This fun chocolate chip reindeer cake has the taste of a chocolate chip cookie cake and the look of Santa’s reindeer! It’s an adorable Christmas treat for serving at your next holiday party!
There’s just something about serving up cute Christmas appetizers and treats during the holiday season. It’s like if something looks like a Christmas character, it tastes better.
Case in point? These Grinch cupcakes and these melted snowman cookies. Oh and of course these reindeer brownie balls, they’re way better than the original brownie balls recipe simply because they look like reindeer!
And it’s not just for kids – I’ve seen plenty of grown adults getting excited about Christmas tree cookies and Santa hat cupcakes! It’s just more fun and a great way to stay in the holiday spirit.
So of course instead of just sharing a traditional cookie cake recipe, I turned this into a reindeer cake. The cookie cake recipe itself is delicious, but it’s even more fun because it looks like Rudolph and his buddies!
And it’s so easy to make – just as easy as if you were making a regular batch of chocolate chip cookies!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Adorable – the cookie cake colors really make this reindeer cake over the top because it really does look like what I’d imagine a reindeer would look like with the brown and chocolate spots!
- No-chill recipe – unlike so many Christmas recipes that need to be chilled or cooled, you can make, bake, and eat this pretty much right away!
- Simple decorating – let the kids help decorate this cake! It’s easy to turn it into a reindeer with just the addition of pretzels, M&Ms, and candy eyes!
The ingredients in the picture above are for the cookie cake itself. To turn this into a reindeer cake, you’ll also need:
- Brown and red M&Ms
- Mini pretzels
- Buttercream frosting – just softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla mixed together
- Candy eyes
How to Make a Reindeer Cake
This cake is just as easy as making a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies except instead of turning it into cookies, we’ll be turning it into a cake.
And then decorating to make it look like a reindeer cake!
1 – Make the cookie cake
Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. You can also just use a regular 9″ cake pan, I just prefer the springform to make it easier to get out.
If you’re using a regular cake pan, trace the bottom of the cake pan on a piece of parchment paper and cut out the circle. Place the parchment paper into the bottom of the pan and then spray with non-stick baking spray. This helps keep it from sticking and makes it easy to get out without being able to open the pan.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You want the color of the butter to be a pale yellow, not the bright yellow butter normally is!
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg until well incorporated. Then beat in the vanilla extract.
With your mixer on low speed, add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix, stop mixing when the dry ingredients are combined into the wet.
Now fold in the chocolate chips and gently mix until they are evenly distributed in the dough. Don’t use an actual mixer to this or you’ll end up with little bits of broken chocolate chips in the reindeer cake instead of the full-size chocolate chips you want!
Take the dough and press it evenly into the prepared pan. If you need to, use a spatula to smooth it out on top so it’s an even layer of dough.
Bake until the cookie cake starts to brown on the edges and the middle is just barely set, about 35-40 minutes. You don’t want it to over bake or it’ll get hard and no one likes hard chocolate chip cookies.
Remove the cookie from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the rim and transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
If you’re not using a springform pan, let cool in the cake pan and gently turn over and pat on the bottom of the pan to get it to come out. Be careful so you don’t break your cake completely.
2 – Make the buttercream
While cookie is cooling, make your buttercream. Whip the butter until it is fluffy, then add the vanilla.
Next, slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time and continue to beat until it is a good consistency. If needed, you can add a teaspoon of milk to thin it a bit, but you want it to be pretty thick so it’ll hold up the pretzels once you decorate your reindeer cake.
3 – decorate the reindeer cake
After the cookie is completely cooled, it’s time to decorate.
First, slice it into eight even pieces, but do not separate the slices, just leave them there.
You could technically decorate before slicing, but I found it much easier to decorate after slicing so I could make sure each reindeer got his proper decorations.
Pipe four dollops of frosting on the edge of each piece to hold the antlers. You can add some fun Christmas sprinkles on top if you’d like as well but totally optional!
On each individual piece, gently press two pretzels, upright, into the frosting for antlers.
Then use the piping bag to add dots for two eyes and a nose on each of the slices.
Place two eyes and a brown M&M for 7 noses and one red M&M for the last nose. (Hello, Rudolph!) You can also add sprinkles if you want it to be even more festive.
Your reindeer are ready to fly right onto your plates! Serve using a pie or cake server, making sure to get all the way from the antlers to the nose for each of the reindeer!
This cake is a rich and thick cake. While I recommend cutting it into eight slices to make your cut little reindeer, a slice of cake is a lot for one person, especially if it’s a kid. I recommend sharing slices or when you’re ready to actually serve, cut the slices in half so it’s not quite so much.
Avoid people fighting over who gets Rudolph by giving them all red noses, or none of them red noses. They all pretty much taste the same and they look cute with brown and red noses!
Store the reindeer cake in an airtight container for up to five days. If you know you’re not going to eat it right away, make the cookie cake first then make the buttercream, frost, and decorate right before serving.
Freeze this reindeer cake in an airtight container for up to three months before frosting. If you’ve already frosted and decorated, simply scrape off the frosting before freezing. If you want to thaw separately, you can wrap individual pieces of the cake in plastic wrap before putting into a bag.
Cut the cake once it’s completely cooled with a plastic knife using a sawing motion. This will give you the best chance of keeping it from destroying the slices!
A cookie cake is chocolate chip cookie dough baked into a cake pan so it tastes like a chocolate chip cookie but in cake form! It’s a fun and unique twist on chocolate chip cookies.
More Easy Cake Recipes
If you liked this reindeer cake, you’ll love these other fun Christmas cakes!
- Eggnog pound cake – this delicious cake is yummy even if you don’t like eggnog!
- Red velvet cake – this gorgeous red cake is topped with cream cheese icing and sugared cranberries for a showstopping Christmas dessert!
- Gingerbread tres leches – this moist and flavorful cake is full of grown-up flavor with a holiday twist!
- Swiss roll cake – this cake is not inspired by but also filled with Little Debbie Swiss Roll cake treats, it’s so good!
- Hot chocolate cupcakes – while not technically a cake, these little cupcakes are bursting with hot chocolate flavor!
Chocolate Chip Reindeer Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ⅔ cups all-pupose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk. chocolate)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 16 mini pretzels
- 16 small candy eyes
- 7 brown M&M"s candies
- 1 red M&M's candy
- sprinkles (if desired)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.1 cup unsalted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg. Stir in vanilla extract.2 large eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract
- With mixer on low speed, add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined.2 2/3 cups all-pupose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt
- Fold in chocolate chips until just combined.2 cups chocolate chips
- While cookie is cooling, make your buttercream. Whip the butter until it is fluffy, then add the vanilla.1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time and continue to beat until it is a good consistency. If too thick, add milk a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency.2 cups powdered sugar
- Transfer buttercream to a piping bag with a star tip.
- After the cookie is completely cooled, slice it into 8 even pieces, but do not separate.
- Pipe two dollops of frosting on the edge of each piece to hold the antlers,then a small dot of frosting for each eye and a small dot of frosting on the tip for the nose on each piece.
- On each individual piece, gently press two pretzels, upright, into the frosting for antlers. Then on the frosting dots on each piece, place two eyes and a brown M&M for 7 noses and one red M&M for the last nose. (Hello, Rudolf!) Add sprinkles if desired.16 mini pretzels, 16 small candy eyes, 7 brown M&M"s candies, 1 red M&M's candy, sprinkles
- Serve immediately.