Chocolate Oreo Cake

A rich buttermilk chocolate cake, dotted with chocolate chips, and sandwiched between thick layers of Oreo cream cheese frosting.  Irresistible – this chocolate oreo cake is perfect for all your celebrations.

a two layer chocolate oreo cake with oreo cream cheese frosting decorated with whipped cream and whole oreos

This Chocolate Oreo Cake recipe was originally published on 11/03/2011.  It was republished on 09/05/2019 with new recipe tips and photographs.

Let’s talk about cakes — more specifically, layer cakes.

I get a lot of questions about easy layer cakes, and I get it.

Food blogs are full of towering, three (or four — or five!) layer cakes, perfectly smooth, decorated with stunning buttercream flowers and beautiful mirror glazes.  They are true edible works of art, and should be celebrated as such.

They’re also really intimidating — and as a result, I get a lot of emails from readers asking if I have recipes for easy layer cakes, like from a box mix, or layer cakes that don’t require decorating skills.

This chocolate oreo cake isn’t from a boxed mix, but it IS easy — and because the frosting is filled with chopped up oreos, it’s not supposed to be silky smooth.  It is, however, always going to be delicious (which is the most important part of a cake!), only two layers, and it’s easy.

This is the perfect layer cake for people who don’t think they can bake layer cakes!

In fact, it’s one of the first layer cakes I ever made — and the very first one to appear on Bunsen Burner Bakery, all the way back in 2011!  It’s about time for a little update with some new photos and new baking tips (but the same great recipe!).

What this cake is:

  • chocolatey
  • delicious
  • heavy on the cream cheese oreo frosting
  • easy-peasy

What this cake is not:

  • complicated
  • fancy-schmancy
  • a work of art
  • too hard for you to make

Are you ready?  Yes, you are. Let’s go make this delicious chocolate oreo cake!

overhead view of a two layer chocolate oreo cake decorated with whipped cream and whole oreo cookes covered in oreo cream cheese frosting

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

First up, we have to make the cake.   To keep this cake extra moist and chocolatey, we’re using two key ingredients: natural unsweetened cocoa powder and buttermilk.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the most concentrated chocolate flavor, which gives us a super chocolatey cake.  We’re also going to toss in some chocolate chips, for some semi-sweet chocolate flavor and a little crunch. 

The buttermilk also plays a crucial role, in both the texture and tenderness of the cake .  Why is this?  It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Buttermilk is slightly acidic, and lowering the pH of the batter helps to break down the long strings of gluten from the flour.  What happens when we break down gluten?  We get a cake that is tender and more moist!  Buttermilk also helps to produce carbon dioxide when paired with baking soda, which means… you guessed it… lighter and fluffier cakes.

a decorated double layer easy homemade chocolate oreo cake with cream cheese oreo frosting on a white cake plate against a blue wooden backdrop

Cream Cheese Oreo Frosting

I really like pairing buttermilk-based cakes with cream cheese frosting, and who can resist crumbled Oreos?  (Certainly not most chocolate lovers!)  The added bonus to adding them to the frosting is eliminating any stress over decorating — there’s no need to fret over perfectly smooth frosting! 

Making the frosting is easy — beat together the ingredients using a hand or stand mixer. 

The crumbled oreos make the frosting a little too thick to pipe, so this is the kind of cake that is perfect to just spread on with a spatula.  Whip everything together with a mixer, spread it on the cake, and you’re good to go!

All the cake requires to look extra special are a few dollops of whipped cream and some whole oreos – simple and easy.

 

overhead view of a spatula about to remove one cut slice from a chocolate oreo cake

How to Assemble a Layer Cake

First things first, wait until your cake is fully cooled!  Trying to stack and frost a still warm cake is a recipe for disaster, so wait until everything is fully cooled — several hours is good, waiting overnight is even better if you have the time!

Once your cake layers are fully cooled, you’ll want to start with a crumb coat.  This is a thin layer of frosting applied to the side of the cake to hold the cake crumbs down – preventing them from clumping up the frosting along the outside of the cake. 

Because there are already cookie crumbs in this frosting it’s not as important, but sometimes cakes are crumbly and it’s frustrating when your cake falls apart into your frosting!

Spread a thick layer of frosting on top of one layer of cake and place the second layer on top.  Then spread a thin layer of frosting along the sides of the cake — it’s okay if you can still see the cake peeking through — and a thin layer on top. 

Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then add the rest of the frosting to the top and sides until fully covered.

Finish decorating how desired — with additional whole oreos, whipped cream swirls, or drizzles of melted chocolate!

one slice of chocolate oreo cake being removed from an entire layer cake on a cake server, showing the rich chocolatey interior and the fluffy oreo cream cheese frosting

How to Make Chocolate Oreo Cake Ahead of Time

Another reason this is such a great cake?  Everything can be made ahead of time!  The layers of chocolate cake can be baked days (or even months!) in advance. 

Bake up to three days in advance and store in an airtight container, or wrap in aluminum foil and store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months before frosting.

The oreo cream cheese frosting can be made up to three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes and beat again with a mixer before spreading on the cake.

The entire cake can be assembled and decorated a day (or even two!) ahead of time before serving.

one slice of a chocolate oreo layer cake on a decorative dessert plate with the rest of the cake visible in the background

How to Store Chocolate Oreo Cake

Once assembled, the cake must be refrigerated due to the cream cheese in the frosting.

Leftover slices can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, ideally wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to help prevent the cake from taking on a stale flavor.

For longer term storage, freeze individual slices of cake upright on a cookie sheet in the freezer.  Once frozen solid, wrap the individual slice in a sheet of plastic wrap, followed by a sheet of aluminum foil, and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.  To thaw, remove from freezer bag and unwrap, and thaw under refrigeration.

a slice of chocolate oreo layer cake on its side on a gray and gold dessert plate next to the rest of the cake decorated with piped whipped cream and whole oreo cookies

Tips and Tricks for Chocolate Oreo Cake

  1. For perfectly flat, non-domed cakes, use Bake Even Strips (or wet cloths soaked in water and wrapped around the outside of the cake pans).
  2. Cool cake layers completely before frosting — the frosting will melt if the cakes are even a little warm!
  3. Short on time?  All components of this cake can be made ahead of time.  The cake layers can be baked and frozen for up to 3 months. The cream cheese oreo frosting can be made up to three days ahead of time.  The cake can be assembled the day before.
  4. Start frosting the cake with a crumb coat — a thin layer of frosting — which will help hold any crumbs from the side of the cake in place.  After 15 minutes in the refrigerator, add an additional thick final outer layer of frosting to the whole cake.
  5. Store the chocolate oreo cake in the refrigerator.  
  6. To prevent the cut cake from getting stale, wrap leftover slices in plastic wrap or push wax paper against the exposed edge to minimize contact with air.

More Oreo Dessert Recipes:

Chocolate Oreo Cake

Chocolate Oreo Cake

Yield: Serves 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

A rich buttermilk chocolate cake, dotted with chocolate chips, and sandwiched between thick layers of Oreo cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 20 oreo (or chocolate sandwich cookies), crushed
  • optional: additional cookies and freshly whipped cream for decorating

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract.
  3. Stir in half the flour, followed by half the buttermilk.  Add the remaining dry ingredients (half the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt), followed by the rest of the buttermilk.  Stir just until all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Gently stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Divide batter evenly between two pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a tester in the center of the cake comes out almost clean.  Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely (1-2 hours) before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add in the vanilla extract.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.  If frosting is too stiff, add in one tablespoon of milk.  Beat in the crushed oreos.
  6. To assemble the cake, spread a thin layer of the frosting on the bottom of a cake plate to help prevent the cake from sliding. Place a layer of cake on the bottom and spread a thick layer of frosting across the top of the cake. Place the second layer of cake on top.
  7. Spread a thin layer of frosting along the sides and top of the cake and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to cover the cake with the remaining frosting, ensuring no cake is visible through the frosting. Decorate with piped whipped cream and whole sandwich cookies, if desired. Refrigerate cake until serving.

Notes

Frosted cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Remaining slices can be frozen.

A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 647 Total Fat: 32.2g Net Carbohydrates: 83.1g Protein: 8.6g
Chocolate Oreo Cake: An easy homemade chocolate layer cake with oreo cream cheese frosting. Perfect for birthdays and celebrations! #bunsenburnerbakery #chocolatecake #oreocake #layercake