since I didn’t stack mine, I adjusted the frosting; 2 pkgs cream cheese, 1 stick butter, 1 tsp vanilla, and about 4c confectioners sugar (until it reached a decent piping consistency); I had a whole piping bag of frosting left over, though. My coworkers devoured one whole cookie in less than one minute. My bosses were thrilled. I LOVE this easy, delicious recipe, and will definitely be using it again.~SS

  • DebC919

    This looks amazing! If I make it, I’ll probably just bake the dough in 8 inch cake pans. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • BGSK

      Hope you enjoy!

  • Kiersten

    Ok I know this post is a year old but I had to tell you that we celebrate half-birthdays in our family!! I make my kiddos half of a birthday cake!! I’ve made “half” of a football, “half” of a softball…and I even bought a “Happy Birthday” banner and cut off the bottom of each letter and I hang the banner behind the kid and take their pic with their cake and them attempting to hold up their age in fingers- bending one trying to make a half!!! My best friend has started the same tradition with her kids- she borrows my banner every time!!!

    • BGSK

      Oh my gosh – I love this! Totally stealing this for the next bunch of fractional bdays!

  • Kellie

    My teenage daughter saw this on Pinterest and requested it for her birthday — turned out wonderful! Like another commenter, I had a little trouble spreading with the spatula, so I put some coconut oil and my hands and pressed it into place. I also traced an 8-inch cake pan on the parchment paper (and then flipped the paper over) so I didn’t have to measure.

    • BGSK

      So glad it turned out well! And, thanks for the tips about coconut oil and tracing. HBD to your daughter!

  • Adrienne CT

    I celebrate my son’s half birthday! Being a winter baby in Michigan can make having a party where people actually show up pretty hard. So every July he gets a big outdoor party with a bounce house! You can’t have a bounce house in the snowy winter lol. More power to the half bday! I’m an October baby and I too do a little half bday celebration in my head come April lol. Maybe this year I’ll make a cookie cake! :-)

    • BGSK

      Ha!! His half birthday tradition sounds delightful!


    Dear author, we share the same birthday. Thank you for this recipe!

  • Ashley Lamb

    Is it really just half cup of confectioner’s sugar?!

Need more desserts? A Baker's Dairy-Free Dozen.

Buy the ebook Learn more