Let’s make a big gluten free cookie cake, with chocolate chips, the blue and white frosting and everything. It’s a celebration!

I may be dating myself, but when I was growing up in the suburbs of New York City, you were just as likely to see a cookie cake for your friend’s birthday as you were a traditional layer cake.

The cookie was slightly crisp outside and had a perfect chewy bite inside. And the frosting was thick. I think the company that made the cookie cakes was David’s, but it might have also been Mrs. Fields. And you’d often find a storefront at your local suburban mall, selling regular-sized cookies and cookie cakes. 

How is this different from a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe?

This recipe of course makes a pizza-style cake that tastes, well, like a chocolate chip cookie. But to get it to bake up just right, we need a different balance of the basic cookie ingredients (butter, sugar, vanilla, gf flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips). 

The mix of shortening and butter creates just the right cookie dough that is easy to shape into a round, and bakes up with that crisp crust and thick and chewy center. Adding 1 whole egg plus two egg yolks helps make the cake extra chewy and soft in all the right places. 

You do need a round pizza pan, something I don’t ever use for making homemade pizza, though. For gluten free pizza, I use a baking stone and pizza peel since it makes for a more perfectly crisp crust. 

Let's make a big gluten free cookie cake, with chocolate chips, the blue and white frosting and everything. It's a celebration!

Why make a gluten free chocolate chip cookie cake instead?

There are lots of good reasons to consider a giant gluten free chocolate chip cookie over a cake, whether you’re baking for a birthday party, family dinner, or other special occasion.

  • A huge cookie is easier to make than a cake — it’s actually as easy as making cookies!
  • A giant cookie is also easier to transport, a huge benefit if you’re heading to the park for a birthday party or giving your massive cookie as a gift.
  • A monstrous cookie is just different, so it’s perfect for a change of pace at dessert time.
  • You can decorate a massive cookie… or not. It’s going to taste great either way.
  • You don’t need utensils to eat an enormous cookie, unless you’re topping your slice with a scoop of ice cream.

There’s also the matter that a DIY cookie cake is cheaper than any cake you’d buy at the store. Ready to learn how to make a cookie cake? Let’s go!

Giant gluten free cookie cake ingredients

  • Butter – I typically use unsalted butter in my baking recipes so that we can control the final taste. You may be able to substitute with a vegan butter; see my notes below for more info.
  • Vegetable shortening – Alongside butter, vegetable shortening provides the perfect moisture balance for a giant cookie cake.
  • Sugar – We use both granulated sugar and light brown sugar to provide the classic taste of a chocolate chip cookie.
  • Pure vanilla extract – Just a tablespoon of vanilla adds such incredible dimension to sweets like cookies and cookie cakes.
  • Eggs – Eggs provide structure for your cookie cake and help with leavening, or the rising and puffing up of the big cookie.
  • Baking soda – A lot of a cookie’s chewiness comes from the addition of baking soda. Without it, your gf cookie cake will be flat and hard.
  • Salt – You don’t need a lot, but a bit of salt really sets off the sweetness of these cookies.
  • Chocolate chips – Be sure to double-check product labels to be ensuring your selection is gluten free. Choose semi-sweet morsels for that classic chocolate chip cookie taste.
  • Gluten free flour – My trusted gluten free flour blend is Better Batter. You may achieve similar results with a different brand, but I haven’t tried any and can’t really say how things will turn out.
Let's make a big gluten free cookie cake, with chocolate chips, the blue and white frosting and everything. It's a celebration!

In my experience, there are just a few messages ever written on cookie cake (and always in blue and white!)

  1. Congrats
  2. Happy Birthday
  3. Good luck

I’ve written happy birthday on a cookie cake before, but it’s a bit of a labor of love.

The number of letters actually in the simple phrase “happy birthday” is never more apparent than when you’re trying to use a relatively thick frosting to write all those letters in the center of a 12-inch diameter round—with a star border. You can shorten it to “happy bday,” and that’s what I would recommend, for the sake of sanity.

Using meringue powder in an otherwise simple buttercream frosting allows us to make frosting that is thin enough for using to pipe words, but is still stable at room temperature after it sets. Of course, you can add a thick layer of frosting over the entire top of the cake, like you would a soft frosted sugar cookie.

Here, I left about 2/3 of the frosting white and placed it in a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip. I used that frosting to make the stars around the border. Then, I mixed some Americolor brand blue gel food coloring into the remaining 1/3 frosting and placed it in a piping bag fitted with a small open round tip. I used the blue frosting to write a message in the center of the cake and then filled in the rest of the open spaces with more stars using the remaining white frosting.

Let's make a big gluten free cookie cake, with chocolate chips, the blue and white frosting and everything. It's a celebration!

More tips for making a gluten free cookie cake

Top with more chocolate chips

Say that you spread dough on the pizza pan and then notice that the chocolate chips are somewhat hidden. That’s a bummer, because everyone loves to see tons of chocolate chips when they’re eating a (giant) chocolate chip cookie.

You can easily solve this problem by simply pressing more chips right onto the surface of the cookie before baking. Instead of more chocolate chips, you can also use gf candy pieces or crushed gluten free pretzels!

Watch your cook time carefully

It generally takes about 20 minutes to bake this giant cookie, but I suggest keeping a close eye on your oven since some may run hotter than others. What you want to avoid is overcooking your cookie. That will make it crispy, which while tasty, makes slicing somewhat difficult and messy.

Cool completely before decorating and slicing

Believe me when I say that I completely understand the temptation to have a little taste of your cookie cake as soon as it exits the oven. I get it, I really do.

But just like traditional cookies, a cookie cake will be rather fragile when it’s done baking. You have to give it time to cool down and firm up so that you can handle a slice without its falling apart.

You also need to ensure that things are very cool before you start to decorate your cake. If there’s any residual warmth when you start adding frosting, you’ll soon see it melt and smear.

Leave an edge around the cookie cake

Cookie cakes are awesome because they don’t require any utensils, but to keep fingers clean, be sure to leave a little room around the edge of the cookie for guests’ to hold on to. I like to start frosting about 1/2-inch from the edge of the cookie so that we’re not getting frosting on our hands.

How to store a gluten free cookie cake

You can store this giant gluten free chocolate chip cookie at room temperature on your countertop for a day or two with no problems. Any longer than that, I’d recommend moving it to the fridge inside an airtight container. In the fridge, you’ll extend its life by another 2 to 3 days, but any frosting may dry out a bit on the outside.

How to make this cookie cake ahead of time

This cookie cake is so easy to make ahead of time. It will keep, fully frosted, in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, without compromising its texture or flavor. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving it. 

If you’d like to make it more than a day ahead of time, try making the cookie cake itself completely. Allow the cake to cool fully, then wrap it tightly in freezer-safe wrap (I really like culinary beeswax wrap or Glad Press n Seal for a disposable option) and place it, flat, in your freezer for at least a month. Make the frosting and decorate the cake up to a day ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator. 

Let's make a big gluten free cookie cake, with chocolate chips, the blue and white frosting and everything. It's a celebration!

Gluten free cookie cake: substitutions

Dairy free, gluten free cookie cake

The cake recipe calls for both butter and Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening for the proper mix of moisture in the cookie dough. It’s this exact balance that produces the proper slightly crisp, lightly brown outside on the cake with a chewy center. It also allows the cake to spread slightly during baking, while still holding its shape. 

If you need to make the recipe dairy-free, try replacing the butter with 4 tablespoons (56 grams) vegan butter like Miyoko’s Kitchen or Melt brand, and increasing the vegetable shortening to 8 tablespoons (96 grams). That might approximate the moisture balance of the recipe as written.

In place of the butter in the frosting, try using Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. Just expect to use less confectioners’ sugar since the frosting will naturally have less moisture. And be sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips and nondairy milk in the frosting.

Vegetable shortening substitute

You can try replacing the Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening with virgin coconut oil (the kind that’s solid at room temperature), but coconut oil is softer than shortening so I’m really not sure how it will work. 

Gluten free, egg free cookie cake

Since this recipe calls for 1 whole egg and 2 additional egg yolks, replacing the eggs is not a simple matter. You can try replacing the whole egg with one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel), and the two egg yolks with 1 tablespoon of additional unsalted butter each.

I’m only cautiously optimistic that it might work, but it will require some real experimentation, I’m afraid. If you must eat egg-free, you’ll need to omit the meringue powder in the frosting…

Omitting meringue powder

I use LorAnn Oils brand meringue powder because it’s reliably gluten free. Wilton brand is not. I purchase it on Amazon and it lasts quite a while. It simply helps the frosting to harden a bit on the outside so the cookie cake is less fragile and prone to being smeared if you brush up against it. If you don’t have it or can’t use it, just omit it and add a bit more confectioners’ sugar for thickness.

Let's make a big gluten free chocolate chip cookie cake, with the blue and white frosting and everything. It's a celebration!

FAQs

Is a gluten free cookie cake a cookie or a cake?

This gluten free cookie cake is both cookie and cake, but taste and consistency-wise, it’s more like a cookie… that you decorate like a cake!

What is this giant chocolate chip cookie cake made of?

As you review this DIY cookie cake recipe, you’ll notice that a lot of the ingredients seem similar to those you’d find in a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe. That’s because they are!

To get this recipe right, I had to adjust the ratios to account for the much larger size of the finished product. So while the ingredients are the same or similar, how much you’ll need of each will be different than what you’re used to.

Is this the best gluten free cookie cake recipe?

I mean, I certainly think so! I put a lot of time and effort into perfecting this recipe. Let me tell you, there was so much taste testing — my poor family!

But after all that work, I’m pretty confident you won’t find another gf cookie cake that’s as soft, chewy, and delicious as this one.

Why is it called a pizza cookie cake?

You’ll often see this type of dessert called a gluten free cookie pizza or pizza cookie cake, but don’t be alarmed — I promise you there’s no cheese or pizza sauce in this recipe!

The cookie cakes get this name 1) because they’re typically baked on pizza pans and 2) they sort of resemble a pizza when you slice them into triangles for serving.

Are gluten free cookie cakes healthier than regular cakes?

This gluten free cookie cake isn’t healthier because it’s gluten free, nor is it healthier because it’s a cookie cake rather than a traditional cake. If we were looking at a health meter, we’d probably find cookies, cakes, and cookie cakes to be about equal.

How large will this gluten free chocolate chip cookie cake be?

If you use a pizza pan, this recipe will yield one 12-inch cookie cake.

Can I use this cookie cake recipe to make a small cookie cake?

If you’d like to divide the recipe to make two smaller cookie cakes, you’ll probably be fine; just double-check baking time so that your cookie cake doesn’t come out too crispy!

If you’re looking to make individual cookie cakes — or extra-big cookies, as we call them in my house — I would suggest turning to my thick and chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookies recipe instead.

Can I use a cake pan for this gluten free cookie cake recipe?

I recommend that you use a round pizza pan for this giant chocolate chip cookie cake recipe. But if you don’t have one on hand, you can improvise.

If you have a cookie cake pan, you can of course use that, and even a springform pan or cookie sheet will work in a pinch.

Just keep in mind that a larger pan will result in a thinner cookie, while a smaller one will give you a thicker cookie (that you’ll want to check often during baking and perhaps give a few minutes longer to ensure it’s done).

To keep the classic chewy texture of a cookie cake, you want to find a pan that will allow for 1/2-inch thickness in your cookie dough.

What are some unique cookie cake designs?

Traditionally, a cookie cake is decorated with icing flowers along its edge and a piped message in the center. However, how to decorate a cookie cake is entirely up to you.

Some fun chocolate chip cookie cake decorating ideas include:

  • shapes, such as hearts, stars, or smileys instead of a message
  • an offset design with icing flowers on one side and your message to the other
  • seasonal images like wreaths, hearts, pumpkins, and watermelon

If you use a rectangular pan for your gf cookie cake, you open up a whole new world of decorating ideas. Picture it: A football field? An American flag? Even more space for a longer message?

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Gluten Free Cookie Cake | A Giant, Frosted Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Use a gluten free cookie cake to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and more. Enjoy the deliciousness of a chocolate chip cookie in a larger, sliceable size, with a frosted message!
Course Cake, Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free cookie cake
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 generous servings
Author Nicole Hunn

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or handheld mixer
  • Pastry bag with open star piping tips

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening at room temperature
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 2 egg yolks at room temperature, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter; please click thru for appropriate blends)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

For the frosting

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup milk at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Blue gel food coloring

Instructions

Make the cookie cake.

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a 12-inch pizza pan with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In a large bowl, place the butter, shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla, and beat until well-combined with a handheld mixer.
  • Add the beaten egg and yolks, baking soda, and salt, and beat again until well-combined.
  • Add the chocolate chips to the flour blend, toss the chips in the flour to coat them in flour, and then add them both to the bowl.
  • Mix until combined. The dough will be thick but soft.
  • Scrape the dough out onto the prepared pizza pan, and, with wet hands, press it into a disk.
  • Slide the parchment with the cookie dough on it off of the pizza pan, cover with another piece of unbleached parchment paper, and roll out the dough between the parchment until it is a round about 1/2 inch thick, about 10 inches in diameter.
  • Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and slide the bottom parchment with the cookie dough back onto the pizza pan.
  • There should be a 2-inch wide border all around the perimeter of the cookie dough between the dough and the edge of the pizza pan. The cookie will spread during baking.
  • Place the pizza pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown all over.
  • Remove the cookie cake from the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet until firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting.

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the butter and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the milk and vanilla, and turn the speed to mix until very creamy.
  • Add the salt, meringue powder and about 3 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Mix slowly until the sugar is incorporated, then turn the mixer up to high and beat until it becomes uniformly thick.
  • Add the rest of the confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting.
  • Leave about 2/3 of the frosting white. Transfer the remaining 1/3 of the frosting to a medium-size bowl, add blue gel food coloring, and mix to combine fully.

Decorate the cake.

  • Once the cookie cake is completely cool, transfer the white frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip.
  • Use the white frosting to make the stars around the border of the cookie cake.
  • Place the blue frosting in a piping bag fitted with a small open round tip. Use the blue frosting for writing a message in the center of the cake, and then fill in the rest of the open spaces with more stars using the remaining white frosting.
  • Allow the frosting to set at room temperature until it hardens a bit. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Video

Notes

Originally posted on the blog in 2013. In 2019, photos, much of the text, and video all new; recipe largely unchanged (method altered); in 2022, more text resources added.

The post Gluten Free Cookie Cake | A Giant, Frosted Chocolate Chip Cookie appeared first on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

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