Cookies And Cream Cake

This fan-favorite flavor steps out of the ice cream parlor and into a decadent cake.

cookies and cream cake
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Christine Kelly
Active Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 25 mins

A fat slice of Cookies and Cream Cake will taste just like a scoop of the ubiquitous ice cream shop flavor. There's something about the combination of chocolate, vanilla, and sandwich cookie cream that makes it irresistible and a beloved flavor for a variety of treats.

What Is Cookies and Cream Cake Made Of?

Here, we pair a buttermilk chocolate cake peppered with cookie pieces and a delicate Italian meringue buttercream, also flecked with cookie crumbs. The cookie pieces will melt into the batter, providing a bit of texture and the iconic cookies and cream flavor.

And, according to our Test Kitchen, the Italian meringue, though time consuming, is worth the effort. "Italian buttercream is my absolute favorite because the meringue base makes for a remarkably light, fluffy, and delicious buttercream," says Test Kitchen Professional Liv Dansky. "I sometimes find American buttercreams to be cloyingly sweet and dense. The additional cookie pieces in the frosting make it that much more delicious."

Tips for Making Cookies and Cream Cake

  • When making the buttercream, you'll want to monitor the temperature of the ingredients—mix the meringue until the bottom of the bowl is no longer noticeably warm, which can be up to 20 minutes.
  • Add the butter slowly. If your frosting does curdle, don't panic. Refrigerate it for a few minutes and then continue mixing.

Can I Make This Into a Sheet Cake?

While we will always love to bake a cake of any sort, tiered or stacked, flat or folded, there's something to be said about the ease of making and serving a sheet cake.

You can absolutely turn this layered Cookies and Cream Cake into a sheet cake. Just add all the batter to a 9x13-inch baking dish, and bake. (Don't fill the pan more than 3/4 full. Have extra batter? Make cupcakes!)

Because the sheet cake is bigger than cake rounds, you will likely need to cook longer. You'll know the cake is done when a pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

You will also have a little more buttercream than you need if you go from a layer cake to a sheet cake. But we're not saying that's a bad thing. Don't want the leftovers? Cut the recipe in half.

Do you not have round pans for a layered cake? Here's how you can turn a sheet pan cake into a layered cake.

Other Classic Southern Layer Cakes

If you're in the mood to bake, we have just the recipes you need:



  • Cooking spray

  • 2 cups (about 8 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa (such as Hershey's Special Dark)

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

  • ½ cup tap water

  • 10 chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreos), crushed


  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • ½ cups tap water

  • 6 large egg whites

  • 2 cups (16 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and softened

  • 10 chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreos), finely crushed, plus more for garnish

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt  


  1. Prepare the pans:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray, and line with parchment rounds. Lightly grease parchment with cooking spray.

  2. Make cake layers:

    Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla; mix at medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add buttermilk, and mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup water, and beat on medium-high speed until well incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add crushed cookies, and mix on low speed until evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and edges of cakes begin to pull away from sides of pan, 23 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

  3. Start Buttercream:

    Combine sugar and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When mixture reaches a boil, stop stirring and continue to cook until a candy thermometer reads 240°F.

  4. Finish Buttercream:

    Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; beat at medium speed just until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly pour in sugar syrup in a thin stream. Continue beating on medium-high until the outside of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch and stiff glossy peaks form, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until butter is incorporated and buttercream is light and fluffy. Add crushed cookies, vanilla, and salt; beat to combine.

  5. Make crumb coat:

    Slice domes off of cake layers with a serrated knife, if needed, to make them level. Place one cake layer on the cake stand, and spread with about 1 cup of the buttercream. Place the second layer on top of the first, and press gently to set it in place. Repeat with another 1 cup buttercream and the third layer.

  6. Finish frosting:

    Spread a thin layer of buttercream over top and sides of cake to ensure no errant crumbs ruin outer layer of frosting once you apply it. Place cake in refrigerator for 15 minutes to help the frosting firm up. Remove from refrigerator, and use remaining frosting to evenly coat top and sides of cake. Garnish with additional crushed cookie pieces, if desired.

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