Gooey Cake Batter Sugar Cookies
Imagine if Levain cookies and funfetti cake had a baby. That’s what these gooey cake batter sugar cookies are. To give us that gooey cake batter-y center, I decided to incorporate more egg yolks and butter into my recipe in order to mimic that fake yellow cake batter flavor that we know and love. I figured it’s more affordable and accessible not to use cake mix in this recipe.
A few things I want to discuss before the main event. The first thing is that homemade yellow cake batter does not taste like boxed mix. The main flavors I get from homemade yellow cake batter are butter, egg yolks, salt and sugar. Egg yolks have more fat and their own rich, decadent flavor, and they are very prominent in yellow cake.
Another thing I want to note before we get started is that I recommend using pasteurized eggs for this recipe, but I recognize they are hard to find. Here’s some info on how to pasteurize your own eggs.The reason I suggested it for these cookies is because pasteurized eggs are lightly heated to kill salmonella and other bacteria before they are sold. That way, we can enjoy that egg yolk-y batter with 0 causes for concern. If you do not have pasteurized eggs or cannot find them, please know that I’ve made and eaten these cookies without pasteurized eggs every single time and I’ve been 100% fine. I’m just giving you a warning because there’s always a chance of salmonella in any kind of under-cooked egg recipe. For context, we are at risk every time we enjoy a sunny side up egg or any egg with a runny yolk. I know we eat those types of eggs all the time, but it’s worth noting that this is the same kind of risk. The egg whites help form the shape of the cookie, and the extra egg yolks give it that buttery, eggy cake batter goodness on the inside. If you’re nervous and want to make sure they are absolutely 100% safe to eat, you can bake them until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. After about 13-15 minutes, take the temp and continue to measure the temp in 2 minute intervals until it reaches 160 in the center of the cookie. OR you can microwave them after they are done baking for 10 seconds, then take the internal temp until the internal temp reaches 160. Please do whatever you feel safe doing! Pasteurized eggs are the safest route if you don’t want to worry about internal temp. I am obligated to warn you about all the outcomes so that you can decide for yourself.
I want to talk about using salt in this recipe. I tested this four times, and in the first version (which tasted the best) I used salted butter + a little extra salt. This gave the cookies a much more cake batter-y taste, because the butter was already salted and therefore, brought that buttery flavor we know and love. Salt brings out natural flavor and that’s why I’ve used salt in this recipe, and chosen salted butter. Butter is such an important flavor for yellow cake batter!! I also think that desserts that don’t have a pinch of salt taste bland and sad. However, not all of you feel this way and also, not all brands of kosher salt are created equal, therefore, some are way more salty than others. It’s very important that you use kosher salt in this recipe, and that it’s a fine kosher salt. Sea salts or rock salts are way stronger, so if you only have those, please use it very very sparingly. If you only have coarse salt, put it in a plastic bag and mash with a heavy object until the crystals are fine. Then, measure the amount. If you’re not keen on salt, I would slowly whisk the salt into the dry ingredients, 1/4 tsp at a time. Taste it after each 1/4 tsp is incorporated, then once it tastes good to you and your taste, stop adding salt.
One of my followers messaged me that she made my Levain cookies with cake batter flavoring and sprinkles, and that’s actually where I got the inspiration for this version. I gotta give her a major round of applause because I love these cookies even more. I also want to note that if you can find cake batter flavoring and want to throw it into this recipe, add about 1 tsp. You do not want to add too much liquid to the dough, or else your cookies will fall flat. If you want more than 1 tsp, add a little extra flour to the dry ingredients (about 2-3 tsp) and then add up to 2 tsp of cake batter flavoring. I haven’t been able to get cake batter flavoring, but if you do, I think this would be absolutely delicious. If you’re interested, you can find the cake batter flavor below.
FINAL NOTE: the chilling process for this is important, but it’s not 100% necessary, unless your dough feels extremely sticky or you have a hot kitchen. If you follow the steps and incorporate everything in a timely manner (meaning, you don’t let the butter and sugar sit on the counter for 15 minutes before adding the dry ingredients) you should be fine to go right in the oven. Watch my video to see the consistency that your rolled balls of dough should be.
Ok now let’s get crazyyyyy!!!!
Gooey Cake Batter Sugar Cookies
- standing mixer or hand mixer (you can do it without one, but its preferred and much easier!)
- 1 1/4 cup cold salted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes (if you are using unsalted butter, please see salt adjustment below)
- 2 2/3 cup bleached flour can sub for unbleached
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine kosher salt 1 tsp if using unsalted butter, every salt is different, so feel free to adjust to taste
- 3 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1 cup funfetti sprinkles or to taste
- Cube the butter and put it into a bowl. Place the bowl of butter in the fridge until all your ingredients are measured.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, salt and baking soda. Make sure all of the ingredients are fully combined. Set the dry ingredients aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, add the light brown sugar and the granulated white sugar. Mix on low with the paddle attachment until the sugars are combined.
- Add the cold butter to the sugar and mix on low with the paddle attachment until the butter is folded into a sugar, and a cold, buttery sugary paste is formed. If using a hand mixer, run it through the butter and sugar on the lowest speed. You can also use your hands to fold the butter into the sugar.
- Add the egg yolks and egg, and mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed, until combined and bright yellow. If using a hand mixer, you can continue to mix on low, or medium low, and guide the eggs into the sugary mixture by moving the mixer around the bowl.
- Once the eggs are combined, add the flour mixture and slowly fold it into the sugar mixture until a dough is formed. It should be firm, dense and slightly sticky.
- Add the funfetti sprinkles and fold in slowly until combined to your liking.
- Wrap the dough in cling wrap and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to be safe. You can leave the dough in longer until you're ready to bake as well. Your dough must feel FIRM before you cut it. The time of freezing depends on a variety of factors, such as the temperature of your freezer, the temperature of the dough before you put it in (which can be caused by the temperature of your kitchen) and the temperature of your butter. Just make sure the butter is firm before cutting. This step isn't 100% *necessary* if your dough feels firm, but it does help prevent the cookies from going flat and I highly recommend.
- Preheat the oven to 410 degrees and prepare a sheet pan.
- Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into equal-ish size squares. There should be about 8 total. Each square should be firm and chilled, and kind of tough to roll into a ball. If the dough molds super easily and still feels really sticky, the dough still needs to sit in the freezer longer. Roll each square into a large ball, big enough to rest in your hand. Place the balls onto the sheet pan and place the pan into the oven in the middle rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the outside is golden brown and a little crackled.
- Let the cookies sit for at least 10 minutes before eating. I recommend eating them while they're warm and gooey because that's when they taste the most like cake batter. After they set, they begin to take on more of a sugar cookie vibe since the egg yolks cook and set inside the cookie. Either way, I think you'll love these! If you want to make them and serve them another day, they keep for a week in the fridge. You can also microwave before serving, since the microwave heats the inside out. ENJOY!