Cookies & Cream Cake (and a one-of-a-kind birthday theme)

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So my daughter recently turned 10.  Double digits!  Shortly after her last birthday, on the way home from school one day she said to me, “Mom, guess what?!  I have the same birthday as Thomas Jefferson!”  As I replied, “Wow, that’s cool!” I noticed she looked thoughtful.  “By the way,” she asked, “who is Thomas Jefferson?”  Ha!  I laugh every time I think of that story.  Silly, sweet girl.  Anyhow, ever since she learned more about this mystery man who shares her birthday, she’s wanted to have a Thomas Jefferson themed birthday party.  Of course I had to oblige.  So I give you (drumroll please), a presidential birthday party complete with TJ’s face on the cake, a vintage Thomas Jefferson Value Book, and a $2 bill banner.  Nothing fancy but my girl was super impressed… plus I let her keep the $2 bills. ~Erin

The cake was also her choice.  She loves to bake with her momma and is often coming up with new recipes.  This one was a success.  We combined our favorite cake-mix-based chocolate cake recipe with our favorite buttercream recipe and threw in some crushed Oreos.  It resulted in a rich, creamy cake, reminiscent of a milk-dunked Oreo.   I’m sure Thomas Jefferson would approve.  🙂

Cake Ingredients:

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1 small box instant chocolate pudding (dry)

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 cup vegetable or canola oil

½ cup buttermilk *see note on how to make, if you’re like me and don’t keep buttermilk

½ cup strong coffee, cooled (to enhance the chocolate flavor – or use more milk if you’d rather)

½ T. pure vanilla extract

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 cup crushed Oreos

Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) real butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar (approximately)

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup to ¾ cup heavy cream

2/3 of a family size Oreo package, crushed

Cake Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease & flour 3 9-inch round pans; set aside. (I also line the bottoms of my pans with parchment, cut the shape of the pan.)

Whisk together the dry pudding mix and cake mix.

With a mixer, blend in eggs, sour cream, oil, buttermilk, coffee, and vanilla until smooth.

Gently stir in chocolate chips and Oreo crumbs.

Divide the batter evenly among your pans.

Bake for about 35 minutes until toothpick comes out mostly clean.

After 10 minutes, remove from pan to wire rack.  Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Instructions:

Making frosting isn’t an exact science…

Start with 1 cup softened butter, mix on high until fluffy & smooth.

Add 2 cup powdered sugar, some of the heavy cream and 1 tsp vanilla; blend until smooth.

Add the crushed Oreos, more powdered sugar, and more heavy cream until it reaches the desired consistency (and desired taste – Yes, taste as you go!)

Place one layer of cake on cake plate or platter.  Cover the first layer of cake with frosting, add the second and third layer with frosting between those as well.

End by frosting the sides of the cake & sticking on a few whole Oreos for decoration.

I found this cake was better refrigerated… more like an Oreo dunked in cold milk!

*To make buttermilk, warm your milk in the microwave or on the stove just until it’s barely more than room temp.  Not hot!  Stir a ½ Tablespoon white vinegar into your ½ cup of milk.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Ta-da!… buttermilk!

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