This festive Christmas sugar cookie cake features moist and fluffy vanilla cake with pieces of sugar cookie dough baked into it, then decorated with creamy vanilla frosting, mini cookie dough balls, and lots of sprinkles on top!
It's a perfect dessert for Christmas, but can easily be customized with colored frosting and sprinkles for the 4th of July, Valentine's Day, or as a celebratory birthday cookie cake!
Why We Love Sugar Cookie Cake
- All of the flavor of sugar cookies in cake form.
- Stuffed with sugar cookie dough balls.
- It is an elegant and fun Christmas cookie cake.
- Perfect for serving a crowd.
- It's easier to make than scooping and decorating dozens of individual sprinkle cookies!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
White sugar: For moisture, tenderness, and sweetness! This ingredient should not be adjusted or substituted for the best results!
All-purpose flour: This recipe was tested with cake flour and all-purpose flour. We decided on all-purpose flour because the cake needs structure to support the cookie dough balls in the batter!
Sprinkles: We used red and green jimmies for the holiday season for the cookie dough and a festive mix for decorating. Do not use nonpareil sprinkles or the colors will bleed into the cookie dough!
Vanilla extract: We tested this recipe with imitation and real vanilla. We found that imitation vanilla extract gives the cake more of a true sugar cookie flavor, but either one can be used!
Almond extract: For a traditional sugar cookie flavor! You can leave it out if you don't have it on hand or don't care for almond flavor.
Sour cream: For a rich and moist texture like our Biscoff cake, we added a bit of sour cream to the batter. Substitute with plain full-fat Greek yogurt.
Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Make the sugar cookie dough. Scoop the sugar cookie dough into 2 tablespoon balls, flatten the tops, then chill them in the fridge until ready to use.
Step 3: Mix in the wet ingredients. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract one at a time, then mix in the sour cream.
Step 4: Alternate wet and dry ingredients. Alternate mixing in the flour and milk, starting with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then half the milk, alternating both, ending with the last of the dry ingredients. Then mix in the hot water.
Step 5: Bake the cake. Spread the batter into a 9x13 pan, press 11 sugar cookie dough balls into it, and spread the batter to cover them. Bake the sugar cookie cake until golden brown, then cool on a wire rack before frosting.
Step 6: Decorate the sugar cookie cake! Spread the vanilla frosting on top of the cake. Decorate the top with sugar cookies, extra cookie dough balls, or festive sprinkles.
Customizing the Decorations
Feel free to substitute the sprinkles, frosting, colors, and extracts of this sugar cookie cake. It was made to be customized!!
- Mini cookie dough balls: Heat-treat the flour before mixing it into the cookie dough. This can be done in a bowl in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. The cookie dough is now edible and can be used for decorating the top of the cake!
- Sprinkles: You can use rainbow sprinkles (like Funfetti cake), shades of pink for Valentine's Day, red white, and blue for Independence Day, pink or blue for a baby shower, or other colorful sprinkles for different holidays!
- Extracts: Substitute the vanilla extract for coconut, lime, lemon, etc.
- Frosting: Try cream cheese frosting, coconut frosting, or milk chocolate frosting.
Tips for the Best Cookie Cake
- Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the "metric" button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
- Use room temperature ingredients. This creates a smooth, fully blended batter, resulting in a uniform texture and even baking.
- Cover the cookie dough with the cake batter before baking. This will keep it from browning or melting on top of the batter.
- Don't frost the cake too soon or the frosting will melt off the cake!
Store any cake slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be stored at room temperature as well but will not stay fresh as long.
Yes, store baked cake slices in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
While I haven't tested it yet, it should be fine baked in two 8-inch round cake pans!
As long as you microwave the flour for 1-2 minutes before mixing it into the cookie dough, they are completely safe to eat as they do not contain eggs or raw flour.
Sugar Cookie Cake
Sugar Cookie Dough
- 9 tablespoon unsalted butter cool room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½-2 tablespoon whole milk room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour heat treated *see notes*
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 tablespoon jimmies sprinkles
Vanilla Cake Batter
- ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour *See notes below for measuring*
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup whole milk room temperature
- ¼ cup hot water
- 11 sugar cookie dough balls from recipe above
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Make the sugar cookie dough. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk. Then mix in the flour, salt, and sprinkles. If too dry, add ½ tablespoon more milk until the dough feels soft. Scoop the dough into 2 tbsp-sized portions, pressing down the tops slightly, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.9 tablespoon unsalted butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½-2 tablespoon whole milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, 5 tablespoon jimmies sprinkles
- Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Line a metal 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar. Cream the butter, sugar, and oil until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.¾ cup unsalted butter, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Mix in the wet ingredients. Mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed until completely incorporated before adding the next. Then mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl as needed.3 large eggs, 2 tablespoon vanilla extract, ¼ cup sour cream
- Alternate wet and dry ingredients. Mix in ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then half the milk, alternating ingredients, ending on dry.2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, ⅓ cup whole milk
- Mix in the water. With the mixer running on low speed, stream in the hot water and mix until just combined.¼ cup hot water
- Press the cookie dough into the pan. Spread the cake batter evenly into the baking pan. Gently press 11 sugar cookie dough discs into the cake batter, then use an offset spatula to spread the batter to cover the dough completely. You can roll the rest of the cookie dough into bite-sized balls to decorate the top!11 sugar cookie dough balls
- Bake the cookie cake. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs. Let the pan cool completely on a wire rack before decorating. Try not to stick the toothpick into the spots where there are cookie dough balls.
- Make the buttercream. Cream the butter with the paddle attachment until smooth. Then mix in the powdered sugar, heavy cream, salt, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 3-4 minutes until very light and fluffy.1 cup unsalted butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 4 tablespoon heavy cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Decorate the cake. Once the sugar cookie cake is completely cool, spread the frosting on top, creating swoops and swirls with the back of a spoon. Decorate with the cookie dough balls, sugar cookies, sprinkles, etc. Enjoy!
- Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Let them come to room temperature before serving! Cake slices can also be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container.
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.