A childhood favorite gets an extreme makeover into this decadent Milk & Cookies Cake! Chocolate chip cookie cake layers, cookie milk soak, vanilla buttercream, and a chocolate drip.
Today I’m bringing you a revised version of one of my oldest recipes. Just when you thought milk & cookies couldn’t get any better!
That classic combination you’d always look forward to as a kid for after school snacks, treats on the weekends, or while watching your favorite cartoons or movies…. it was the best! Well, for some people anyhow.
Truthfully, I was never a fan of milk with my cookies (or drinking milk in general). I’ve had it numerous times but, if I had to choose, I’d take my cookies straight up — maybe nuked in the microwave for a few seconds. Seeing as how most people are fans of milk & cookies though, and I’m a fan of cake (in case you hadn’t noticed), what better than to combine the two?
I am (only somewhat) restraining myself from jumping head first into Holiday baking (my favorite) and have been trying to distract myself with some Fall recipes instead. Fall baking is my second favorite, so it hasn’t been too difficult.
This Milk & Cookies Cake doesn’t really fit into either of those themes/ seasons, but you’re getting it anyway. It’s a bit of a break from all the pumpkin and Halloween that’s inevitably going to be getting thrown at you from every direction.
I have been seeing Fall stuff in stores already and I’m sure Costco is just itching to get their Christmas stuff out (or is it already??).
How to make this Milk & Cookies Cake
This is a no frills cake, all in all. It’s a basic vanilla cake jazzed up with some brown sugar, cookie milk, and mini chocolate chips. Initially, I was going to do a chocolate buttercream to pair with it, but I figured the vanilla would let the chocolate chip flavor stand out and provide more contrast. That’s when it turned into a Milk & Cookies Cake.
I decided to do a naked cake to let those chocolate chip studded cake layers shine. A drippy ganache which adds a bit of fanciness to this otherwise simple cake.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I love ganache drip cakes. It’s a really easy way to add a bit of flair to your cakes – provided that you can get the frosting nice and smooth on the top and edges, which is my biggest challenge.
Cookie Milk Soak
The latest (and greatest?) update to this revised recipe is the addition of cookie milk which is basically chocolate chip cookies steeped in milk to give the milk a cookie flavor. I used the milk in the cake itself and as a milk soak to brush on top of the cake for added moisture and flavor.
I also replaced some of the granulated sugar in the cake recipe for brown sugar to be more cookie-like.
If you prefer though, you can just use regular milk if you don’t have cookies on hand. Regular milk will work fine in the cake recipe and as a soak. I originally used buttermilk in this recipe so you can use that too if you prefer a less sweet cake.
This is a simple yet delicious cake that’s perfect for any occasion. If you’re a milk & cookies lover, I hope you will enjoy this cake version of your favorite treat!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I convert this recipe?
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so. The recipe will make 1824 cupcakes depending on size.
- For other conversions go here.
Can I make it in advance?
- The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
- The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1 week for frozen for 3 months. Bring to room temperature and rewhip before using.
- The ganache can be made the day before and left at room temperature overnight or refrigerated for up to a week. You’ll need to bring it to room temperature again before use. I let mine set overnight (with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface). It will be too thick at this point, so I microwave it for 10 secs and stir it until it’s the right consistency. But you just need to let it sit until it’s thick enough to be used as a drip.
- The finished cake (whole or sliced, stored airtight) can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Tips for this Milk & Cookies Cake:
- If you don’t have cookies on hand, you can just use regular milk (or buttermilk) in the cake recipe.
- Likewise, you can replace the brown sugar with granulated sugar.
- The original recipe used buttermilk and all granulated sugar, if you prefer to use that one instead.
- If you’d like to use an easier frosting, you can use my Simple Vanilla Buttercream recipe instead. Half a batch should be enough.
- The drip technique works best on a chilled cake so that the drips set quickly.
- To help ensure cakes come out of the pans cleanly I use homemade cake release or spray my cake pans with Pam for Baking and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, see my Flat Top Cakes post.
***RECIPE REVISED: Aug 8, 2019*** Revised the cake recipe to add in brown sugar and also cookie milk for more of that Milk & Cookies flavor.
***RECIPE UPDATED: Feb 5, 2017*** A few of you mentioned that you found the cake dry and dense so I’ve updated it to a lighter, more fluffy version that hopefully everyone should find delicious!
Milk & Cookies Cake
Cookie Milk Soak:
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 4-6 chocolate chip cookies enough to be fully submerged in the milk
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup cookie milk room temperature (or buttermilk, or regular milk)
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips tossed in 1 Tbsp flour
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- 2 oz good quality dark chocolate finely chopped
- 2 oz heavy whipping cream
Cookie Milk Soak:
- Place milk and cookies in a medium bowl. Stir well and steep for 20-25mins. Strain into a small bowl using a fine mesh sieve. Gently press the milk out of the cereal using a spatula or wooden spoon. Separate out 1 cup of the cookie milk for the cake. Save the remainder to drizzle onto the cake layers.
- Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds and line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on med-high until pale and fluffy (3mins).
- Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and cookie milk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition.
- Fold in chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Bake for 35-40mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack. Allow cakes to cool completely.
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.*
- Place bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.
- Add vanilla and whip until smooth.**
- Place chopped chocolate and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Stir to combine. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between, until ganache is smooth and silky. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly before using on cake.
- Trim the tops of the cake layers if needed or poke holes in them with a bamboo skewer. Drizzle or brush each cake layer with about 2 Tbsp cookie milk.
- Place one layer of cake onto a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 2/3 cup of buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers and crumb coat the outside leaving the sides of the cake exposed. Use a bench scraper to smooth out the sides and top of the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Using a teaspoon, apply ganache near edges like so to create the drips. Pour some ganache on the top of the cake and spread with an offset spatula.
** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth. ***RECIPE REVISED: Aug 8, 2019*** – Revised the cake recipe to add in brown sugar and also cookie milk for more of that Milk & Cookies flavor. ***RECIPE UPDATED: Feb 5, 2017*** – A few of you mentioned that you found the cake dry and dense so I’ve updated it to a lighter, more fluffy version that hopefully everyone should find delicious!