a cookies 'n cream birthday cake! / by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

it's birthday week over here at casa de love. me and frank's birthdays are within 3 days of each other - his before mine - and so for 3 whole days we're the same age, which for some reason is a big deal to me! we're celebrating a little bit each day. there was a rosh hashanah/bday party at my parent's house to start the week off, then a celebratory dinner at a super duper restaurant we love, we also played hooky from work and took a much needed beach day, and then there was this cake!    originally i had intended on making a larger, more monstrous cake, but then i remembered we're turning a year older and perhaps i should be more kind to our 30-something year old waists.  

aside from canned tuna fish and thai food, frank is the kind of person who is happy with whatever you feed him, so i generally (or selfishly) prepare whatever i feel like eating.  but if there's one thing he's super vocal about it's his love for anything cookies 'n cream related. back a few years ago (way before the blog) i had made him a cookies 'n cream cake using store-bought chocolate cookies, tons of heavy cream and butter, and way too much sugar.  and i'm not sure any other cake i made ever measured up to that one for him, but i wanted to change that, so i endeavored to make a gluten-free and dairy-free version of that same cake.  

the homemade cookies here really make the difference i think; they're almost wafer-like and have subtle sweetness that don't make your teeth hurt.  the chocolate cake layers are rich and moist, somewhat brownie-like.  and then there's a super simple vanilla frosting to coat the cake, and a cookie frosting for the center, delivering that fundamental cookies 'n cream oomph!

big hugs, all! xo

cookies 'n cream cake (gf + df)

for a larger cake, this recipe can be doubled and baked in two 8-inch round cake pans, however check the cook time as larger cakes will take longer to bake - roughly 35-40 minutes.  if you're running short on time, the cookies can be store-bought, i would suggest using your go-to chocolate cookies, or there are some gluten-free and dairy-free oreos making the rounds at some grocery stores. i tried to keep the frosting as low in sugar as possible, but if you find that it's not sweet enough for your taste, feel free to add more.

| makes a double layer 6-inch cake |


  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large pasture-raised egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk


  • 2 cups non-hydrogenated palm shortening
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


make the cookies

  • in a food processor, add the dry ingredients and pulse.  with the motor running, add the oil, 4 tablespoons milk, and vanilla, blend until dough forms a ball - if your mixture does not form a ball add the remaining tablespoons of milk.  turn dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper, about 18-inches long; with your hands, roll the dough into an even 1 1/2-inch log.  wrap with the parchment and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  with a sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/8-inch thick coins and place on cookie sheets.  bake for 10-12 minutes until firm and fragrant.  let cookies cool and place in a lidded container at room temperature until ready to use. cookies can be stored for up 4 days.    

make the cake

  • preheat oven to 350°F and oil two 6-inch round cake pans, then fit the bottoms of each pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  • in a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed, set aside.  in another large bowl, whisk together the oil and egg; whisk in the vanilla and milks until pale yellow.  in 2 applications, mix the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly combined.  divide the batter evenly into each pan and bake in the center of your oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
  • let cakes cool on a rack until cool to the touch, then invert each layer onto a large piece of cling wrap; wrap each piece and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. 

make the frosting and assemble the cake

  • when you're ready to assemble the cake, make the vanilla frosting.  using an electric mixer, beat together the palm shortening, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high until smooth and creamy, set aside.  
  • in a food processor, pulse about 15 cookies until finely ground. in a separate bowl, combine roughly 3/4 cup of the frosting with 4-5 tablespoons of the ground cookies.
  • remove the cake layers from the refrigerator and place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter.  spread the cookie-frosting evenly over the top and sprinkle the top of the frosting liberally with more ground cookies.  place the second layer on top and frost the cake with the vanilla frosting; gently press more ground cookies onto the sides of the cake, or decorate as desired.
  • serve immediately. cake can be stored in the refrigerator covered with parchment paper for up to 3-4 days.


more cake recipes:

chocolate layer cake w/ macadamia mouse + coconut whip

chocolate layer cake w/ macadamia mouse + coconut whip

chocolate coffee layer cake (gf + df)

chocolate coffee layer cake (gf + df)

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote (gf + df)

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote (gf + df)