A Southern Grace: best month ever

April 18, 2016

best month ever


Starting next year, April will be the month containing my birthday, my dude's birthday, and our wedding anniversary. I'd say that makes it a pretty special month.

Yes, folks, this time next week I'll be a married woman. Officially off the market. Hitched. (Happily) tied down. Though our main wedding cake will be fancy and proper (and delicious), there are some members of our families who don't care for coconut (hard to believe, I know). As an alternative, I (perhaps foolishly) decided to make another layer cake at home. My beau is an avid enthusiast for all things Oreo, so I set out to find reliable and tasty recipes for chocolate cake and cookies and cream frosting.

You really can't go wrong with chocolate and cookies and cream, and this was a memorable combination of the two. I settled on Beatty's chocolate cake from Ina Garten, and it was every bit as fantastic as all of those 2000+ reviews said it would be. I used 9-inch pans because that's all I have, so the layers are obviously thinner than those that are baked in 8-inch pans as the recipe directs. I cut the baking time, though, and the cake is wonderfully moist and dense and full of chocolate flavor.

The frosting I used was just a basic buttercream with cookies and cream flavoring, and my fancy-pants decorations consisted of plain ol' crushed Oreos and Oreo halves. As you can see in my practice cake here, I initially planned to mix the cookie crumbs into the frosting, but the resulting gray hue was not so elegant. Thank goodness I did a trial run!* The sweetness factor is just right and the consistency is perfect for both piping and spreading.

*In case you were wondering, I made two separate batches (NOT a double batch--that rarely, if ever, works with cake recipes) of the recipe below and froze the layers. I practiced on one layer, which you see in this post, and saved the remaining three for the wedding cake. I adjusted the frosting amounts accordingly.

This cake was certainly good enough to use for two birthday celebrations AND our wedding! Yep, I'm a solid fan of the month of April. I just hope my fella doesn't think he can get away with bestowing only one gift for both my birthday and our anniversary...

(The Most) Special Occasion Cookies and Cream Cake
Full credit to Ina!
(printable recipe)
Makes 2 fat 8-inch or thin 9-inch layers
For the cake:
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
For the frosting:
  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cookies and cream flavor
  • 16 oreos, semi-crushed for the filling, plus miniature Oreos for decorating (at least 16)
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Spray again and set aside.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (less time for 9-inch pans), until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
For the frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes. Be sure to scrape well and often.
Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and cookies and cream flavoring. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes, scraping often.
Transfer about 5 cups of the frosting to a medium bowl and set aside.
Add the semi-crushed Oreos (reserve about 1/4 cup of the crumbs to press into the bottom border of cake, if desired) to the remaining frosting and beat on medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften.
Cut each of your cake layers each once horizontally with a long, serrated knife, so you have a total of 4 thin layers. Place a thin 8-inch round cake board or larger cake plate on the turntable and place the first chocolate cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of the cookies and cream frosting on top. Repeat until you come to the final cake layer, which you will place face down. Cover the cake in a thin layer of white frosting, and chill the cake for 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the fridge and cover in another thick, smooth layer of white frosting. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes.
Pipe 16 stars or blobs evenly spaced around the perimeter of the cake top and place a miniature Oreo on each star. Press remaining cookie crumbs around the bottom of the cake, if desired.
Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Alicia Foodycat said...

I happen to think Oreo's are Satan's cookies and taste of disappointment, but this cake looks wonderful!

All the best for the rest of your week, and many congratulations for your wedding.

Pam said...

Yay, Yay, Yay!!! Please share photos of the big day... pretty please?

Coconut cake is the way to go for me, but my chocolate loving family would prefer this beauty!

Marjie said...

I didn't know your wedding was so imminent! Congratulations, enjoy your big day, and don't let anyone stress you out.

This cake looks great for the chocolate lovers in my house, and I think the addition of coffee is just inspired. I'd be enjoying your coconut cake best, myself, but I can think of more than a few members of the family who would prefer this. Brilliant frosting idea!

(And I doubt your beau would be foolish enough to combine gifts! You are surely worth more than one present in April!)

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

YAYYYYY almost wedding twins! I wanna see pics :D

My birthday is April 1st so I concur April is pretty rad :D

Great cake recipe - you can never fail with Ina Garten and/or chocolate

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl said...

So many happy days in April for you! I have my Father's birthday, Sister's birthday and husband's birthday so there's lots of cards being made. What I need though is this cake being made....! :)

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

Many Congratulations on your upcoming wedding, Grace!! Also, a cookies and cream cake?!? It looks amazing!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Wow Grace, you certainly have a lot to celebrate. Happy Birthday to you and your fiancee, also wondering if you are getting a little anxious at all.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

How exciting Grace!! Will you share some pics with us? I'd love to see the wedding! :D

Angie Schneider said...

Lots of celebrations....What an exciting month!! And this is definitely a great cake to celebrate, Grace.

Katerina said...

I wish to you a very happy life Grace! Enjoy every minute of before and after wedding! The cake looks fantastic!

Brie N said...

You're so kind to think of your guests and make this rich and lovely looking cake! With so many exciting things to celebrate April is going to be like a spring Christmas in your house :)

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

You are holding up beautifully for right before your wedding--I am most impressed that you are still posting and testing new recipes! The cake does look rich and wonderful. Have a great day--and hopefully you can share a picture or two (or more)!

Sarah @ Sarah's Bake Studio said...

This cake looks beyond delicious! I love cookies and cream and in cake form...hand me a fork! :)

Mary @ Vindulge said...

I have zero birthdays in April and zero anniversaries to celebrate, but I SO SO SO want to make this cake. Oreos are my weakness!!!! My birthday was mine and my husband's dating anniversary. Yeah, the dude asked me on my first date on my birthday (who does that?). We dated 6 years before I decided to marry the guy. I tell everyone it was because I wanted my birthday back ;) Now I get my birthday back, and we have an anniversary (the month prior to my birthday). But him??? Poor guy. His birthday is barely 3 days before our twins birthdays, and just a couple weeks before Christmas. He's screwed for the rest of his days ;)

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

So excited for you! That you are blogging a week before your wedding is amazing!
April is a great month... My wedding anniversary too :)
Cake looks lovely! Ina's recipe is most fitting for the occasion !

Carolyn Jung said...

Congrats on your upcoming nuptials! A sweet time like that definitely deserves cake, and MORE cake. ;)

Kate @ Framed Cooks said...

SO EXCITED FOR YOU!! Hope everything is cookies and chocolate and cream for you and your honey - enjoy every minute!!

Barbara said...

I'm thrilled for you, Grace, and wish you both all the best! What an exciting time and I hope we'll see a photo of you both in your wedding finery.
Love Ina's cake!

Marcelle @ A Little Fish in the Kitchen said...

Grace, this cake is drool-worthy! I love all things "cookies and cream"! I cook with alot of Ina's recipes too and love many of her dishes. Best of luck on your wedding and I hope you have a wonderful celebration with your friends and family! And... I agree with everyone else and hope you post some pics when you catch up!! :)

Elsa | the whinery said...

Congrats on your upcoming wedding! The cake looks amazing, I'm pretty sure it'll be a hit. Enjoy! :-)

~~louise~~ said...

I am so excited for you Grace!!! I had no idea your wedding day was going to be in the month of April. A perfect month for a wedding and yes a birthday too!!!

I'm amazed at how "quiet" you've been about the whole process. Now I know who to tell my secrets too, lol...Congratulations Grace to you and your man! May you have infinite years of love and happiness...

I'm sure both cakes will be exquisite Grace. Good idea doing a trial run on the Cookies and Cream Cake. It looks amazing!!!

Thank you so much for sharing Grace...Happy Wedding to You Both! (ditto on the pics:)

Balvinder Ubi said...

Of course not, Chocolate, cookies, cream are all so yummy things. And I love everything about this cake. It looks sooo delicious! My best wishes for your upcoming wedding!

Gloria Baker said...

Happy birthday and happy wedding dear Grace Im so happy for you.
And this cake look amazing <3 <3

janet said...

Wow! Yummy! I like this food. It is so nice and delicious. I will try doing for my daughter. Thanks!

Sandy said...

Belated congratulations Missus! I only noticed you mentioned husband in a comment, which made me have to come over to your blog and catch up. Many happy returns to you both!