I was set the challenge of making an Oreo cake this week. Or, more specifically, a Haagan Dazs (Oreo) cookies and cream ice cream cake. Without the ice cream. The request came from a client who loves Oreo cookies and its Haagan Dazs ice cream above most other sugary things, so he and his fiancee thought it might be a fun idea to have an Oreo flavoured tier for their wedding cake. I must admit, I couldn't remember what an Oreo tasted like, so long ago was it that I ate one. To be honest, if it's biscuits and cookies I want, I'm more likely to make them than buy them, but on the few occasions I do cruise the supermarket shelves for tea-dunking treats, I tend to head straight for the hobnobs or chocolate digestives. Not this time.
Oreos are surprising in their lack of cocoa-richness, given their black colour, and there is something ever so slightly smoky about them. For my palate, the lack of a proper chocolate hit is slightly disappointing - if something promises to taste of chocolate, it's chocolate I want to be tasting. But it is exactly this lack of cocoa depth that is so appealing to others. Oreo cookies have a huge, international fan club and if that many people are convinced, who am I to disagree?
So, Oreo cake. Obviously, it was important for the cake to look as much like an Oreo cookie as possible, so besides it needing to be a sandwich cake with a white filling, the cake itself had to be almost black. Thinking about how I could make the cake almost black, started me thinking about molasses sugar. I love molasses, in all its syrupy, smoky blackness, but oreo cookie it ain't. It's just too strong a flavour. I decided to cut the molasses with light muscovado, so I could get the molasses colour without the molasses depth. When it came down to it though, I realised quickly that there was no way I could make an Oreo cake without some actual Oreo cookies in the mix. I blitzed a packet of Oreos (minus the two cookies I'd already eaten for, aherm, "research purposes") in a food processor, until they were finely ground. Then I adjusted the measurements of the dry ingredients to ensure the cake wouldn't become too dry. The sandwich cakes came out very dark and very moist, with a pleasing crumb - just like Oreo cookies. I sandwiched the cakes with a thick layer of sweet, vanilla mascarpone. I chose a mascarpone filling rather than vanilla buttercream, because it has a natural ice-creamy charm about it. My Oreo cake tasted very Oreo-y and my Oreo-adoring clients were so pleased that they have chosen it as the flavour for one of the biggest tiers of their wedding cake.
Preheat the oven to 180 C (160 C Fan) and grease and line two 8" sandwich tins.
3 oz/ 75 g molasses sugar
6 oz/ 150 g light muscovado sugar
3 oz/ 75 g dark chocolate
7 fl. oz whole milk
3 oz/ 75 g soft, unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
A splash of vanilla
1 packet (minus 2 cookies) Oreo cookies, finely ground in the food processor
4 oz/ 100 g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
- Place the chocolate molasses sugar and milk in a saucepan and heat gently until the chocolate and sugar have dissolved. Leave to cool slightly.
- Beat the butter and light muscovado sugar together until pale and creamy.
- Beat the egg in a little at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
- Whisk in the chocolate-molasses milk.
- Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the cake batter, add the salt and whisk until well combined.
- Fold in the ground Oreos and pour the cake mixture into your prepared tins and place on the middle shelf of your oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes on a wire rack before turning out to finish cooling.
- Once cooled, sandwich the cakes together with sweet vanilla scented mascarpone (make half the amount specified for the chocolate and Guinness cake). If the mascarpone goes runny (this can happen with over-beating), beat in 3 oz/ 75 g of soft, unsalted butter and place in the fridge to set a bit before spreading.