Note: You have my official permission to make fun of my quirky, extremely girly analogy in this post.
The only thing that speaks to my heart a decadent layer cake like this chocolate Oreo beauty is a good story in the form of a Jane Austen-esque romance. Both are so worthy of being devoured.
I could whip up a box cake mix in a 13x9-inch pan and top it with some canned icing. Or, I could devote hours to the creation of a homemade layer cake. I could watch a rom-com of the variety where two people fall in love over a 10 minute montage. Or, I could devote hours to absorbing a story wrought with romantic tension not resolved until the ending. Quick gratification or an utter high on life from devotion to something superior—I choose the latter.
It is in the long process of mixing flour and sugar, waiting for layers to bake, mixing and spreading icing that true quality cake comes into being. And it is in the pages and pages of prose or the hours of a BBC miniseries that a relationship between two people, often filled with frustration and misunderstanding, can really form a bond where they really love one another for who they are (ahh, true love).
Along the way, you can gain a taste of what is to come from cake batter, cake crumbs, and icing, as you can from all the tension in a relationship as attraction develops.
In the end, what more could a girl want than romance and chocolate? But such delights are not an ultimate fulfillment, for both treats must be devoured on occasion and in moderation. I know we must be wary of fat and calories, just as I, for one, must be careful not to let period piece fairy tales (e.g. Mr. Darcy, whose bust is quite real) shape my view of reality.
To be truthful, this cake was first inspired by Oreos and then by my small group coming over for dinner. But the day I was planning the Oreo cream filling and chocolate icing, I happened to have a particularly delightful conversation about mutual fascination with Jane Austen novels, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, and the Little Dorrit miniseries. Before long, the romance of the two became tied in my head.
Another truth revealed: I used Country Choice, wannabe Oreos from Whole Foods, for the chocolate sandwich cookies.
Chocolate Oreo Cake
Chocolate Cake from Smitten Kitchen Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Creamy Oreo Filling (below)
Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Icing (below)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, and let cool completely.
4. Place one layer on cake place; spread half of the Creamy Oreo Filling on top. Place a second cake layer on top of the filling and spread with the remainder of the filling. Top with the third cake layer; spread the chocolate icing on the tops and sides of the cake.
5. Decorate with Oreos. I pressed the crumbs of 10-15 cookies onto the sides and then set
8 cookie halves into the top in a circle.
Creamy Oreo Filling
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 package Oreos, cut into quarters
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup whipping cream until smooth. Add the rest of the cream and beat until it has the consistency of whipped cream (don’t overmix). Stir in Oreo quarters.
Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Icing
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes bout 2 cups frosting.