Birthday cake cookies. “What?” you ask? Take all the good stuff from a birthday cake–sprinkles and a creamy buttery frosting–and smother soft, colorful sugar cookies with them. That’s what birthday cake cookies are.
Sprinkles are sorta like the glitter of the food world. They just bring a contagious happy that nothing else can touch. Whereas sprinkles are perhaps most common on birthday cakes, sometimes we want a more portable encapsulation of happiness. Hence these birthday cake cookies.–Renee Schettler
Can I freeze these cookies?
According to our intrepid tester, Sarah Heend, these lovely little cookies can be frozen with no ill effects. They thaw quickly and can be frosted as soon as they come to room temperature.
Birthday Cake Cookies
For the birthday cake cookies
- 2 sticks (8 oz) salted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
For the frosting
- 1 stick (4 oz) salted butter softened
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 to 3 tablespoons milk, preferably 2% or whole
To assemble the birthday cake cookies
- 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
Make the birthday cake cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, combine the butter, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat until creamy and free of lumps, about 2 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating on medium speed until just combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rainbow sprinkles until just combined.
- Scoop out tablespoon-size chunks of cookie dough and, using your hands, form them into balls. Place the balls 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown around the bottom edges with no uncooked dough in the centers. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes. Then slide the cookies onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make the frosting
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and almond extract. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Assemble the birthday cake cookies
- Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies and top with sprinkles.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These delightful birthday cake cookies are basically happiness on a plate! They also live up to their name, tasting like the cookie equivalent of vanilla birthday cake. I was initially concerned that these cookies would be too sweet for my taste, but their small size and the generous amount of salt in the recipe work to counteract the sweetness.
I loved the addition of almond extract in the frosting, as it gives the cookies a more complex flavor than they would otherwise have. I also really enjoyed the cookies on their own (without frosting), although they definitely look much more festive with the frosting and sprinkles. Unsurprisingly, my kids adored them, and I’m sure they will be asking for them again before too long.
These cookies were good basic sugar cookies jazzed up with frosting and sprinkles. The cookies were soft and lightly flavored with vanilla. The frosting was nicely flavored with almond and was gorgeously white and fluffy. I topped half the cookies with sprinkles and left half just plain frosting. I slightly preferred the plain frosted ones, but only because the sprinkle-topped cookies were slightly on the sweet side.
I confess I don’t often have sprinkles on hand, but after making these cookies, I might just keep some around to liven up future desserts. The cookies came together quickly and looked just gorgeous on a plate. I had a hard time not eating way too many of the cookies, so I froze most of the batch. This worked only marginally well to keep me from eating them—they thawed quickly and I didn’t notice any loss of quality after freezing.
These are a keeper! Starting time to eating time was an hour, which makes a strong argument for keeping this recipe, as when you have a craving you don’t want to wait for molten hot brownies to cool. I loved the flavor—the almond extract makes them just different enough from a traditional sugar cookie and somehow cuts the super sweetness of the cookie and frosting combo.
While my assortment of leftover Christmas sprinkles didn’t make for the most Insta-worthy shot, don’t skip the sprinkles, they really do make the cookies special. Beware, they do spread when baking, so give them a lot of room on your baking sheet. I was going to take these cookies to a meeting later in the week, but they might not last the night!
We happened to be heading to a cabin getaway with family to celebrate birthdays for a 3-year-old and an 11-year-old. I thought these would be a perfect treat to pack for the weekend. The cookies without the frosting are completely tasty on their own, easy to prepare, and it was easy to please a bunch of kids with these colorful cookies.
The frosting was quite good, but I might use unsalted butter next time I make these cookies; it was a bit more salty and sweet than needed for a cookie that was already perfectly salty and sweet. The frosting was mainly a vehicle for more sprinkles and the kids had fun frosting their own.