The perfect chocolate Oreo cake. This chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting is light yet moist, intensely chocolatey but not dense, layered and topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting.
This is a great recipe for Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It is really simple and produces the most amazingly moist and chocolatey cake. The cream cheese frosting is sublime and contrasts so well with the chocolate cake flavours.
You could call it an Oreo Cake, or Cookies and Cream Cake.
Either way it is truly wonderful!
Why is this such a fantastic chocolate to make?
Infusing the cocoa powder and coffee
Known as blooming the cocoa powder, the process of mixing cocoa powder into hot liquid before adding it to cake batter brings out the chocolate flavour in the cocoa and intensifies it. It also stops the cake being dry.
Sour cream for softness
Sour cream is a must for a chocolate cake with a soft texture. It also adds a slight tang to the cake which contributes to the complexity of flavours.
Add coffee for a deeper chocolate flavour
No need to buy expensive espresso powder, just a couple of tablespoons of instant coffee, dissolved in boiling water, are all that is required. Coffee enhances the flavour of the cocoa powder.
Vegetable oil and butter for moistness
Using melted butter gives the chocolate cake a more fudgy texture and using oil keeps it moist. This cake uses both to tick both boxes.
Enjoy a really rich chocolate cake? Try my Sunken Chocolate Cake with Amaretti Cream
Why cream cheese frosting?
I use cream cheese frosting in my Easy Lime Frosted Carrot Cake with Walnuts. It is one of my favourite icings, sweet and soft but with a slight tang, which means it works really well against the flavours in chocolate cake.
I also find using cream cheese frosting, rather than chocolate buttercream or chocolate ganache, gives a great contrast to the chocolate cake so that it is not overpoweringly chocolatey.
It also makes for a cake reminiscent of chocolate Oreos.
Use good quality cream cheese
Philadelphia makes the best cream cheese frosting. Other soft cheeses are great, but Phili gives the best results.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Flour: we use plain (all-purpose) flour in this recipe in order to control the amount of leavening agents in the cake.
Cocoa powder: use good cocoa powder, you will find it in the baking aisle of your supermarket. I used Dr Oetker in this recipe. Any naturally sweetened cocoa powder will work fine, try not to use Dutch-processed, it doesn't contain the same amount of acid as normal cocoa powder, which will affect how the bicarbonate (baking) soda performs as a leavening agent.
Sour cream: added for moistness and to give a soft crumb and texture.
Instant coffee: is dissolved in boiling water and cooled before adding to the cake batter. You can use instant espresso powder instead.
Caster sugar: or you can use golden caster sugar, quite a lot I’d added I order to to counteract the bitterness of the cocoa and coffee.
Fine salt: used to bring out flavour.
Baking powder and Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda): baking powder helps our cake rise, and bicarb reacts with the acids in the cake for a good rise.
Vegetable oil: or you can use any other flavourless oil. We add this to give more moisture in the cake.
Vanilla extract: gives a bit of sweetness, vanilla and chocolate, a perfect mix.
Eggs: need to be at room temperature and lightly beaten, to add more air to the batter.
Unsalted butter: or you can use salted butter and omit the fine salt.
Cream cheese: as noted above try to use a good quality cream cheese for a really good tasting cream cheese frosting.
Icing sugar (confectioner's sugar): for our frosting. Must be sifted.
See end of post RECIPE CARD for precise quantities and instructions.
To make the chocolate cake
1. Dissolve your instant coffee in your boiling water and then mix in your cocoa powder, leave to cool.
2: Melt your butter and also leave to cool.
3: Sift together your flour, leavening agents and salt into your large bowl and then stir in your sugar.
4: Mix your melted butter, oil and vanilla extract into your coffee and cocoa powder mixture, until totally combined.
5: Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix together thoroughly.
6: Mix in your sour cream and then your beaten eggs.
7: Pour into your lined sandwich tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
To make the cream cheese frosting
8: Beat your butter briefly to ensure smooth.
9: Add your cream cheese and beat in, then beat in your vanilla extract.
10: Sift your icing (confectioner's) sugar and gradually add spoonfuls to your butter and cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth.
11: Spread over one of your cooled sandwich layers, place the other layer on top and cover with the remaining cream cheese frosting.
It's all in the mix
To be sure your chocolate and cream cheese cake turns out well remember to:
- Ensure your cocoa is thoroughly mixed into your coffee and boiling water so that no pockets of cocoa remain.
- When you add your butter, oil and vanilla extract to the the cocoa and coffee, also ensure it is really mixed in well.
- Finally, once your sour cream and eggs have been added, ensure that you give the final batter a good mix, preferably with a balloon whisk, to add more air.
Chocolate ganache filling and topping will work really well in place of cream cheese frosting.
Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting should ideally be kept refrigerated due to the dairy content.
Did you try this recipe?
Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the Recipe Card below.
Most likely because it needs to be beaten for longer. Your butter needs to be soft to start with and your icing (confectioners') sugar sifted, this will reduce lumps. Once all of your icing sugar has been added, keep beating the cream cheese frosting on a medium-high setting until the lumps dissipate and the frosting firms up into soft peaks. If you are piping your frosting place it in the fridge to firm up a bit first.
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Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Here's what you'll need...
Ingredients you'll need...
- 2 tablespoon Instant coffee
- 150 ml Boiling water (10 tablespoons)
- 100 g Unsalted butter (7 tablespoons - or 1 stick but reduce vegetable oil by 15ml)
- 65 g Cocoa powder 100% pure cocoa, I used Dr Oetker (9½ tablespoons)
- 205 g Plain flour all-purpose flour (1 Cup + 7 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder level
- 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda baking soda - level
- ¼ teaspoon Fine salt level
- 250 g Caster sugar superfine sugar (1 Cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 60 ml Vegetable oil (¼ Cup)
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 120 g Sour cream (½ Cup)
- 2 Large eggs lightly beaten (US = extra large)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 90 g Unsalted butter (6½ tablespoons)
- 180 g Cream cheese (¾ Cup)
- 300 g Icing sugar confectioners' sugar - sifted (2½ Cups)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- A little dark chocolat optional
Here's what we do...
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F/Gas mar
- Line and grease your baking tins. This cake can stick a little so I recommend lining both sides and base and then greasing the baking (parchment) paper as well.
- Mix your instant coffee with your boiling water.
- Mix in your cocoa powder until fully incorporated and no cocoa powder remains. I recommend using a fork or small whisk for this. Leave to cool until at room temperature.
- Using your small saucepan, melt your butter over a low heat and also leave to cool.
- Sift your flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and salt together into your large bowl.
- Using your balloon whisk (or a wooden spoon will be fine) stir in your sugar, until fully mixed in. Then make a well (a bit of a dent) in the centre.
- Mix your melted butter, oil and vanilla essence into your coffee and cocoa mixture, again use a fork or small whisk to ensure it is really beaten in. Then pour into the well in the centre of your flour mixture.
- Using your balloon whisk (or wooden spoon) mix it all together until no flour remains and it is all fully incorporated.
- Next, mix in your sour cream, using a balloon whisk preferably or a wooden spoon. Once all mixed in stir in your lightly beaten egg, again ensure, fully mixed in with your balloon whisk.
- Once the batter is fully mixed it will be quite runny and silky in texture.
- Pour into your sandwich tins, ensuring equal amounts are in each (place your tins of weighing scales if you want to be totally accurate, for me this came to about 510 grams in each tin).
- Bake in the centre of your oven for 30-35 minutes. The cake is done when it is pulling away slightly from the sides, it springs back when touched and when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove and leave to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, run a knife around the edges, to ensure it has not stuck and then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely before adding the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Using the beater attachment (not the whisk), beat your softened butter just a little to spread it around your mixing bowl. You can do this by hand or with a mixer.
- Beat in your cream cheese, until just incorporated. It will easily overbeat so stop as soon as mixed in.
- Beat in your vanilla extract, a few beats will do it.
- Leaving your mixer running on a low setting, gradually add spoonfuls of your sifted icing sugar, letting each one beat in a little, but not entirely, each time.
- Once all of your icing sugar has been added, keep beating on medium-high until all of the lumps have dissipated and your cream cheese frosting is smooth and forms soft peaks.
- Using a butter knife or a small palette knife, or a piping bag with a 1A nozzle fitted, spread half of your cream cheese frosting over the base tier of your cake (turn one of the sandwich bases over so that you are spreading your icing over the flat side which was on the bottom of the tin.). Then spread the rest over the top.
- Grate over some dark chocolate for deoration.