Preparation: The least stressful way to bake a project is to prep everything in advance. This includes two 6” sugar cookies with chocolate chips (double the recommended recipe), buttercream in two colors, raw cookie dough balls, a template of your choice and an Exacto knife for cutting out the template. In your prep, create the Totoro template.
Making the cookies: Place a baking mat or parchment paper on a half sheet pan (a baking mat is easier because it’s heavier. Spread the cookie dough across a half sheet pan and then place chocolate chips. Place a piece of parchment paper over this and then roll out the dough until desired thickness. (Pro tip: the cookie won’t get any thinner than your thickest chocolate chips. If you’d like a thinner cake use mini chocolate chips.).
Refrigerate for ½ hour until completely firm. Lightly outline the Totoro template and then peel the template away. Now make slices all the way around the cake to prep for removing. Next, you can cut by re-outlining the original template. Then remove all of the remaining pieces.
Baking: Refrigerate the cookie for 15 minutes then bake directly. Bake until barely seeing brown around the edges. (Pro tip: because this cookie is larger it helped to have another baking sheet in the oven on the top level. Let completely cool.).
Fill, crumb coat and frost the cake: Place the first layer of the cookie cake on a serving tray. Now pipe an outline of buttercream with a large star tip. Inside of that outline, place the chocolate chip cookie dough. Alternate to your liking.
Making decorations: For that next-level detail I used royal icings to make the arrows in his belly.
Final decorating: Place the second layer of the cake now. Create two outlines using an edible marker—one for Totoro’s body and then the second for his belly. Pipe buttercream using star and round tips of your choice (try Wilton tip size 10 and 199). Now add his eyes (these were candies) and stomach arrows for a finishing touch! (Pro tip: for more color you could fill his belly with candy!).