Over-The-Top Cookie Cake Recipe

Cakes are cakes and cookies are cookies, but the lines started to blur back in the '70s with the birth of the first cookie cake. While the first such cakes were little more than oversized cookies decorated with frosting, over time they evolved into multi-layered marvels like this truly over-the-top example. Recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse introduces her creation by saying, "working your way through the marshmallow, chocolate, and caramel fillings makes each bite more interesting than the last and downing a slice a little too easy." Her favorite part, she says, is the outer edges as they stay a little more crispy and cookie-like.

While this recipe is made with kitchen sink cookies (chocolate chip with the addition of toffee, M&Ms, and pretzels), Rosenhouse does say that you can use any kind of cookie dough you wish. As she tells us, "there's so much room for creativity when it comes to this cookie cake." This means that substitutions are definitely on the table, such as using chocolate fudge sauce in place of caramel, potato chips in place of pretzels, peanut butter in place of chocolate hazelnut spread, or anything else you think might work. Rosenhouse even allows that "store-bought fillings can be great in a pinch," which can cut down on all of the prep time needed to make this cake. Still, if you want something truly OTT, you've got to put in a little effort, and when you're done, you'll have something truly impressive to dish up.

Assemble the numerous ingredients needed for over-the-top cookie cake

Needless to say, an over-the-top cake is going to require a bunch of different ingredients. For the cookies themselves you'll need the usual suspects: butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla. You'll also be using several mix-ins: chocolate chips, toffee bits, M&Ms, and pretzels. For the edible glues that hold the cake together, you'll also need caramel candies, cream, corn syrup, egg whites, chocolate hazelnut spread (like Nutella or similar), and oil.

Make the cookie dough

Set the oven to 375 F. As that's preheating, beat the butter (which you'll want room temperature) with the brown sugar and ½ cup of the granulated sugar for about 2 minutes at a low to medium speed. Once the mixture looks light and fluffy, add both of the whole eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. (The egg whites that we call for separately don't go into the cookie dough.)

Set aside a tablespoon each of chocolate chips, toffee bits, and M&Ms as well as several pretzels to decorate the top of the cake. Now mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla into the butter/sugar/egg blend along with the remaining chocolate chips and toffee bits. Once the mixture looks dough-like, fold in the rest of the M&Ms and pretzels.

Bake the cookies

Get out at least 2 large cookie sheets and either line or grease them. Scoop out ½ cup-sized balls of dough (about 4 ounces each), two per sheet, and situate them with at least 3 inches of space between each cookie as well as the edges of the pan. Top the cookies with wax or parchment paper, then flatten them out into 6-inch circles. "By flattening room-temperature cookie dough," Rosenhouse tells us, "you get an evenly-baked round layer that's perfect for stacking." Before you put the cookies in the oven, though, don't forget to take off the paper topper.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Halfway through the cooking time, swap the positions of the baking sheets so that the one on the bottom oven shelf can spend some time on the top and vice versa. This will let the cookies bake evenly.

Cool the cookies on the countertop. If you'll be re-using a cookie sheet for the next batch, let it cool for at least 10 minutes before you do the dough-squishing step. Keep baking the cookies in batches until you've used up all of the dough, by which time you should have about 10 giant cookies.

Make the fillings

For the caramel sauce, put the unwrapped caramels in a pot with 2 tablespoons of water and melt them over low heat, stirring now and then. Once they are melted, add the cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. When the sauce starts bubbling, turn off the heat and let it cool.

Next, move on to the marshmallow filling. Simmer the corn syrup with ½ cup water and the rest of the granulated sugar. If you have a candy thermometer, watch for it to hit 235 F. The mixture should be about as thick as corn syrup once it's done cooking. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. As soon as the syrup is done, add it slowly to the whipped whites, continuing to beat the mixture at a low speed. Keep beating the marshmallow mixture for 4 to 5 minutes more until it thickens, then stir in the vanilla and salt.

Assemble the cake

Rosenhouse likes to use piping bags to apply the fillings to the cake, suggesting a medium round tip for the marshmallow filling if you have one. For the chocolate spread, she says you can simply cut a half-inch opening (you can do this with a plastic zipper bag, too).

Start by putting a blop of marshmallow filling on a cake plate, then use this to stick down a cookie. Squirt a circle of marshmallow filling about ¼ inch inside the outer edge of the cookie, then apply a ring or two of chocolate spread inside this. Fill in the center with the caramel, then top the cookie with another cookie and repeat the process. Keep going until you've used up all of the cookies, leaving the one on the top unadorned at present.

Decorate the cake

Drizzle the rest of the caramel sauce over one side of the cookie cake in a drip fashion. Mix the oil into the remaining chocolate spread until it's pourable (you may need more or less oil, depending on how much spread you have left), then dribble it over the caramel. Use the marshmallow stuff to decorate the top of the cake — Rosenhouse says you can even brown it if you have a mini torch. Sprinkle the reserved candies and pretzels over the cake, then stick the whole thing in the fridge.

The cake needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour, then brought back to room temperature for another half hour, before you attempt to slice it. The reason for this rest period is that it helps the cookies to soften. As Rosenhouse explains, "they turn almost cake-like over time, meaning this cake can be easily sliced." This also means that you should be able to eat this extra-tall concoction without needing to unhinge your jaw like a boa constrictor. Although that would be pretty over-the-top, to be honest.

Over-The-Top Cookie Cake Recipe
4.9 from 18 ratings
When we say over-the-top, we mean over the top. Ten giant kitchen sink cookies form the layers of this sweet monstrosity.
Prep Time
Cook Time
slice of cookie layer cake
Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • For the kitchen sink cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • ¾ cup toffee bits, divided
  • ½ cup mini M&M's, divided
  • 1 cup mini pretzels, lightly crushed, divided
  • For the fillings
  • 1 (11-ounce) package soft caramel candies, unwrapped
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 1 ½ teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  1. For the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 F. Line at least 2 standard baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugars on low to medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to combine between each addition.
  3. Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, chocolate chips, and toffee bits (reserving 1 tablespoon each of chocolate chips and toffee bits), and beat until a dough forms. Fold in M&M's and pretzels (reserving 1 tablespoon of M&M's and a few pretzels for decorating).
  4. Use a 4-ounce scoop or ½ cup measure to portion 1 ball of cookie dough onto the center of each baking sheet. Place a sheet of parchment over the cookie dough, and press evenly to flatten to a 6-inch circle. Top with a baking sheet or the bottom of a pot and press again for an even finish. Remove top layer of parchment.
  5. Bake 2 sheets at a time for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking.
  6. Use the parchment paper to slide the cookies onto the countertop to cool. Cool baking sheets at least 10 minutes between rounds before repeating with remaining dough. You should have about 10 large cookies.
  7. To prepare the caramel filling, place caramels and 2 tablespoons of water in a small pot over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Stir in heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature before using.
  8. To prepare the marshmallow filling: bring ¼ cup water, corn syrup, and sugar to a simmer in a small pot. Begin whipping egg whites on medium speed to soft peaks with a stand mixer. Continue to cook sugar until thickened to a corn syrup consistency, and the temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 235 F. Remove from heat and make sure egg whites are whipped to medium peaks.
  9. Reduce mixer speed to low, and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the bowl (between the whisk and the sides of the bowl to avoid splattering) until all has been added.
  10. Continue to whip for 4-5 minutes until thickened and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt and whip lightly to combine.
  11. Transfer marshmallow filling to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip and set aside.
  12. Transfer chocolate hazelnut spread to a piping bag and cut a ½-inch hole in the top.
  13. Pipe a small dollop of marshmallow filling onto a cake stand or platter. Top with a cookie. Pipe a ring of marshmallow around the edge of the cookie, leaving at least ¼-inch border around edges. Pipe a ring or two of chocolate hazelnut spread next to the marshmallow. Fill the center with a spoonful of caramel and spread evenly.
  14. Repeat with remaining layers, topping with a final cookie.
  15. Drizzle remaining caramel onto one edge of the cookie cake. Transfer remaining chocolate hazelnut spread to a small bowl and loosen by stirring in a few drops of oil at a time until pourable. Drizzle chocolate spread over the caramel. Finish cake with kisses of marshmallow (use a torch to brown if desired), and remaining candy and pretzels.
  16. Chill at least 1 hour, or prepare and refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before slicing.
Calories per Serving 952
Total Fat 41.0 g
Saturated Fat 27.6 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 93.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 138.1 g
Dietary Fiber 3.8 g
Total Sugars 97.9 g
Sodium 508.6 mg
Protein 10.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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