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Oct 30, 2012 04:07 PM

Turning cookie dough into cake batter?

I would like to figure out how to turn my favorite cookie recipe into something more like a cake, quick bread, or muffin batter. What is the real difference between cookie dough and a batter? If it's just more liquid, should I just be adding milk? Do I need less fat or more egg or anything along those lines?

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  1. While some cookies are made with a batter, most are made using a dough. Dough is, of course, heavier than batter. There are some important differences between cookie dough and cake batter, besides the density of the mix.
    Although you can use AP flour for cake baking, cakes are usually made with cake flour which is much lighter than AP flour.
    Cookies often use only baking soda as a leavening agent, cakes prefer baking powder.
    Cakes call for less butter, less sugar and more eggs than cookies usually do.
    I'd encourage you to experiment, especially in the area of quick bread or muffin batter, using cookie dough with a bit more milk and perhaps another egg and see what works.
    Half the fun of cooking is trying something new and finding that tweeking it here and there produces something good to eat.
    Make sure you keep good notes as you make your adjustments.

    1. From the proportions in Michael Ruhlman's "Ratio" - by WEIGHT, typical cookie dough is 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat to 1 part sugar. Muffin/quickbread/cake: 2 parts flour to 2 parts liquid to 1 part egg to 1 part fat to 1 part sugar, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder per cup (by volume) of flour.

      1. Based on greygarious' data, increase your cookie recipe by 1 part flour (= 4 parts) leave the fat and sugar alone, balance the liquid according to specifications (I wonder why Ruhlman's ratio doesn't use liquids in cookies) add 2 eggs and baking powder to specifications. Make muffins.

        1. My first question is "why"?

          Part of what makes your cookie dough taste the way it does is its texture. Making it spongier or less dense will inevitably change its taste because it will react differently on your palate.

          I think you're just better off starting from scratch and finding a cake recipe that you like that actually began life as a cake.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            That is exactly my first thought when I saw this thread. I understand that some people might want to replicate the cookie flavor in a cake, but if that is your goal then you need to start with a cake batter and work toward the goal from that perspective. You cant just add more liquid to cookie dough and expect to make a successful cake or even muffins. Muffins are made by the muffin method for a reason. You cant make muffins in the same way that you make cupcakes. I just doesn't work that way.

            Id start with a pound cake recipe if you want to replicate a cookie flavor in the shape of a cake. You can't get the texture of a cookie in a cake batter because the outside with be burned before the center reached 180°.
            The closest that you can get to a cake with a cookie dough is bar cookies that are baked in a pan. Many cookie doughs don't bake properly as bar cookies because of the different pan/baking method.

            Baking is about chemistry and if you ignore it you will only make a mess. Baking is very different from savory cooking and it cant be swapped around without consequences. You might get lucky once in a great while but it will be the exception.
            I would only make a single recipe and expect to waste the ingredients, but its always fun to try.

            Please keep us updated in the outcome.


            1. re: Kelli2006

              I've also done CCC dough in mini muffin cups, but this ends up being a short round cookie. Not sure that's what the OP wants.

          2. Some cookie doughs can be baked in a pan and cut into squares. I do this all the time with chocolate chip cookie dough to save time. Grease a brownie pan then put in the dough MINUS THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Spread them on top. Put this in the oven for just a couple of minutes to soften the chocolate then take a table knife and run it through the pan to marbleize the chocolate through the dough. Return to the oven and bake then cool and cut into squares.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Querencia

              Just to note that chocolate chip cookie dough can also be baked in a pan with the chips dispersed as normal in the dough.... Is there a particular reason you do it this way? Just curious :)
              Like ipse, I would personally start with a basic cake batter recipe (perhaps a pound cake if you're looking for a denser product) and then tweak it to resemble my cookie recipe (spicing, add-ins etc). Although it could be fun to do it the other way around too!
              Hmmm... another thought. Brownies and blondies sometimes occupy a middle ground between cookie and cake. Bar recipes in general. That might be another way to approach this. You can probably play with the leavening a bit or try baking very thin in a rimmed sheet pan rather than 9x13 depending on what you are going for.