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A cookie cake decorated with buttercream to look like a turkey on a plate surrounded with plates, napkin and utensils.

Turkey Cookie Cake Recipe

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 34 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 4 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Friends and family will adore this simple Turkey Cake with made a sugar cookie base and frosted with vanilla buttercream. Follow this simple tutorial to make the most adorable Thanksgiving dessert.


For the Cookie Cake

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold from the refrigerator
  • 2 1/2  cups (567g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 23 teaspoons (10-15ml) heavy whipping cream or milk


For the Cookie Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Prepare a 9-inch springform by generously greasing the sides with shortening and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Soften the butter in the microwave for 10-12 seconds. Combine the butter with the sugar and beat on medium speed until well creamed together.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix into the butter and sugar until the eggs are well beaten.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Slowly add into the dough and beat on medium-low speed until well combined and dough forms.
  5. Bake at 350° F 30-35 minutes. Cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil after 20 minutes of baking.  Allow the cookie to cool in the pan for 20 or so minutes and then remove the edges from the pan and cool completely.

For the Frosting

  1. Cut the butter into pieces, about 1 tablespoon size. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, and beating until the butter is light and fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and heavy cream and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  3. Continuing beating on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
  4. Divide the buttercream into 4 bowls and add gel colors one drop at a time until the desired color is reached. If you have leftover frosting, drop a spoonful in each bowl.  You’ll need:
    • 3/4 cup for yellow,
    • 1/2 cup for orange
    • 1/4 cup for red
    • 1/4 cup for brown
  5. Fill a large piping bag for each of the colors, without a piping tip and snip off the edges about 1 inch up. Using another piping bag, fit a large open round piping tip (Ateco 808) in the bottom, snip the bag above the bottom of the tip. When ready to pipe, you’ll drop one of the frosting bags into the other one fitted with the tip, and then clean in between colors.


  1. Place the template over the cookie, and put toothpicks in the marker spots. Then remove the template, cut out the turkey body, and secure it to the cookie with toothpicks.
  2. Pipe the first row. Starting with the yellow, pipe dots of yellow color around the outside edge of the cookie. Then use the angled spatula, or the back of a spoon, and about 1/2 of the way up, apply gentle pressure and pull /drag inwards towards the center of the cookie. Repeat with a second row starting about halfway up the first row.
  3. Pipe the second color. Repeat the above steps with two rows of frosting for the second color using the Ateco 808 tip. 
  4. Pipe the third color following the same method as described above, two rows, but switch to a smaller tip, Ateco 804 or Wilton2A.
  5. Pipe the turkey. Used the large piping tip (Ateco 808) to make the head and body and then used the angled spatula to flatten and smooth. 
  6. Add candy eyes, and use leftover frosting to pipe the beak, wattle and feet. Use a piping bag with a size 5 piping tip for best results. 


  • See the blog post for further detailed instructions and step-by-step photos.
  • Template for 9-inch or Template for 8-inch Do not scale or shrink the templates when printing. The 9inch one will run off the page but that’s perfectly fine.
  • Storing: A freshly baked cookie cake will stay good for 3 days. If possible, make the cookie a day before decorating and serving. A finished and frosted cookie cake should be kept in an airtight container at r0om temperature. If humid or hot, storing in the refrigerator and remove it a couple of hours before serving. It’s best served at room temperature.
  • Freezing Cookie Cakes: These will freeze well, so you can also prepare the cookie cake and freeze it for up to 1 month. Bake and cool, then wrap twice with plastic wrap and once more with aluminum foil. Thaw to room temperature before decorating.
  • Additional instructions for preparing the buttercream in advance can be found in the blog post.
  • Check for doneness: Check the top of the cake, does it still look wet under the first layer? It’s not done yet. It’s okay if the middle of your cake is slightly underdone, that is what gives it a chewy texture, but you don’t want to majority of the cake to be underbaked.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 715
  • Sugar: 59.6 g
  • Sodium: 200.4 mg
  • Fat: 38.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 88.9 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 135.4 mg