This vegan oreo cake with espresso buttercream may just be my new favorite dessert. It has the most perfectly moist cookie crumb that also happens to be gluten-free. This is one cake you need to add to your 'must-bake' Pinterest board!
When it comes to recipe development, I draw inspiration from all different sources: social media, nature, my travels, restaurants, and sometimes even ice cream flavors. Yep, you read that correctly. Ice cream.
For David's birthday last year, he insisted we have cake. Even though it was just the two of us, you better believe I was on-board! When thinking about what type of cake to make, I kept going back to his favorite ice cream flavor: espresso cookie. David's a huge coffee lover so this flavor was made for him. It has an espresso base with oreo cookies folded in. Yum!
While I had never thought to add cookies to cake batter before, I took the gamble and it paid off. The cream from the oreos actually melts into the crumb and makes it so moist. The cookie bits add a little extra texture and when you find a big cookie chunk, you know it's going to be a really good bite.
Helpful tools for cake making
Offset spatula: for smoothing out frosting and ganache, but you can always just use a spoon.
Cake boards: for transporting the cake, but you can always use a plate. They're relatively inexpensive, only about $6 for a set of 12.
Piping tips and bag: for decorations and even layers, but you can use a zipblock bag and cut the corner off instead.
Parchment rounds: a total luxury and easy way to line your cake pans.
Cake turntable: for rotating cakes while icing them.
Tips for the perfect chocolate ganache drips
Cakes are kind of my jam. My internship during culinary school was at a custom cake shop and I kind of fell in love with cake making. There were definitely aspects of it that intimidated me; the ganache drips were one of them.
Over the years, I've learned that temperature is key. If your ganache is too hot, it'll melt the buttercream. If your ganache is too cold, it won't be runny enough. You need to find the right balance.
First things first, make sure your cake is cold. NEVER ice or pour ganache on a warm cake. You will have a sad, mess of a cake. When you take your cake out of the oven, let it cool in the pan until it comes to room temperature. Afterwards, stick it in the fridge for at least a few hours or, better yet, overnight. Once you've iced the cold cake, stick it back in the fridge for the icing to set up. Think about it: solid icing is going to make the cake more stable.
As the cake is chilling in the refrigerator, make your ganache in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Once the chocolate and coconut oil have melted, let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to cool down. You can tell it's ready when it has thickened up but can still smoothly drip off of a spoon.
Carefully pour half of the ganache atop of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly over the top. Some of the ganache will drip down the sides of the cake. Continue to add drips around the cake using more or less ¼ teaspoon of ganache to create different drip lengths. As soon as you are satisfied with your product, return the cake to the fridge immediately. Cover with a cake lid or leave uncovered in a safe area of the fridge for roughly 30 minutes.
Are oreos vegan?
This is kind of a controversial topic, but technically they are. The nuance is that they are made in a non-vegan factory and have "cross-contact" with dairy. Because of that, it may not be entirely dairy free. It all comes down to your personal comfort level.
If you're looking for a healthier off-brand version of Oreos, I used these chocolate cookie cream sandwiches which are vegan and organic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this cake gluten-free?
How many people does this cake serve?
An 8 inch cake usually feeds 15 to 20 people.
Can I make the buttercream without espresso?
Absolutely! Instead, double the oil and agave and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
How can I make the cake ahead of time?
As long as stored properly, you can make the cake layers up to 3 days ahead of time. Make sure to wrap the layers tightly in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. Of course, you can also assemble the entire cake, but it will take up a lot of room in the refrigerator.
How should I store the cake?
This chocolate oreo cake is best stored in the refrigerator, but because it is made with a vegan buttercream, it can get really hard in the refrigerator. You'll want to pull the cake from the fridge 1-3 hours before serving. This large range is because it will really depend on temperature. If it's a really cold day, you'll want to give it more time to come to room temperature and if it's a really hot day, it won't need as much time. And, regardless of temperature, never leave the cake out in the sun - the buttercream will melt!
You'll love these other vegan recipes:
- 4 cups (580g) 1:1 gluten-free flour mix
- 2 cups (404g) cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
- 2 teaspoons (12g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons (12g) ground flaxseed
- 6 tablespoons (80g) filtered water
- 2 ½ cups (646g) soy milk (or dairy free milk of choice)
- 1 ½ cup (290g) safflower oil (or neutral oil of choice)
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
- 8 (132g) oreo cookies, finely chopped
- 4 cups (546g) vegetable shortening
- 4 cups (440g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons (25g) safflower oil
- 2 tablespoons (40g) agave
- ¼ cup room temperature espresso
- ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips
- ¼ cup low fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line and grease four 8" cake pans.
- In a small bowl, combine the flax and water. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl), combine the sifted dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the wet ingredients and flax egg. Mix well.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. About 2 minutes. Scrape down as needed until there are no lumps.
- Add the chopped cookies to the bowl and fold in with a rubber spatula.
- Transfer a quarter of the batter (approx. 525g) to each of the pans.
- Bake on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Rotate halfway.
- Let completely cool (ideally refrigerate overnight) before assembling cake.
Make the Buttercream
- Add shortening to bowl of standmixer and beat with paddle attachment on high until fluffy. About 5 minutes.
- On the lowest speed, slowly add the sifted powdered sugar. Scrape down as necessary.
- Raising the speed to medium, add the agave, safflower, and espresso.
- Mix until glossy and creamy. Transfer to piping bag.
Assemble the Cake
- Carefully remove the cooled cake from the pans by flipping them onto a cake board. If pans were well greased, they should slide right out.
- Turn the cakes over, so their bottom (flat side) is on the cake board.
- (Optional) With a serated knife, trim the tops of the cakes so they are flat, not domed.
- Using a piping bag or spoon, add about a sixth of the icing on top of the first layer.
- Using an offset spatula or spoon, smooth out the icing so it is level.
- Carefully, repeat with the next 3 layers,leaving the top layer un-iced. Transfer the cake to the fridge for 15-30 minutes to help the icing stiffen.
- After 15-30 minutes, remove cake from refrigerator and frost the top and outside of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Leave about ½ cup of buttercream if planning to decorate.
- Return the cake to the refrigerator for another hour until icing is cold and firm. This is an important step for a successful ganache drip.
Make and Pour the Ganache
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over low heat.
- Stir frequently, keeping a close eye on the chocolate mixture as it can burn easily!
- Once chocolate has fully melted, remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour about half of ganache atop the cake, using an offset spatula to smooth out and push some ganache over the edge of the cake. Use a ¼ teaspoon to add any additional drips in bare areas.
- Refrigerate cake immediately to allow ganache to set up for at least 30 minutes.
- Store any extra ganache in airtight container for up to 3 months. Use as a dip for fruits or in other recipes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g