I have to say, I’ve been really enjoying having many things to celebrate – my graduation, my parents’ retirements – so I have ample opportunity to flex my cake making muscles. For a family graduation picnic, I made this chocolate cookies and cream cake, and it’s one of my favorites I’ve made ever. The cake was light and fluffy (with rich chocolate flavor, and the filling… I could just eat it by itself. In fact, I probably will do that sometime pretty soon. So good.
This cake did a lot of traveling (from Buffalo to Pittsburgh to Uniontown – about 5 hours total for the cake layers), so it wasn’t quite as easy to frost it as I would’ve liked, as I usually like to make sure the layers are nice and cold. That meant simple decorating and lots of Oreo crumbs on the outside to cover up any trace cake crumbs that got into the frosting – it’s easy to cover up mistakes! The flavor was fantastic, regardless, so who cares what it looks like, right?!
I recommend to keep this cake chilled until right before you want to serve it for ease of cutting. It was pretty hot and humid when we cut into it, and it was a little soft, so the pieces didn’t stay together quite as nice as I would’ve liked… but again, the taste was amazing. Don’t mind the not-so-nice cut for the picture of the slice! Even if it’s not pretty, you still need to see what the filling looks like! 🙂
Chocolate cake, Oreo fluff filling (with whipped cream base), and chocolate frosting. Yum yum yum.
What is your favorite cookies and cream style dessert?
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (can use up to half white whole wheat)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup dark or black cocoa powder (I used Hershey's special dark)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp liquid stevia (or 3/4 cup more sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup hot coffee (or water)
- 3/4 cup oil (I used grapeseed)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin (about 1 tsp)
- 3 Tbsp cold water
- 2 cups heavy cream, cold
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 18 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
- 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup unrefined sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed, to sprinkle
- 4 cookies, cut in half, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, and butter the paper and sides of the pan. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the stevia (if using), eggs, buttermilk, oil, water/coffee, and vanilla extract, and mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes, until fully incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans, and bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. I find it's easiest to invert the cake pan onto a plate covered in plastic wrap, then inverting the plate onto the wire rack so that you don't end up breaking the cake into pieces since it'll still be warm at this point. Once cool, tightly wrap, and place in the freezer or fridge to chill for up to 2 days.
Chill mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for about 15 minutes before making filling.
Place the 3 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to soften. After softening, heat in the microwave for about 1 minute, until melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Remove the bowl and whisk from the freezer, and pour the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into the bowl. Beat on medium speed until you can see distinct marks from the whisk in the cream.
Add the cooled, melted gelatin while continuously beating, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in the crushed cookies.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Set aside to cool.
Bring a saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof mixer bowl, and place above the water. Whisk the sugar and egg whites until warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved.
Place the bowl back on the mixer stand, and whisk on medium-high speed until you have stiff, glossy peaks, and the mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium-low, and add the butter, one piece at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each piece. If it appears curdled at this point, keep mixing until it becomes smooth again. Add the vanilla, melted chocolate, and salt, and mix until well combined.
Switch to the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes to remove air bubbles.
If you’re a visual person, there’s a great step-by-step swiss meringue buttercream post at Sweetapolita.
Take the chilled cake layers and place one layer on a 8-inch cake board, glued into place by a pea sized amount of frosting. Place half of the cookies and cream filling in the center of the layer, and spread with a small offset spatula to about 1/2 inch away from the edge of the cake. Place the second cake layer on top, repeat with the other half of the filling, and top it with the final cake layer.
Place a generous dollop of the chocolate buttercream frosting on top of the cake, spread evenly with an offset spatula, working down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake (this is the crumb coat). Chill in the fridge until set, about 30 minutes.
Once set, remove from fridge and add another large dollop of the chocolate buttercream on top of the cake and spread the same way, adding another coat of frosting. Scrape off the excess frosting with a straight blade spatula and smooth out. Sprinkle the bottom half of the frosting with the crushed cookies. Place the halved cookies around the top of the cake for garnish, and sprinkle with more cookie crumbs.
Chill in the fridge until about a half hour before ready to serve (it's easiest to cut this when it is still chilled). Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. Keep it in the fridge because of the heavy cream in the filling.