Today I'm going to run you through the process of making a decorated cookie cake letter or cookie cake number. Some people call these cakes cream tarts or cream biscuits, depending on where you are from. I'm going to stick with the term cookie cake because it is some really big cookies, layered together to look like a cake! Letters and numbers are by far the most popular cookie cake template shapes we sell in our store. They are perfect for celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. My guide is filled with tips and tricks to help you create your very own cookie cake.
A cookie cake can easily be made in a couple of hours if you need it in a hurry. If you have some more time though I like to make my large cookies and cookie toppers on one day and then decorate and serve the next day.
We have our cookie cake instructions and recipes as a free downloadable eBook. Click the link below to get yours emailed to you.
STEP 1: MAKE YOUR COOKIE DOUGH
It's important to choose a cookie recipe that does not spread when baked. A sugar cookie, shortbread or any other dough without rising agents in it are all good choices.
I have added links at the bottom for my preferred chocolate cookie dough or vanilla cookie dough recipes.
Roll your dough out onto silicone baking mats or parchment (baking) paper to approximately 1/4 inch (6mm) thick.
TIP! Chilling your dough really does make cutting out that extra large cookie shape a LOT easier. So roll out that dough and pop in in the fridge while you choose your shape.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR COOKIE SHAPE
Ok, so you probably already know what shape you are going to make your cookies in. Now is time to create your cookie template (while your dough is chilling out) to help you cut out those large cookie shapes. We offer print-at-home templates that you can use to trace out your own cookie cake template. Sooo much easier and quicker than trying to hand-draw a template. The templates are designed so that you can just print them on your regular printer with your regular paper and you don't need any fancy program or printer. Our print at home range of cookie cake templates is available here:
Once paid for, you can log back into your account and download your templates again at any time you need them in the future too.
All of the letter and number templates are 11" tall and designed so that your large cookie will fit on a standard cookie sheet when baked. If you use more than one letter or number together they will match.
STEP 3: CUT OUT YOUR COOKIE SHAPES
Take your rolled out dough out of the fridge and place your cookie template on top. If your cookie shape doesn't quite fit onto the rolled out dough you can move some of the rolled out dough and place it where you need to make the shape and roll it again. It doesn't matter if there are small creases or join marks on your dough because these will be covered when the cake is assembled and decorated.
Carefully cut around your cookie cake template. Keep your cookie cake cutting tool or knife as upright as possible to keep a nice straight edge to the cookie. If you make a mistake you just need to re-roll your dough and try again. It gets easier the more times you do it and remember that imperfections are OK!
Leave your large cookie shape on the silicone mat or parchment paper and carefully remove the dough from around it. Moving a cookie shape this large is really difficult without breaking it so we're not going to attempt it. Trust me!
You can move your leftover rolled out dough to fit the cookie shape better like this picture when you are starting to get low on dough!
At this point, you might like to use your leftover cookie dough to make little cookies use as cake toppers in whatever shapes you like.
STEP 4: BAKE THOSE COOKIES
These cookies are larger than usual so we need to bake them in the oven at a lower temperature and for longer than usual. I bake mine at 160°C (320°F) for 18 - 20 minutes. All ovens cook differently though so please check your cookies regularly. They should be just lightly golden on the edges. The cookies might still feel slightly soft however they will crisp up when cooled.
IMPORTANT TIP: Do not attempt to move your cookies off your tray until they are cooled completely. I prefer to allow mine to cool overnight just so they aren't so delicate when moving them to decorate. If you do happen to break one you can just use that one on the base of your cookie cake (and no one will probably notice - yep, done that!)
STEP 5: CREATE YOUR FILLING
Buttercream is a popular choice for the icing to assemble the layers and pipe on top of the cookie cake. It sets to a nice firm consistency fairly quickly which allows you to decorate your cookie cake really soon after assembling it. I love a cheesecake filling for the taste, it just takes a bit longer to set in the fridge before you can decorate it easily.
At the bottom of this post are the links to some of our favourite icing or filling recipes including vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream, lemon curd buttercream and white chocolate cheesecake.
STEP 6: PIPE THOSE LAYERS
Fit an icing bag with the nozzle of your choice. I usually use a round tip with a1/2 inch(13mm) opening. You can also experiment using different shaped nozzles for different effects with the icing. I like the look of a fine star nozzle with a similar sized opening also.
Move your first cookie onto a serving platter or cake board making sure that will fit into your fridge. Put a couple of dollops of icing underneath your large cookie to stick it to the serving plate. Put your filling into the piping bag and then carefully pipe the icing onto your first layer of cookie at a 90 degree angle or straight up and down. Move your first cookie into the fridge for the icing to set for 15 minutes so that it isn't too soft when you add the next layer of cookie to it.
Take it out of the fridge and put your next layer of cookie carefully on top and pipe icing on chill again. Repeat the process if you are doing more than 2 layers. After piping the top layer of icing you need to leave it to sit in the fridge for about half an hour for buttercream or a couple of hours for a softer filling like cheesecake to allow the icing to set enough to add your decorations.
STEP 7: DECORATE YOUR COOKIE CAKE
The best bit, in my opinion, other than eating it! There are endless ways you can decorate your cookie cake and things you can put on top.
Here are some ideas:
STEP 9: SERVE THAT COOKIE CAKE!
After decorating your cookie cake it is best to leave it to set in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. This will make it easier for you to cut and serve. The recipient of the cookie cake will be thrilled with their very own personalized dessert to help celebrate their special occasion.
If you need any help at all creating your cookie cake please reach out to me and I'd be happy to help in any way I can.
We can't talk about making decorated cookie cakes without a nod to the original creator of the cookie cake, Adi Klinghofer, a very talented pastry chef, recipe and blog writer. You can get inspired by Adi's work on her Instagram page here. Be prepared to lose some hours trawling through those amazing images 😉
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