This simple and oh-so-moist homemade Chocolate Cake with Oreo Buttercream Frosting is perfect for birthdays, dinner parties, or family get-togethers!
How to Make The Best 3 Layer Chocolate Cake
Below is a shortened version on how to make this chocolate cake. And the best part? No mixer is needed!
For the Oreo buttercream frosting, which is only explained in the recipe card below, does require the use of a hand mixer or stand mixer.
Whisk your dry ingredients together. This includes the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
Mix the wet ingredients together. This is best done in a large-size mixing bowl because you will end up adding the dry ingredients to it later. The ingredients needed for this part are the eggs, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, whole milk (or you can use buttermilk), and the vanilla extract.
Boil the water. You can do this either in a saucepan or in the microwave. The water just needs to be near boiling. You will then stir in the espresso powder (or you can use instant coffee). The mixture then gets added into the rest of the wet ingredients.
Add in the dry ingredients. As with any cake batter, you only want to mix this until it is just combined. Meaning, only until you can no longer see the flour or other dry ingredients within the batter.
Add to the cake pans. Evenly divide out the cake batter into your 3 prepared cake pans. I like to use my scale to do this so each layer is the same level of thickness.
Bake then cool. You'll bake the cakes for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let them sit in the cake pans for about 10 minutes before you invert them (carefully!) onto a wire cooling rack. They should be cooled to room temperature before you frost them with the Oreo buttercream frosting.
Buttermilk. You can sub out the whole milk for buttermilk which will give the cake layers an even moister texture.
Instant Coffee. If you only have instant coffee, you can use this in place of the espresso powder. And if you don't have either, or you're not a fan of the taste, you can omit it from the recipe.
You will still need to add the 1 cup of boiling water to the cake batter though.
How Can I Prevent My Cakes from Doming?
There are few ways you can prevent cakes from doming:
Use a heating core in the center of your cake pan. I've never tried this, but some say it works well.
Use cake baking strips. I've used my Wilton baking strips many times and they work very well. Make sure you fit them snug to the pan and also wet them with cold water prior to adding in the batter.
But there's an even easier way to prevent doming.
Tapping the cake pans. By gently tapping the filled cake pans on the counter before baking, you'll release any air bubbles. Super easy and it doesn't cost you anything!
Other Frostings to Try with Chocolate Cake
- Peanut Butter Frosting
- Chocolate Frosting
- Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting (will need to triple)
- Vanilla Frosting (simply leave out the crushed oreos!)
Based on Wilton's cake serving guide, a cake of this size will serve approximately 12 people which would be perfect for a small dinner party, birthday party, or a family get-together.
For this chocolate cake recipe, I used 3, 6 inch x 3 inch cake pans. The cake, once baked and frosted, measures approximately 6" high, not including the extra Oreos and frosting you may choose to add on top for decoration.
Yes! But just an FYI—the cakes might come right up to the top of the cake pan.
No, this is an optional ingredient that is there to help give the chocolate a more robust flavor. Some people simply do not care for it though, so you can easily leave it out. You will still need to add in the boiling water though.
Not at this time, no.
This recipe makes enough to generously frost the outside of the cake and in between the layers with some remaining for a decorative border on top.
Chocolate Cake with Oreo Buttercream FrostingAuthor:
- 2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¾ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 4 Large Eggs (room temperature)
- 1 cup Whole Milk or Buttermilk
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Boiling Water
- 2 teaspoon Espresso Powder or Instant Coffee (gets added to the boiling water)
oreo buttercream frosting
- 20 Oreo Sandwich Cookies (plus any extra for decoration)
- 2 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature and quartered)
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 3 ¾ cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
- ¼ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- Adjust the oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray the inside of 3, 6 inch cake pans with a flour-based baking spray. Line with a 6 inch parchment paper circle and lightly respray the tops. Optionally. you can also add baking strips to your cake pans. Set to the side.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Set to the side.2 cup All-Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 teaspoon Baking Powder, ¾ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix together the vegetable oil, granulated sugar, eggs, whole milk, and vanilla extract on medium speed until well blended.1 cup Vegetable Oil, 2 cup Granulated Sugar, 4 Large Eggs, 1 cup Whole Milk or Buttermilk, 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Boil the water in a heat proof glass bowl, then stir in the espresso powder (or instant coffee). Then pour the whole thing into the cake batter and mix until combined.1 cup Boiling Water, 2 teaspoon Espresso Powder or Instant Coffee
- Switching the mixer speed to low, gradually add in the whisked dry mixture until just combined. Be careful not to over mix the batter.
- Evenly pour the chocolate cake batter into each prepared 6 inch cake pan and bake at 350ºF for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the chocolate cake layers to cool for approximately 10 minutes before inverting them onto a wire cooling rack. The chocolate cake layers should be cooled completely before frosting with the Oreo buttercream frosting.
- If not frosting the cake the same day, chocolate cake layers can be double wrapped tightly in plastic and kept in the fridge for 2-3 days before frosting. If planning to freeze double wrap them tightly and place in a freezer bag. Cakes can remain in the freezer for up to a month. When ready, take the cakes out of the freezer 15-20 minutes before frosting.
oreo buttercream frosting
- With a food processor, pulverize the Oreos (the whole cookie) until they are these fine little crumbs. Set aside.20 Oreo Sandwich Cookies
- Using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the unsalted butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add in the vanilla extract and salt. Scrape down the bowl as needed.2 cup Unsalted Butter, 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Switching the mixer speed to low, gradually add in the powdered sugar and the heavy whipping cream until well blended.3 ¾ cup Sifted Powdered Sugar, ¼ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- Add in the Oreo crumbs, setting aside any you wish to use for decorating the top of the cake with. Mix until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one more time, then switch the mixer speed back to medium-high and beat the frosting until it's super light and fluffy (about 5-6 minutes). Use frosting immediately or you can refrigerate up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container.
- Espresso powder or instant coffee is optional. You'll still need the boiling water.
- Prep and cooking times noted are for the chocolate cake only. Prep time for making the Oreo buttercream frosting will take roughly 15-20 minutes. Frosting and cake decorating time will vary based on level of experience.
- For the 6 inch parchment paper circles, you can simply trace the bottom of the cake and cut them out, keep the paper insert that came with your cake pans and use that to trace with, or you can purchase precut parchment circles.
- Using baking strips is optional, but they do help to produce a flat top cake. If you do end up with domed cake tops, simply cut it off using a serrated knife. Save the scraps to snack on.
- Cakes, once cooled, can be stored tightly wrapped with plastic wrap in the fridge for a day before frosting them. I actually prefer to do this as I feel it helps for the crumb coating of frosting to adhere nicely to the cakes.
- For the frosting, if you only have salted butter on-hand, just omit the salt from the remaining list of ingredients.
Nutritonal information provided above is an estimate only and will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Looks delicious. What # piping tip did you use for the swirl on top? Also how did you get that perfect line of Oreo crumbs border around the bottom of cake? Thanks.
Thank you, Kathy! I'm usually really good about writing down the piping tip I used when decorating and this time I forgot! I believe it's the Wilton 1M tip, which is the one I typically use. You could probably get away with using the Wilton 2D as well. For the border of Oreo crumbs, I took a small sheet of parchment paper and gently held it around the one side of the cake while I added the Oreo crumbs. Then I'd remove it, turn the cake on the revolving cake stand, and place the parchment paper back on (holding it with my hand) making sure to line it up with the existing line. Hope that helps!
I don't have instant coffee. Can I use fresh coffee?
Hi Tessa! I wouldn't recommend just taking 2 tsp. of the fresh coffee and adding it to the 1 cup of boiling water. It won't produce the same concentrated flavor as instant coffee would. I haven't tried this, but you could swap out both the 2 tsp. instant coffee and the 1 cup of boiling water for 1 cup of brewed coffee. If that's not something you'd like to try, you can always skip the 2 tsp. of the instant coffee (still keep the boiling water though!). Thanks! Jennifer
I'd love to try this! Is it ok to leave the cake with the frosting at room temperature or does it need to be refrigerated?
It’s so good, I hope you get to! I would refrigerate it just because of the frosting. You can take it out (to bring it to room temp) 30-45 minutes before serving.
Sofia Almeida says
Hi! I'm thinking about doing this recipe for my boyfriends birthday but i have two questions. First, when you add the instant coffee is the flavour in the cake very strong? Do you really taste coffee? Because my boyfriend doesn't like coffee but I think it will be better with it. The second question is if it is possible to do the oreo frosting with less sugar. If I do it like you say, one tablespoon at the time, will I need less suggar? Because again, he doesn't like things with too much sugar and powdered suggar is very very sweet. Sorry about any weird language, I'm from Portugal. Thank you!!!
Hi! No need to apologize! I actually don't like coffee either (never liked the taste), but I do like to use it occasionally with my chocolate desserts! You can't really taste the coffee at all. It's there just to enhance the taste of the chocolate. For the oreo buttercream, I haven't tried it with less sugar so I'm not sure—sorry! I do know that with the crushed oreos added to it, it does cut down on the sweetness a little. I hope you get the chance to make it for him—I think you will both love it!❤️
Hi, I have a similar question. I actually love coffee but wanted to make this cake for someone who doesn’t and I know is sensitive to the taste (I made brownies once with the tiniest amount of coffee and he tasted it without knowing it was there ahead of time) in that case would you recommend just boiling water? Omitting altogether? Water with a droplet of some other flavor say vanilla extract?
Hi! Yes, if you omit the instant coffee you will still need to leave the boiling water in the recipe. You don't need to add any flavoring to it.
Jen L. says
This cake is delicious. I've made it 2x's in the past 2 weeks. My son requested a chocolate cake w/ oreo frosting for his birthday and wanted more the following week. I was wondering if this recipe would work for cupcakes? Thanks!
That's wonderful! I'm so glad it's been a big hit! I haven't made this as cupcakes, but you definitely could! Because this is a 3 layer cake, I would recommend cutting the recipe in half for the cupcakes otherwise you'll probably end up with a lot!
Hi Jennifer ,this cake looks soooo beautiful really.I just had a doubt can we bake this cake in 2- 8"pans or 2- 9" pans.
Hi Anita, thank you! I haven't made this cake in either of these size pans, so I can't say for certain if that would work, but I think it would be too much batter. You could bake the cake in either pan and what leftover batter you have, you can make cupcakes. Or, another alternative, you could half the recipe and bake them in either the 8 inch or 9 inch pans. The layers won't be as thick though. I hope this helps!
Hi, is this cake solid enough to cover with fondant ?
I've never covered a cake with fondant before, but I would say yes this would be fine!
Christina M says
This cake is easily going to become one of my go-to's! Easy and relatively quick to make, love a recipe that I don't need to run to the store for a list of ingredients beyond pantry staples (except Oreos this time!). I used 6"X2" pans since that's what mine are, the cakes did dome over the top but easily leveled off with a knife once cooled, et voila I had bonus cake for taste testing. The Oreo buttercream is perfect with it's imperfections, easily hides any rogue crumbs or lack of decorator skill. The end result is delightfully delicious and moist, without being overwhelming sweet. I'd even say the Oreo crumbs somehow cut how overly sweet some buttercreams can be. For those concerned, I couldn't taste the coffee at all. Like I said, favourited, and to be repeated!
Thank you so much for this review, Christina! I'm so happy you enjoyed the cake!❤️