This cookies and cream cake has three thick layers of cake packed full of Oreo cookies, and is filled with a creamy vegan Oreo buttercream and finished with a drip of chocolate ganache. Whether you’re vegan, dairy-free, or you simply need a cake recipe with limited ingredients, this recipe is so easy to make and tastes amazing!
Recently I’ve had a couple of comments on my very popular vegan cookies and cream cupcakes recipe from people who have made and loved them but now want to step things up and turn it into a full blown cake.
While you can easily turn any cupcake recipe into a 3 layer 6 inch cake or a two layer 8 inch cake, what happens when you want something a little bigger? I’m talking about the show stopping statement cake at the birthday party that gets people posting on Instagram.
This is that cake. This recipe is based on my cupcakes so it’s already a well tested recipe that has been made countless times not only by myself, but by many of you.
Plus no eggs or dairy are used which is a bonus if you have allergies, intolerances, or you forgot you wanted to make a cake and ate all the eggs for breakfast (this happens to me more than I’d like to admit).
Is this cake vegan?
I call this cake vegan because many people I know personally who follow a vegan diet will eat it, however Oreo cookies are not technically vegan due to potential contaminants within the factory despite not actually containing any animal products themselves.
Also if you are wanting to make it vegan, double check your ingredients – particularly the chocolate to make sure you are using one that is certified vegan. Most good quality dark chocolate doesn’t contain dairy but it doesn’t hurt to get into the habit of reading the labels.
For the buttercream the quality of vegan butter that you use is everything, so try and find one that resembles the texture and flavour of real butter (there are many different products available now in major supermarkets). In Australia I only use Nuttelex products (mostly the Buttery variety), and in the US the alternative is Earth Balance.
Finally a note on the milk. I like to use vanilla flavoured almond milk when making this cake as I like the results, however I understand that almond milk may not be the best ethical dairy alternative for some people, so soy or oat would work as a substitute here as well.
How to make the cake
This cake is made with three components; the cake, the frosting, and the ganache drip. Let’s go through each part so you know what to expect and feel confident before stepping into the kitchen.
To make the cake, you will need three bowls. The first (the smallest bowl) will be to make your homemade buttermilk. Add the vinegar to the almond milk, stir and set aside. This will curdle and look a bit unappealing but it will make the cake soft and light and delicious.
The second bowl is to mix together the dry ingredients. I know I often like to preach the one bowl cake ideology but when you are dealing with this much batter, over mixing is a real concern. So pop all of the dry ingredients into your medium sized bowl and whisk them together so the leaveners (baking powder and bicarbonate of soda) and salt are mixed through the flour.
Finally, you have your large bowl which is where the sugar, oil, and vanilla are mixed together as your wet ingredients. Don’t ask me why sugar is considered a wet ingredient, I don’t actually know!
To your wet ingredients, add a little of the dry ingredients and a little of the milk and mix together with an electric mixer. Keep mixing, adding the ingredients bit by bit and combining completely between, until the batter has formed. Last but not least add in your crushed Oreos and stir through with a spatula. I like to crush half finely so they mix in fully to the batter and leave the other half as chunky pieces so you get bits of biscuit in your bite of cake.
Divide the batter evenly between three 8 inch cake pans that have been greased with oil spray and the bottom lined with baking paper, and then bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is slightly springy. Let cool 100% on a wire rack, until no heat remains at all, before even thinking about frosting.
Making the Oreo buttercream frosting
I have many blog posts already on my site about perfecting the perfect buttercream frosting so I won’t double up too much here. If you’re interested, check out this post on the perfect vegan vanilla buttercream frosting with all my tips.
This buttercream is essentially just that vanilla frosting but with crushed Oreos mixed through. Again here I like to finely crush the Oreo biscuits in a food processor so they are fine, which is important if you are going to pipe the frosting otherwise you end up with chunks of biscuits stuck in your piping tip.
This buttercream is going to make enough for you to fill the layers and crumb coat the cake, frost the outside and top, and also pipe some decorations on top. If you want more information about crumb coating, what it is and how to do it, see all the information in this vanilla layer cake post.
A note on the Oreos: When you crush them in the food processor, throw the whole thing in. I know it seems like maybe you shouldn’t add the cream in there as well, but it will be fine, and it will be delicious. Also no one has time to be scraping the cream from the Oreos!
How to make chocolate ganache
The final, and maybe a little extra, part of this cake is the decorative (and delicious) chocolate ganache drip. Making ganache may sound difficult but it comes down to two ingredients; chocolate and cream.
Because there are only two ingredients, the quality is important here so make sure you get the best quality chocolate that you like/meets the dietary requirements you need. I also use my favourite coconut milk from the can because it’s super thick and creamy. Either coconut milk or cream will work here, just make sure it’s from the can.
To make the ganache, chop up the chocolate into small pieces (think the size of chocolate chips) and place it in a bowl. Next heat up your coconut milk until warm. Add ¼ cup to the chocolate pieces and let sit for a couple of minutes. The heat from the milk will melt the chocolate. Mix together using a spoon or whisk until glossy and all the chocolate has melted.
If your chocolate isn’t melting, sit the bowl in another bowl of warm water. Continue to add more warm coconut milk a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency for your drip.
How to make a perfect chocolate ganache drip
- Start with a really cold cake. Either straight from the fridge or to speed up the process you can put the cake in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to get it really cold. The cold cake helps set the ganache as it drips down the sides meaning your drips will slow down and stop rather than just dripping all the way to the bottom.
- Use warm ganache. Use the ganache as soon as it has been made while it’s still warm or make sure to warm it up again if it has been made in advance. The warm ganache makes the drips a lot smoother and when combined with the cold cake, again helps it set in the perfect drip.
- Make sure the ganache consistency is perfect. You want it to be a lot thinner than you might think. When mixing, lift up your spoon and drizzle it back into the bowl – if it just disappears into the rest of the mix it’s perfect. If it’s too thick it wont drip down the sides of the cake, and if it’s too thin it will drip to the bottom of the cake and make a mess.
- Use a squeeze bottle. Yes you could just use a spoon like you see in those mesmerising Instagram videos but a cheap squeeze bottle is going to make things a whole lot easier. It gives you control of the amount you are dispensing per drip and gives you greater control of the direction of the ganache.
- Practise first. Before you go to town on your cake, do a few practise drips on a plate or a bowl (I use my measuring cup as it’s got flat, curved sides and a flat top making it a good testing ground). This is useful just to double check the consistency is correct before putting it on the cake and to get an idea of the flow from the bottle.
- Let the ganache set. It might go without saying, but before completing your decorations let the ganache drip set. I like to do this quickly with 5 minutes in the freezer. This will reduce the risk of smudges and keep it looking perfect.
This post didn’t intend to be this long, so thank you for reading this far, but I really just wanted to make sure you had all the information you needed to make sure that the first time you bake this it’s going to be a success!
This cake is sure to be a crowd pleaser for any occasion (or even just a fun baking project!), whether your vegan, dairy-free or just a fan of really delicious cake.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Cookies and Cream Cake
For the cake
- 2 cups almond milk
- 2 tablespoon white vinegar
- 3 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 x 133 gram pack Oreo cookies
For the buttercream frosting
- 1 cup (250 grams) dairy-free butter*
- 6 cups icing sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons vanilla almond milk
- 1 x 133 gram pack Oreo cookies crushed
For the chocolate ganache drip
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) chocolate, chopped
- Approx. 1/2 cup coconut cream heated (more or less as needed)
- Make the cake. Add vinegar to almond milk and set aside. It will split the milk, but that is ok.
- Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, crush up the oreo biscuits until they are mostly a fine crumb leaving some larger pieces. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease three 8 inch cake pans with cooking spray, and line the base with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, add sugar, oil and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with the milk mixture, making sure it is completely mixed through before adding more. Once batter has come together and smooth, mix through crushed oreos.
- Split the batter evenly between three 8 inch cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Turn the cakes out and let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
- Make the Buttercream. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, lightly beat the dairy-free butter and vanilla so it’s smooth. Add in 3 cups of icing sugar. Beat until creamy. Add in another 2 cups of icing sugar and beat on medium. While the mixer is running, add in milk, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add the salt and beat until combined. If the mixture is still too thin, add more icing sugar ½ cup at a time until the frosting is smooth but thick enough to hold its shape. Finally add in the crushed Oreos and mix through.
- Assemble the cake. Level the cakes with a bread knife if required. Smooth a little buttercream on a cake stand or serving board and place the first layer down. Top with buttercream to cover the cake, then add the next layer. Again add more buttercream, then add a cake layer upside down so that it’s sandwiched together, followed by more buttercream and the final cake layer upside down so that the top is nice and flat. Top with more buttercream and smooth out with a cake knife. For the best frosting results, crumb coat the cake by adding a thin layer of frosting around the sides of the cake and scraping away any excess. You should be able to see the cake through the frosting yet still have smooth, straight sides. For this step you should use about half of the total buttercream amount. Let the cake chill in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
- Remove cake from the fridge and finish frosting with a thick layer around the sides and the top. Set aside in the fridge to chill again while you make the ganache drip.
- Make the ganache. Chop up the chocolate into small pieces (think the size of chocolate chips) and place it in a small bowl. Heat up the coconut milk in the microwave or on the stove until warm (not too hot!). Add ¼ cup to the bowl with the chocolate pieces and let sit for a couple of minutes. The heat from the milk will melt the chocolate. Mix together using a spoon or whisk until glossy and all the chocolate has melted. If your chocolate isn’t melting, sit the bowl in another bowl of warm water. Continue to add more warm coconut milk a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency for your drip.
- Decorate the cake. Put the warm chocolate ganache in a squeeze bottle while still warm and slowly use this to drip it down the sides of the cake, starting from the top edge. Once you’ve gone around the edge, cover the top in a thin layer of the ganache. Set aside again in the fridge to set.
- Once the ganache has hardened, put any remaining buttercream in a piping bag with your favourite tip attachment and pipe swirls around the top.
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