If you love soft and cakey sugar cookies, this recipe is it! Baked from scratch and topped with vanilla buttercream frosting, these thick and buttery sugar cookies are perfect for special celebrations and easy enough to bake with kids.
We're big fans of sugar cookies in my house, but we don't always agree on what a perfect sugar cookie should be. I grew up loving soft cut out sugar cookies, and I'll always have a sweet spot for sugar cookie sandwiches. Alex, on the other hand, wants his sugar cookies soft, thick, and cake-like. I really can't blame him, because these soft and tender cakey sugar cookies are absolutely delicious!
With a cake-like texture and vanilla buttercream frosting, each cookie is like a mini serving of vanilla cake. These cookies are quick and simple to make (they're perfect for baking with kids!), and the cookie dough is ready to bake in under 30 minutes! And while I love them decorated with easy buttercream flowers, there are a million ways you could decorate these cookies. Their crowd-pleasing taste and versatility make this recipe a celebration staple!
Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Line baking sheets (I used three with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.
MAKE THE COOKIE DOUGH
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer), cream butter and sugar by first beating butter on high speed until smooth and creamy and then adding sugar and beating on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add egg to the creamed butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until well blended. Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined.
- With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until blended.
- Use a cookie scoop or large spoon to scoop 1 ½ Tbsp. of cookie dough into balls. Place cookie dough balls at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake cookies, one tray at a time on the oven's middle rack, for 12 minutes or until the cookies are just golden at the edges. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- When cookies have cooled, make the buttercream frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer), beat room temperature butter and shortening on high speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and beat on high speed until blended. Be sure to stop to scrape the bowl as you're mixing. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the sugar. When all of the sugar has been added, turn up the speed to medium and beat until blended. The frosting will be a little bit dry. Add the cream (or milk) and beat at high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy. (Keep scrolling to read about the simple method I used to decorate these cookies!)
Easy "Painted" Buttercream Flowers (No Piping Tips Needed!)
This Instagram post from Wilton is what inspired these buttercream flowers, and I love how simple and imperfect this design is! I used a small, flat spatula (4 inches long by ¾ inch wide, an offset spatula of the same size would work great, too) to "paint" the petals by scooping a small dollop of frosting onto the backside of the spatula, placing it towards the edge of the cookie, and dragging the spatula towards the center of the cookie. I repeated this pattern around the cookie to create an outer circle of petals, then I repeated it again, beginning a bit closer to the cookie's center and overlapping the outer petals to create an inner circle of petals. I used a small, tapered spatula (5 inches long by ¼ inch wide at the tip) to "paint" leaves on the flowers using the same method of dragging a bit of green frosting onto the cookie and also to smear a tiny bit of yellow frosting onto the center of the cookie to create the flower's center. To see this frosting painting technique in action, check out my Instagram Reel to see exactly how I decorated these cookies.
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