These soft Birthday Cake Cookies are topped with a perfectly sweet cream cheese frosting and birthday cake crumbs. My recipe is 100% from-scratch, lots of fun to make, and takes just 45 minutes to prep! Recipe includes a how-to video!
The BEST Birthday Cake Cookies Recipe
When the birthday cake craving hits, skip the full-sized ordeal and make these birthday cake cookies instead! My 100% from-scratch recipe is made without cake mix and consists of soft, tender cookies topped with a sweet (but not too sweet) cream cheese frosting. These are as decadent as a slice of funfetti cake (with the textures to match!) all wrapped up in a cookie!
To really take these over the top, I am adding my crisp, cake batter-flavored confetti crumbs that I just shared earlier this week. Of course, you can always just use sprinkles, but I recommend trying the recipe as written at least once.
What You Need
There are quite a few ingredients in the photo above, so I’ll just highlight the most important ones:
- Cake flour. I find that cake flour provides the best texture and flavor for both the cookies themselves and the cake crumbs. It creates a finer, softer crumb and I just wasn’t as thrilled with the results when all-purpose flour was substituted.
- Cream cheese. This keeps our icing from being too sweet and adds to the birthday cake flavor. With a sweet cookie and sweet icing, the subtle tang of the cream cheese frosting tempers the overall sweetness of the cookies. Use brick-style cream cheese (not the spreadable kind!).
- Vanilla. I use clear vanilla in the cookies and icing to add that classic “cake batter” flavor we all know and love. It’s absolutely an artificial flavor, but it’s what you think of when you think “birthday cake”. Of course you can always use regular vanilla extract instead.
- Confetti crumbs. These are optional, but I highly recommend making them! You can whip them up while your dough is chilling.
SAM’S TIP: Feel free to color your frosting! I prefer to use gel food coloring for this as it has a more vibrant color than liquid dyes.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Birthday Cake Cookies
- Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla and stir well.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the wet ingredients.
- Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly, and chill for at least an hour. The dough is just too sticky to manage without chilling.
- Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface, cut it into 2″ circles, and place on a parchment lined sheet.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes and let cool completely before frosting.
- Prepare the frosting (it’s simple, just cream everything together until smooth!).
- Pipe or spread your frosting onto the cooled cookies.
- Top the cookies with confetti crumbs and sprinkles.
SAM’S TIP: I like to break up my confetti crumbs before adding them to my cookies. To do this, I simply place them in a ziploc bag and smack them with a rolling pin until they are smaller and softer. This works better than the larger clumps you typically have when they’re first baked.
Frequently Asked Questions
Because of the amount of sugar in the frosting (and because they don’t typically last longer than 48 hours in my house), I don’t feel the need to refrigerate the cookies. Please do what you feel is safest for your household!
These cookies should be cakey, soft, and melt-in-your-mouth. If yours are dry or tough, you most likely over-baked them. They should still be very pale when you pull them out of the oven.
I think you’re really going to like these 😊
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Birthday Cake Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (226g)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg white
- ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract may substitute regular vanilla extract
- 3 ¼ cups cake flour (375g)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- Combine softened butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl and use an electric mixer (or stand mixer) to beat until light, creamy, and well-combined.
- Stir in egg, egg white, and vanilla extract until completely incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring on low-speed until completely combined (I’ll usually add the flour mixture in 4 parts, stirring until just-combined after each addition).
- Form dough into a 1” thick disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding (note: while the dough chills you can prepare your confetti crumbs, linked in the ingredients list above).
- Once dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or bake cookies directly on ungreased cookie sheet).
- Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll dough to be between ¼-½” (about 1 cm) thick (see note if you have any difficulty).
- Use a 2” (5cm) round cookie cutter to cut out cookies as close together as possible and place on prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 2” (5cm) apart.
- Bake in 350F (175C) oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on their baking sheet for at least 5-10 minutes before carefully removing to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Combine butter and cream cheese and use an electric mixer to stir together until smooth, creamy, and lump-free.
- Gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
- Stir in vanilla extract and salt.
- Pipe or spread frosting over cooled cookies (I use a ½” open tip for piping). Immediately top with confetti crumbs, if using (or just top with sprinkles!).
Clear vanilla extract“Clear” vanilla extract is imitation vanilla. It has a more artificial taste that many people associate with a birthday cake or cake batter flavor. Using it in these recipes will give your cookies more of that flavor, but you may absolutely substitute regular vanilla extract instead (I typically do as I prefer to avoid artificial flavors, but I want you to know your options!)..
Difficulty rolling doughIf the dough is too sticky to roll, return it to the refrigerator to chill for longer. If it’s still too sticky, double-check that you have not mis-measured any ingredients, but you can dust with flour to make it manageable. If the dough is too difficult to roll and/or is cracking, let it sit at room temperature for a bit before trying to roll again).
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You may also wrap well and freeze for several months.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.