I made a cake! Let’s have a party.
I hardly ever make cake. Well, not traditional cake anyway. Brownies, blondies, cookies and pies are much more to my liking, so that’s what I end up baking most of the time.
I am grateful for culinary school, in that I have to bake things that I would never make otherwise. Because I would never bake a pound cake, madeira cake, genoise sponge, bundt cake or swiss roll at home.
Purely because I would never, ever, eat them. Because, you know, well… I don’t really like cake.
How can a wannabe baker, a food blogger, a patisserie student, a girl that works in a cupcake shop, not like cake? Yeah, I know.
The majority of the kids in my patisserie class are there because they like cake and they like decorating cakes and that’s what they want to do for a living. And I’m sitting there thinking, eewww.
Okay so I’m weird.
We had a big family dinner to celebrate, and this was the dessert showpiece. It was lovely, and I even ate a slice!
I turned my mother’s chocolate buttermilk sheet cake (which is a cake I grew up on, and one of the only ones I really like!) into a layer cake, and made a delicious German buttercream. And added Oreos! Who doesn’t love cookies and cream?!
It was a great cake. Here’s a picture of inside the cake once the birthday boy cut it!
For the chocolate buttermilk cake
2 cups plain flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp salt
150g unsalted butter (5.4 oz)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
For the German buttercream
1 1/4 cups milk (300ml)
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
1/4 cup cake flour (30g)
OR 3 tbsp plain flour + 2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g unsalted butter (2 cups + 2 oz), at room temperature
To make the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 180 C and line 2 x 22cm (8 1/2) inch spring-form tins with baking paper.
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter, oil, cocoa and water until melted, combined and smooth. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until incorporated.
Add the eggs, vanilla essence and soda and mix until combined. Finally, stir in the buttermilk.
Divide the batter evenly between the two springform tins and bake for 30-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before icing. I made mine the night before, as they stay beautifully moist.
Meanwhile, to make the buttercream, you need to make a pastry cream base. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and scald the milk – heat until bubbles appear around the edges, but it is not boiling.
While the milk is heating, mix together the sugar, flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk the flour mixture to the egg yolks slowly. It will be thick and pasty.
Once the milk is heated, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Once it is all incorporated, pour it back into the saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
When the mixture has thickened and just beginning to bubble, whisk vigorously for 10 seconds and then turn off the heat, This cooks out the taste of flour.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, putting the plastic right onto the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until cold.
Once the pastry cream has chilled and is a similar temperature to your butter, you can make the buttercream.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth. Add the pastry cream, in batches, and beat for about 5 minutes, until you have a light, smooth buttercream.
Crush 1/4 of the Oreos roughly and mix with 1/3 – 3/4 cup of the buttercream to make cookies and cream filling for the center of the cake.
Crush the remaining Oreos to a fine crumbs and set aside.
To assemble the cake:
Place one of the chocolate layer cakes in the center of a cake stand. Cover with the cookies and cream filling. Top with the remaining layer cake.
I coated my cake with a crumb coat of plain buttercream to make the cookies and cream buttercream go on easily. A crumb coat is a light, smooth coat of frosting that seals in the crumbs. Check out this video to see how to apply a crumb coat with the plain German buttercream. Refrigerate the cake for half an hour.
Mix half of the remaining crushed Oreos into all of the remaining buttercream. Set a 1/3 of a cup of cookies and cream buttercream aside, then use the rest to frost the top and sides of your cake.
I then applied the other half of the Oreo crumbs to my cake. I put a layer of parchment paper around the base of my cake to catch the crumbs, and used a knife to lift the crushed Oreos onto the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the leftover crushed Oreos evenly over the top of the cake.
Store this cake in the fridge. The buttercream doesn’t harden so it can be eaten cold. Serves 14.