Birthday cake cookies are chewy, buttery, and filled with white chocolate chips and sprinkles. Plus, they're made entirely from scratch - no need for a boxed cake mix today!
Sometimes, birthdays need cake and cookies. Filled with flavors reminiscent of a classic yellow cake with buttercream frosting, these birthday cake cookies will be the hit of the party.
You will love these birthday cake cookies because they embrace that classic birthday cake flavor, but without a boxed cake mix. If you've been looking for a birthday cake cookie that's not made with a boxed cake mix - look no further!
This recipe was made from my curiosity of how to make a cookie actually taste like a classic yellow birthday cake. Turns out, it was as simple as adding some extra vanilla extract, a hint of almond extract, as well as white chocolate chips.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Room temperature eggs and butter - Room temperature ingredients cream together seamlessly to create an even dough that bakes up nicely in the oven. Butter should not be melted or cold. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, fill a small bowl with warm tap water. Add your eggs and allow to set for 10 minutes.
- Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter if needed.
- Sugars - We're using a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar in this recipe for optimal texture and flavor. Granulated sugar helps aerate the butter when creaming the two together, which helps lift your cookies as they bake. Brown sugar adds a caramelized, molasses flavor and chewy texture to your cookies.
- All-purpose flour - Adds structure to your cookies and balances the wet ingredients in the recipe. I haven't tested this recipe with other types of flours, so I can't say for sure how your cookies would turn out with substitutions. To avoid wasting ingredients, I highly suggest searching for a recipe that has been developed with the type of flour you'd like to use.
- Rainbow jimmies - I recommend using rainbow jimmies instead of nonpareils or sugar sprinkles. Nonpareils like to bleed when mixed into a batter. Jimmies hold up well to baking and look great in the finished product!
- White chocolate chips - Can be omitted entirely or substituted with chocolate chips. Omitting the chocolate chips will reduce the amount of cookies the recipe makes.
- Baking soda - Cannot be substituted with baking powder. The two are not interchangeable.
- Extracts - A combination of vanilla and almond extracts enhance the flavor of your cookies and give it that 'birthday cake' flavor.
Tips and tricks
Use room temperature ingredients - Room temperature ingredients mix together to create a smooth, even dough without streaks or clumps.
To bring ingredients to room temperature quickly - Slice sticks of butter into small, ½ inch slivers. Small pieces warm up faster than a whole stick. Place eggs into a bowl and cover with very warm tap water. They'll come to room temperature in about ten minutes.
Properly measure your flour - This is the most common issue in baking. If you have issues with your cookies not spreading, turning out extra thick, or having a bland flavor, you probably measured too much flour into your cookie dough.
To properly measure flour - I highly recommend using a kitchen scale. Measuring by weight ensures your ingredients are 100% accurate every time. If you don't have a kitchen scale, use the spoon and level method. Gently stir your flour, then use a spoon to add flour to your measuring cup. Last, level off the top with a knife. By scooping flour directly from a container with your measuring cup, you’re compacting the flour into the cup. This adds up to 25% extra flour to your dough. Check out my flour measuring test on my post 10 tips for baking cookies to see the weight difference of each measuring method!
For evenly sized cookies - Use a cookie scoop. I use a medium OXO cookie scoop for all of my drop cookies for perfectly sized, round cookies.
Use parchment paper - This helps prevent your cookies from spreading too much while baking. A greased baking pan causes your cookies to spread more than they should and also creates crispy thin edges.
Refrigerate your dough - Chilling is important for several reasons. This time allows the flavors to meld, creating a tastier cookie. The flour has time to hydrate, which creates a chewier, thicker cookie. Lastly, some of the moisture evaporates, which creates a concentrated flavor and helps the dough spread less in the oven.
Frequently asked questions
Your cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. To help keep cookies fresh, place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed.
Yes, baked cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Simply place on the counter top to thaw for about 30 minutes.
Dry baked goods can happen for several reasons. If any of the moisture-adding ingredients have been reduced, like sugar, butter, or eggs, this can cause baked goods to turn out dry. If too much flour was added (I recommend weighing your flour or using the spoon and level method), cookies can turn out dry or cakey. Lastly, baking too long in the oven can dry out baked goods.
Chilling cookie dough allows the flavors to meld and firms up the dough so it spreads less in the oven. Some of the moisture in the dough evaporates, which prevents excess spreading in the oven. If you don't rest your dough, it's very likely that your cookies will spread into thin blobs on the baking sheet. See my section above, "chilling cookie dough", to see my chill time test results.
If your cookies aren't spreading in the oven, it sounds like too much flour was added to the dough or the dough is too cold.
It is extremely important that the flour is measured properly for this (and any) baking recipe. Either weight your flour with a kitchen scale (gram measurements can be found in the recipe card in parentheses), or use the spoon and level method.
Using a spoon, fill your measuring cup with flour, then level off with a knife.
Using your measuring cup to scoop your flour directly from a bin compacts the flour into the cup, adding up to 25% extra flour to your dough. This makes your cookies cakey and thick. They'll spread less when baking and may turn out dry.
This can happen when your dough is too warm or the baking sheet was greased instead of lined with parchment.
- Don't skip the step of refrigerating your dough. Refrigerating not only helps the flavors meld, but also makes the dough easier to roll into balls and reduces spreading.
- If your dough is still spreading in the oven, try refrigerating the dough balls for 10 minutes, then transfer directly into the oven.
- Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I do not recommend using a greased cookie sheet. A layer of grease/cooking spray makes cookies of any kind spread more in the oven.
Birthday Cake Cookies
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (160 g) brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¾ cups (330 g) all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup (80 g) rainbow sprinkles
- 12 ounces (340 g) white chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, add butter and sugars. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk (or sift) together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Gently stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
- Add white chocolate chips and sprinkles and stir until just combined.
- Cover bowl or wrap dough in wax paper. Chill for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator. Refrigerating allows the flavors meld and also creates a firmer dough to roll into balls.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Scoop dough using a 1.5 tablespoon scoop or shape by hand into 1.5 inch balls.
- Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges and across the tops. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed container. To help keep cookies fresh, you can place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed. Raw cookie dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
- Cookie dough balls (and baked cookies) freeze well, up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container or freezer bag. Allow frozen balls to thaw for up to 10 minutes on the baking sheet before baking, or add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.
- Try using sprinkles to match your favorite sports team, school colors, holiday colors, or the party's theme colors.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!