Our Sophie, now four, has always been a girl who knows what she wants. What she wanted for her birthday was a table FULL of different cakes. The first one she asked for was an Oreo cake. I mean, how can you possibly argue with that, who doesn’t love Oreos.
She’s seen and drooled over the Oreo cake at the grocery store bakery. You all know the ones, sides covered in chocolate cake crumbs, crumbled cookies on the top. Every week she would ask for one, and every week I would tell her no. I hate buying cakes at the grocery store. They always have an expiry date that’s at most two days away. I assume they’ve been sitting in a fridge or freezer for at least a week. Who knows how many days before that they were actually baked.
So, I promised Sophie I would make one for her birthday, and she didn’t forget. That girl has a memory like an elephant. Now, if I was making this Oreo cake just because (and what better reason is there for a cake), I would have pressed some cake crumbs into the sides. Instead I pressed in these (horrible tasting) pre-packaged heart-shaped sugar decorations. You see, Sophie was born on Valentines Day, and I always feel the need to slip hearts somewhere into my decorating. Even if they don’t taste good, lol.
Here’s what the cake looked like on the dessert table. Yes, the table colours are jarring. It was a Snow White party, and I made the table top and skirt look like her dress. It was pretty awesome, and I’ll have a blog post up soon showing everything!
Oreo cake options galore!
In my past Oreo baking, like these Oreo Cupcakes, I’ve done a vanilla cake with Oreo crumbs mixed into the batter. I’ve also got a bakery style vanilla frosting with more Oreo pieces in it, but this is more of a sugary, quick and dirty kinda frosting. I wanted to fancy things up this time, and went with my favourite chocolate cake and a silky buttercream. Now, you’re going to notice a little bit of espresso (or you can use coffee) in the ingredients. The cake doesn’t taste like coffee at all, it’s just that coffee does an AMAZING job at making the chocolate flavour kinda punch you in the taste buds. If the thought of it absolutely makes your stomach flip, just omit the espresso and add plain old hot water in its place.
You also have a choice to make with your buttercream. You could do ALL the buttercream with Oreo crumbs in it (you know you want to), or you can split it up like I did and only add the crumbs to half of it. The only reason I kept the outside of the cake covered in plain vanilla buttercream, is because it would look neater with the hearts pressed in the side. Think of it like wearing high heels because it makes the outfit, not because it actually feels good – and remember that sometimes flats can look just as good.
Cake layer tips and tricks
To get your Oreo cake nice and level looking, like the bakery sells, the key is levelling off your layers before assembling it. I just use my bread knife and eyeball it, slicing off the top of the cake that has rounded once they’re cool. I’ve got a cake leveler too, but honestly, you don’t need it. It’s faster and just as easy to eyeball it, and if you’re off a little bit, that’s easy enough to fix with your frosting!
This is the way I like to stack my cakes. Your bottom layer should always be cut side up (from levelling off the tops), same with any layers in the middle. Your top layer should be cut side down though, so that the top of the cake is nice and smooth from the baking pan, and won’t give off many crumbs
Icing tips and finishing touches
Wanna know how I made the sides look like that, with the lines in it? SUPER EASY! I have this spinning Wilton cake stand for icing, which makes this a lot easier. Then, I just hold my small offset icing spatula against the side of the iced cake, pressing gently, and spin the stand around once. Then move the spatula to just above the line you just made and repeat until you reach the top. It’s so easy, and looks so professional! You can see it in this video, at 1:10. If you want really smooth sides and top, run a large offset spatula under really hot running water, then smooth the cake with it (you’ll have to put the spatula under the water over and over again, but it works).
Now I’ve got a specific way that you should frost your cake too. There are three steps.
- Layer your cake. So for this three layer cake it goes: cake (cut side up), buttercream, cake (cut side up), buttercream, cake (cut side down).
- Put a small amount of buttercream on the top and sides of the chilled cake. This is called a crumb layer, and will be pretty much see-though. See the instagram pic below for an example. It’s from last years Alice in Wonderland cake. Put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes. This hardens the buttercream crumb layer and makes it easier to frost the outside.
- Generously frost the top and sides of the cake with your final layer of buttercream. I find it easier to using a piping bag with a big round tip and just do a messy piping job up and down the sides of the cake. Then you can just quickly smooth it out with an offset spatula.
Cake, cake, cake, cake, cake, cake
So, am I the only one that’s been singing along with Rihanna while scrolling through the pictures of this Oreo cake? Yes? Really? Instead of “Work, work, work, work, work, work”? I’m the ONLY person?
What if we look at more of the lyrics?
Join me I deserved it
No time to have you lurking
If I got right then you might like it
You know I dealt with you the nicest
What if I also show you the killer salted caramel cake I made for her party too, my personal favourite:
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, hot
- 3/4 cup canola oil (or vegetable)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour (all purpose)
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 lbs butter, cut into 1" chunks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 15 - 30 Oreo cookies, pulsed in your food processor to crumbs (optional, see notes), plus more for on top
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF (use the convection setting if you have it, and spread your racks apart to accommodate three 8" baking pans). Spray your pans with a non-stick baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, espresso, oil, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together by hand the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed for two minutes.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pans for ten minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream.
- Bring and inch or two or water to boil in a medium saucepan. Get a large metal bowl out, that sits on top of the pot of water without falling in.
- Put your egg whites and sugar in the metal bowl. Place the bowl over the boiling water and whisk constantly until very warm and the sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Check by carefully rubbing a drop of the mixture between your fingers (be careful, it's hot, and it should not be grainy at all), or with an instant read thermometer, it should read 140ºF
- Put the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and whisk on medium-high speed for 8 minutes. The mixture should have doubled in volume, and the outside of the bowl should be cool to the tough. If not, whisk for another two minutes.
- Once the bowl is cool to the touch, start adding in the butter two cubes (or tablespoons) at a time. Beat after each addition until it's well combined. Once all the butter has been added, continue to beat for two minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for two more minutes. Beat in the Oreo crumbs if using.
For Oreo cookie buttercream:
If filling the cake and frosting the outside with the oreo buttercream, add 30 cookies worth of Oreo crumbs to the buttercream (or as much as you like, to taste).
If you want the outside of the cake to be plain vanilla buttercream, than remove half of the buttercream after the addition of the vanilla and set aside. Beat in 15 Oreos worth of cookie crumbs (or to taste) to the remaining buttercream.
The buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Once iced, the cake can be stored in the fridge for up to one week. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing.