This crowd-pleasing homemade cookie cake recipe is an easy, delicious treat that’s perfect for any occasion – just bake a giant, decadent “cookie” in a cake pan for a fun and special dessert.
M&M Cookie Cake Recipe
It’s very similar to my M&M cookie bars in that they use similar ingredients but differ in the amounts. The cookie dough is just as moist and decadent, but with less of a rise than the bars. This cookie cake recipe is just as much cookie as it is cake!
I love making this recipe for special birthdays when a non-traditional cake has been requested. It’s easy, fun, and whimsical and can be decorated to suit any occasion!
Why We Love Cookie Cakes
- They’re easy! It looks more elaborate than it is. It’s made with a simple cookie dough recipe and loaded with whatever treats you want to add. The chocolate buttercream or classic buttercream takes it up a decorative notch.
- Festive. Such a fun way to serve a cake with a twist! Use whatever color M&M candies that match the occasion. Red and green for Christmas, Red for Valentine’s Day, and rainbow M&M’s for birthday parties!
- Homemade. Once out of the oven your house may smell like a bakery, but there’s no mistaking a deliciously warm and scrumptious homemade cookie cake made from scratch! It’s so much better than anything store-bought.
- Budget-friendly. It mostly consists of basic pantry staples. There are no fancy ingredients in this recipe, so it’s a great cost-effective way to make dessert!
What’s in this Cookie Cake Recipe?
- Unsalted butter: Bring your butter to room temperature ahead of time for it to soften. If you’ve forgotten, check out my tips on how to soften butter quickly.
- Light brown sugar: Brown sugar adds a bit of moisture on top of the sweetness for a chewy bite. It also has a slightly caramelized flavor from the molasses which is delicious!
- Granulated sugar: Every cake, every cookie, and every cookie cake needs a little sweetness!
- Large eggs: Used to bind the ingredients so it can be sliced without falling apart.
- Vanilla extract: A warm flavor that’s subtle and has the ability to enhance everything around it.
- All-purpose flour: Creates the structure of the cookie cake. The perfect outcome relies heavily on knowing how to measure flour correctly. It’s the only way to ensure amazing texture!
- Baking soda: A leavening agent that helps give it some rise so that it’s not a flat crispy cookie in the end.
- Salt: A flavor enhancer that brings balance to the sugar.
- Chocolate chips & M&M’s: I love the combination of the crunchy candy-coated chocolate and the gooey melty chocolate. These are completely flexible so keep reading for more ideas.
Chocolate buttercream is made by combining softened unsalted butter, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, and half-and-half. The consistency of buttercream frosting is great for piping.
How to Make a Cookie Cake
- Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a paddle attachment and set it to high speed. Mix for a minute and then add the eggs and vanilla until combined.
- Add in remaining dry ingredients. To the bowl of the stand mixer, add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined.
- Form the cake. Fold in the chocolate chips and M&M’s. Dump the dough into the prepared pie dish or cake pan sprayed with cooking spray and gently press the dough evenly into the pan. Make sure to spread it out evenly to the walls. Top with extra M&M’s, if desired.
- Bake. Place the dish inside the 375-degree preheated oven and bake for 18-22 minutes. The edges should be barely golden brown and the cookie will be set.
- Cool, decorate, and serve. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the dish. Only once it’s cooled can you add the frosting. Otherwise, it will not hold!
No Pie Dish?
An 8- or 9-inch round cake pan or square baking dish will work in place of a glass pie dish, but it may alter the baking time so keep a close eye on it in the oven.
Top It Off!
To make chocolate buttercream, start by creaming the butter on high for 30 seconds. Then, a third of the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and half and half along with all of the vanilla. Mix on medium speed. Continue to stir in the remaining powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and half and half a third at a time until the frosting is smooth.
Use a piping bag to pipe with a 1M open star tip to frost around the edge for a classic look. Add extra M&M’s if you want.
- Chocolate chips. Omit the M&M’s completely and turn this giant cookie cake into a chocolate chip cookie cake instead. White chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or peanut butter chips are great too.
- Other add-ins. Sprinkles, toffee bits, mini M&M’s, chopped candy bars, nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries would taste yum!
- Frosting. Buttercream holds up to piping, but you can switch it up for a change. Marshmallow fluff works, and is especially amazing when toasted under the broiler for a bit!
Once the cookie cake has cooled, keep it in an airtight container for up to 1 week. There’s no need to keep it in the fridge, so I guarantee you it’ll be gone very soon!
The dough freezes well, which is great for making ahead. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge before baking. To make things a bit easier, you could press the dough into a foil pie plate and freeze it already in its shape.
If you’re freezing an already baked cookie cake, do so before frosting. Keep it frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw and warm up before serving!
What’s a birthday cake without ice cream?! My kids love a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. When it’s reheated it’s even better! Warm gooey cake and melting ice cream is delish!
For an everyday dessert, I’d suggest a cold glass of milk to wash it down with.
Absolutely! It’s important to follow the directions to a recipe as written, as they’ve been tested and re-tested! Some will tell you to grease and use parchment paper and some will say use one or the other.
I use a cooking spray for added assurance that once I remove the cake from the pie dish, it won’t break apart.
More Fun Desserts
- Funfetti Cookies: Made with 3 ingredients in just 20 minutes.
- Rainbow Cupcakes: An easy and delicious crowd favorite dessert.
- Ice Cream Cake: Only 5 ingredients needed.
- M&M Cupcakes: Soft, moist and topped with a sweet vanilla frosting.
Cookie Cake Recipe
- Piping bag , optional
M&M Cookie Cake
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar , plus more if needed
- 2 Tablesoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ Tablespoons half-and-half , plus more if needed
Optional toppings: M&Ms, Mini M&Ms, Sprinkles
M&M Cookie Cake
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 9-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugars on high 1 minute, until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and M&M’s.
- Press dough evenly into the pie dish. Top with extra M&M's, if desired.
- Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until the edges are barely golden brown and the cookie is set. Cool completely before removing from pie dish and frosting.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on high for 30 seconds.
- Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, 1/2 Tablespoon half-and-half, and vanilla and mix on medium speed. Add another 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 Tablespoon half-and-half and mix until combined. Add the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tablespoon half-and-half, and mix until the frosting is smooth and holds its shape. If needed, add more powdered sugar to thicken or more half-and-half to thin it.
- Using a piping bag, pipe the frosting around the edge of the cake. Decorate with M&Ms, if desired.
- Variations: Make this cookie cake your own by swapping out the M&M’s and chocolate chips for whatever your sweet tooth is craving; i.e. toffee bits, candy bars (roughly chopped), nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter chips, etc. The same goes the frosting flavor and how you decorate. Have fun with it.
- Alternative baking dish: An 8- or 9-inch round cake pan or square baking dish will work in place of the pie dish, but it may alter the baking time so keep a close eye on it in the oven.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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