Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oreo Cheesecake Cake

Ummm… Yes please.

I wouldn’t necessarily call Nathan a “planner” but he does like to plan his birthdays far FAR in advance.  He’s talked about plans for them as early as summer.  And the man’s birthday is in March.  Of course to me (and most food bloggers) birthdays = cake.  So as he began to talk more & more about his birthday this year, I asked him what he might want for his cake.  He said he would be fine with the same cake as last year, the epic Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake.  No honey, repeat cakes are not allowed when you’re married to a food blogger.  I told him I would brainstorm other “cheesecake cake” combos using flavors I knew he liked.

It was during a down moment at work while waiting for files to transfers/render/whatever that my mind began to wander to his cake.  I don’t even know why, but Oreos popped in my head, and I began to sketch this cake out.  I texted him the idea of an Oreo Cheesecake Cake, and he thought it sounded good.  You see, I’ve actually done an Oreo Cake for my own birthday in the past.  WAAAY back in my inaugural year of blogging (2008) I made a dark chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting, and topped it with crushed Oreos.  Everyone loved it and commented that it tasted like a big fat Oreo.  So I thought, why not up the ante, and add in a layer of Oreo Cheesecake?

For this version I used the same chocolate cake recipe from Hershey’s Recipes as I did in my cake.  This time I didn’t use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, but I did use a combination of Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder, and Ghiradelli Cocoa Powder.  Any of those three options, or any dutch processed cocoa powder will do.  I also used the same white chocolate frosting recipe as I did in my birthday cake, given to me by a friend, which I’ve adapted over time.  (I’ve also paired that frosting with Strawberry Cupcakes for a momma-to-be who requested a white chocolate strawberry combo of flavors.)  The cheesecake is the same crustless recipe I used in the Chocolate Peanut Butter version, that uses vanilla instead of lemon zest & juice.  I added crushed Oreos of course, to make it an Oreo version for this cake.  And, in between the cheesecake layer and top cake layer I added more crushed Oreos, because really, can you have too many Oreos?  To decorate (which is NOT my strongpoint) I simply adorned it with mini Oreo halves, for a fun polka dot look!

If you’re unfamiliar with my cheesecake cakes, I’ve done two versions so far.  The original, Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake, and the aforementioned Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake.  Once I figured out the logistics of the cake, I knew the possibilities are endless.  You could combine pretty much any cake/frosting/cheesecake combo you want.  Jen at Beantown Baker has done a Carrot Cake & adorable Neapolitan versions.

These cakes are a bit time consuming, but not necessarily difficult.  If you’ve made homemade cake, and homemade frosting in the past, you’re two thirds of the way there.  In fact, when I made the first version, it was the very first cheesecake I’d ever made in my entire life!  I discovered it wasn’t scary or difficult at all.  My favorite thing about this is that you can break it up into steps & days.  I tend to make the cheesecake layer the weekend before and freeze it.  This makes transferring it, a “piece of cake”.  (Ha ha, I couldn’t resist.)  I’ll make the cake the night before, and then that morning do the frosting and assemble it.  The cheesecake doesn’t take long to thaw, a couple hours at room temp and it’s good.  This can also be stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.  It cuts a lot better when it’s straight from the fridge, but I prefer to eat it once it’s set out 15 min or so.  I think I just don’t like to eat cold cake!  But I can also assure you it tastes great cold too.  😉

This cake got rave reviews.  Some of the comments I received on this were that it was delicious, and of course very rich.  Also a lot of people said the frosting really did taste like the cream filling inside an Oreo.  This was a fantastic birthday cake, Oreo lover or not!

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Oreo Cheesecake Cake

This is easiest when broken into steps. I suggest making the cheesecake early enough in advance to freeze it, as that makes transferring it easy. I'm sure also that pretty much any chocolate cake recipe would work, so if you have a favorite use that. This is just one I've made many times and know I like the taste, texture, and ease of preparation. The higher quality cocoa powder you can use, the better. This white chocolate frosting is not strong on white chocolate flavor, but meant to mimic the creme filling of an Oreo.

Ingredients:

CHEESECAKE:
1 1/4 pounds bar cream cheese (20 oz), room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
6 coarsely crushed Oreo sandwich cookies

CAKE:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

FROSTING:
8oz white chocolate (I used Ghiradelli white chocolate baking bar)
2 sticks butter, softened slightly to room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
approx 4-6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk

DECORATION:
3-4 crushed Oreos
mini Oreos (if you want the polka dot look)

Directions:

CHEESECAKE:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set a kettle of water to boil. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Fold in crushed Oreos.

Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of the cheesecake pan. Wrap bottom half of pan in foil. Pour in filling; place in a roasting pan. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of springform. Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Remove outer ring of cheesecake pan, but leave metal bottom. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

CAKE:
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

FROSTING:
Place white chocolate in double boiler over pot of simmering water just until it begins to melt. Stir to fully melt, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile cream butter. Once chocolate has cooled, beat in with butter. Continue to mix at low to medium speed while adding vanilla. Gradually add in cream/milk and powdered sugar, alternating until frosting reaches desired consistency.

ASSEMBLY:
Place one layer of cake on cake stand. If desired, frost top with a thin layer of frosting, and a sprinkle of crushed Oreos. Remove cheesecake from freezer, unwrap, and remove metal bottom of the pan, then peel off parchment paper. Place cheesecake layer on top of the cake. If the cheesecake is wider than the cake, and it is necessary to to trim it, wait approximately 5-10 minutes for the cheesecake to soften, then trim it with a knife. Frost top with a thin layer of frosting, and a sprinkle of crushed Oreos. Place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake, and coat entire cake with a layer frosting to act as the crumb coat. Be careful not to get any crumbs in the bowl of frosting! Refrigerate approximately 30 minutes, then frost with as much of the remaining frosting as necessary. Top with mini Oreos, crushed Oreos, or any decoration of your choosing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cheesecake: Adapted from Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake, loosely based on recipe from Martha Stewart

Cake: Hershey's Recipes

Frosting: adapted from my friend Jamie

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