Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita Hi friends! First off, to all of the mamas out there, Happiest Mother's Day to you! You deserve 6-layer cake and so much more. This week I made this rather decadent cake, and let me tell you it's a crowd-pleaser . . . How have I never made an Oreo dessert for the blog before? It was long overdue, I would say. So I went for it--hard. See, I've been craving all things Oreo, and I've been dying to use the black cocoa powder I bought while in Vancouver promoting my book, but I was waiting for the right cake. And then it hit me that it belongs in an Oreo-inspired sky-scraping cake! Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita As much as I love an over-the-top chocolate-on-chocolate looking cake, I thought it would be more interesting to add a bright pop of pink sprinkle-laden frosting before pouring some shiny chocolate glaze over top. Instant party cake! The intensely chocolate--midnight chocolate--cake layers are incredibly moist and super-dark with and balance out the sweet-as-sweet but cream and rich cookies and cream filling with vanilla bean and biggish chunks of Oreos throughout. We add a hit of cream cheese to the frosting to create an even creamier, more balanced sweet frosting. Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita The pink sprinkle frosting is the from the same batch of filling, but we leave out the Oreos and add rainbow jimmies and a dose of fuschia gel color. A generous pouring of the glaze, more Oreos (now I'm wishing I used Double-Stuffed!), pink frosting dollops and cookie crumbs add the fun finishing touches. It's rather amazing how quickly the addition of chocolate glaze changes the whole personality of a cake, right? Instant drama and beyond. And it doesn't have to be chocolate--a super fun bright candy-coloured glaze is always a good idea as well (remember this 6-Layer Neapolitan Macaron Delight Cake?). Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita So let's talk more about the Black Cocoa Powder. I have to admit I've never used it before, mostly because I haven't come across it locally before, and the cocoa powder I use for most of my chocolate desserts is very dark as it is (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) lending to a gorgeous super-dark shade of brown. I was rather enchanted with the black as night version and when I came across it while in Vancouver recently, I had to buy it. I've been saving it for the right cake, and this worked out exactly as I hoped it would. The black chocolate cake is reminiscent of that impossibly dark "Oreo chocolate," and the intense chocolate flavour really balances out the sweetness of the frosting (and the black cocoa powder would be ideal for making our own Oreos!). And just when the pink frosting might add a bit too much sweetness for cake with 5 layers of sweet filling, the chocolate glaze adds another hit of intensity to make everything right with the cake-loving world again. Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita My family went crazy for this cake, and while you might assume they love most things I bake, the truth is they are all very, um, particular, we'll say? Each and every one of them loved this cake--it's truly a crowd-pleaser for all ages. And, as a side-note, I also want to thank everyone who has purchased The Sweetapolita Bakebook--it means so much to me! If you ever have any questions about the recipes or designs in the book, be sure to reach out and contact me! Now let's make this Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake, shall we?

6-layer Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake

6 layers of deep, dark, midnight black chocolate cake filled with Oreo buttercream, frosted in pink birthday cake frosting and sprinkles, covered with dark chocolate glaze and more Oreos.

For the Midnight Cake Layers:

  • 2 1/4 cups 285 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups 450 g superfine sugar
  • 1 cup 120 g "black" unsweetened cocoa powder (see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup 240 ml hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup 180 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)

For the Cookies & Cream Filling/Pink Frosting:

  • 2 3/4 cups 625 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup 130 g high-ratio shortening (see Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 cups 1 kg plus 250 g confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/3 cups 320 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup 60 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • Gel food color in fuschia (see Notes)
  • 16 oreos (semi-crushed for the filling, plus more whole oreos for decorating (at least 8))
  • 1/3 cup 50 g rainbow jimmies 

For the Shiny Chocolate Glaze:

  • 5 ounces 150 g semi-sweet best-quality chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 3/4 cup 170 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt

For the Midnight Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 630 grams.
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

For the Cookies & Cream Filling/Pink Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and water. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese until combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer about 5 cups of the frosting to a medium bowl and tint it pink using soft gel paste color. 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.
  4. 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. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable. Add a small amount of water, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting needs more "glide."

For the Shiny Chocolate Glaze:

  1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. (You can also melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.) Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in refrigerator, and warm in microwave when ready to use.

Assembly of the Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake:

  1. Cut each of your 3 cake layers each once horizontally with a long, serrated knife, so you have a total of 6 thin layers. Put a nonslip square on a turntable (if using), followed by a large piece of wax paper, topped with another nonslip square smaller than your cake. 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 "coat" of pink frosting, and chill the cake for 30 minutes.
  2. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I used #869) about one-third full with the pink frosting and set aside (this is for the top of the cake).
  3. Stir the rainbow jimmies into the remaining pink frosting. Remove the cake from the fridge and cover in another thick, smooth layer of pink sprinkled frosting. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes.
  4. When the chocolate glaze in no longer warm, pour on top of the cake and gently spread with a small offset palette knife, pushing some over the sides. Return the cake to the refrigerator until the glaze sets, about 10 minutes.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut 8 Oreos in half. Pipe 16 "stars" evenly spaced around the perimeter of the cake top and place an Oreo half on each star. Press remaining cookie crumbs around the bottom of the cake, if desired.
  6. Hooray! You did it!
  7. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • As I mentioned above, for the black cocoa powder, I used Cote D'Azur Black Cocoa Powder that I found while in Vancouver, at the Gourmet Warehouse, but you can also find Black Cocoa Powder on Amazon. I typically use a very dark cocoa powder (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) for all of my chocolate baked goods, which also works very well, tastes amazing, and is quite dark. The black cocoa powder just adds more of a midnight black effect, which I love for this Oreo cake. Definite wow factor.
  • I use Fat Daddio's Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans for all of my cake layers, most often the 8-inch x 2-inch round pans.
  • The frosting in this recipe is an adaptation of my Vanilla Bakery Frosting from The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and as I mention in the book and my recent Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake post, re: the Vanilla Bakery Frosting, you can certainly use all butter, rather than high-ratio shortening, if you prefer. High-ratio shortening is used to add stability and tenderness to white cakes and creaminess and stability to frostings. In a pinch you can also use regular shortening, such as Crisco, but the high-ratio version is designed for frosting and gives a much better mouth-feel. 
  • I used Americolor Soft Gel Paste in Fuchsia for the sprinkle frosting on this cake, but you can use any pink that you love. Sweetapolita Bright Pink would work beautifully too!
  • For the rainbow jimmies, I used these Rainbow Crunchy Sprinkles. For an extra pop of colour you could also top with a sprinkle of a fancy medley like Birthday Party.
  • For the piping on the top of the cake, I used Ateco #869 Large French Star Decorating Tip, but you can use any large star tip.

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