This ombre oreo chocolate cake is a tall and layered thing of beauty. Deeply flavourful chocolate cake covered with an oreo Swiss meringue buttercream and decorated with shards of white chocolate.
Hello 2016! Can I still say that? Or are you kinda over and done with it now that the excitement has passed and you’ve already OD’d on champagne and confetti and it’s already almost February?
Welcome welcome to the first post of the year! This ombre oreo chocolate cake is the most bomb thing that has happened to my life in a long while so that’s why I’m starting off the new blogyear with it. This cake is a drop dead gorgeous bombshell. Ain’t gonna lie, because I’m interning full time and studying the rest of the time, excitement is kind of a scarcity these days… UNLESS you also find stage 4 coccyx wounds, bowel movements or dysphagia exciting! Anybody else? Ok, just me probably.
About this ombre oreo chocolate cake
This tall ombre oreo chocolate cake is made of four layers of moist chocolate cake filled with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. Oreos were twisted and separated. I crushed the cookies into a fine crumb and added it into a portion of the vanilla buttercream then added the cream filling into the buttercream as well for that signature oreo flavour. I spread this oreo buttercream sporadically halfway down the outsides of the cake and then used my pastry scraper to smooth out and evenly drag the oreo buttercream throughout the vanilla buttercream.
For the chocolate shards on top, I melted a heck of a lot of white chocolate and spread it thinly on some parchment. Then, I sprinkled some oreo crumbs in rows across the chocolate so that when I cut it into triangles, only the corners would have crumbs for a geometric play with texture.
Hitting a breaking point
Gonna dump some seriously heavy stuff on you today. If you’re already feeling down, I don’t want to drag you with me. Carry on to the recipe at the end of this post!
I have hit the breaking point that I’ve been trying to avoid ever since I started my internship. I do this thing where I put a lot, and I mean A LOT of unnecessary and unrealistic pressure on myself. Even with the smallest mistakes and the less than awesome interactions that I have with others, I shoot myself down until I feel completely worthless.
Example, when I forget a detail such as checking a patient’s bowel charts and I have to go back to gather that detail after my preceptor prompts me to do it. I feel like crud when that happens because I blame myself for not being absolutely perfect the first time. You know, all those strange, self-deprecating thoughts and the like. I’ve been trying and trying to push those negative thoughts back and it has worked up until now. Recently, they’ve all resurfaced… tenfold.
For the first half of January, I felt incompetent, incapable, and overwhelmed. Those feelings were so destructive to my confidence that I couldn’t feel comfortable in my role. Every single possible negative thought ran through my head:
“I’ll never be good at my job.”
“I’ll never improve. This is it, I’m always gonna be only half-OK at everything.”
“I bet everyone is doing so much better than I am. I’ll never be as good as them.”
“Why can’t I handle this stress? I’m so weak.”
“There’s so much to do, there’s so much to do, there’s so much to do. I have no time!!”
I thought about quitting. I thought about pursing other things. I reminded myself of the promise that I made a long time ago to be HAPPY. Anything that is in the way of my happiness needs to be stopped. But I can’t make that decision right now. What if these crappy feelings are just stemming from being overworked and tired? What if I just need more time to practice and get better? I mean, it’s only been 4 months into internship right? Playing devils advocate with myself is one way to explore options but am I just overthinking everything?
Seeing the bigger picture
Either way, I decided that my current emotions are not a reflection of my passion for this field of work. Yes, I’m feeling completely crappy right now and yes it’s work related, but no it does not mean that I won’t love what I do once I find the perfect place for me in the field of dietetics. When I get over the roller coaster learning stages, the constant stumbling and the juggle of a bajillion simultaneous projects, it will be allll better. Until I get past these parts of this journey, I’ll just have to keep reminding myself to see the big picture. At the end of this, I’ll have my dream career in learning about nutrition and its effects on human health. THAT, is what I’m working towards.
Realizing and finding strength
A couple things in particular helped me get over those feelings. I CRIED (A LOT). I talked about it with my boyfriend and closest friends. They literally had to take me by the shoulders and shake some sense into me. They also reminded me that I was blaming myself for THE TINIEST mistakes and the MOST RIDICULOUS things. They taught me the most important lesson ever: you’re still learning, it’s actually the best time to make mistakes. This is what internship is for: learning and developing skills to be better in the future.
Self-confidence and the ability to be REAL with myself is not second nature to me. I tend to push myself down all the time; a lot of negative self-talk goes on in my head. There’s a purpose for it though! It sounds ridiculous but I do that to keep myself grounded and humble. I don’t ever want to let myself forget to be open to learning and practice.
There is a Chinese proverb that I live by “There is always a mountain taller than the other.” There will always be someone who’s smarter and more skilled than I and I shouldn’t let myself believe, not even for a minute, that I am a pro in anything. After this episode though, I’m realizing that there are some flaws to my methods. Biggest flaw: I was being unrealistic with myself and I destroyed my own self-esteem by nit-picking at every little thing I did or not did not do. Second biggest flaw: I never gave myself credit for achievements.
Lessons learnt from going through hard times
Despite the hard circumstances, there was a pivotal moment. It was one of those life defining moments that challenged my strength of character and changed my outlook on life, especially my perspective of myself.
- Cry hard. Until you’ve got nothing in you. Cry until you hyperventilate. Then deep breathe and get back at your problems logically. Maybe grab a glass of water first though, crying dries you out.
- Be real with yourself. Evaluate this: Are you putting yourself down because you actually suck or are you just being negative and letting yourself sink into a downward uncontrollable spiral?
- Change the negative talk. Ok, so you actually suck. Doesn’t mean you’re gonna suck forever! You will though if you keep talking down on yourself. If no one else supports/believes in you, you have to be your own source of strength.
- Share your thoughts and open up to other people. Being your own cheerleader is tiring. No matter how positive you are, you just get worn out sometimes. Talking to others doesn’t make you weak. I felt magnitudes of relief when I finally opened up to my friends about how I was feeling.
- This one was shared by my wise friend, Chris: Compartmentalize. Work will always be stressful and one way to not let it affect other areas of your life is to separate work thoughts from personal life thoughts. Once the work day is over, clock out physically AND mentally.
- Self-care. You are no good to anybody if you don’t take care of yourself.
- Recognize what you’ve achieved so far and give yourself credit for how big your workload is! For me, a huge part of the stress stemmed from having too many roles: intern, event coordinator, food blogger and taking care of some tenant/contracts business for my parents etc.
More tall layered cake ideas:
Recipe for ombre oreo chocolate cake:
Ombre Oreo Chocolate Cake
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 2/3 cups AP flour
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp cocoa
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1.5 cup buttermilk
- 1.5 cup strong black coffee OR 2 tsp powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 10 large egg whites
- 2 1/4 cup white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups unsalted butter room temp, cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 18 oreos
White chocolate shards
- 1 cup good quality white chocolate
- 4 oreos
Oreo Decoration on top of cake
- 10 oreos
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl
- Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin)
- Pour batter evenly into 3 9" circular pans
- Bake 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Let cool to room temperature
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Separate the cream filling from the cookies and crush cookies into a fine powder, place in separate bowls and set aside
- Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer
- Place over boiling water (not IN boiling water)
- Whisk by hand until sugar is completely dissolved
- Transfer bowl to mixer and beat until you reach medium peak consistency
- Slowly add butter one piece at a time
- At some point, the buttercream will look curdled and gross, THIS IS NORMAL DON'T PANIC
- Keep adding butter and beating the buttercream until you reach a silky smooth texture
- Split buttercream in half, one half to remain vanilla, the other half for oreos
- Add the crushed cookies and the cream into one half of the buttercream
White Chocolate Shards
- Remove the cream filling and crush cookies into a fine powder, set aside
- Gently temper white chocolate in the microwave using 30 second intervals at medium heat
- Pour chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread into a rectangular shape
- Sprinkle crushed oreo cookies in 3 equally spaced rows parallel to the long side of the rectangle
- Allow chocolate to set overnight
- When chocolate is set, cut along the rows of cookie crumbs to get 3 long strips, then cut each strip into different sized triangles
- Remove the cream filling and break the cookies into 4 pieces – precision does not matter here, we want the pieces to be different sizes and shapes!
Putting it all together
- Cut and level off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface
- Place one layer of cake on a plate/cakeboard and place on a spinning turntable/lazy susan
- Generously spread a layer of vanilla buttercream
- Place the second layer of cake on top
- Repeat with vanilla buttercream and place final layer of cake on top
- Crumb coat the entire cake with vanilla buttercream, then refrigerate for 20 minutes
- Once cake is cold and crumb coat is hardened, start applying your final layer of buttercream
- Starting at the bottom of the cake, roughly spread OREO buttercream halfway up the sides in an ombre fashion (more on the bottom and less as you get closer to the top of the cake)
- Cover the other half of the sides and the top of the cake with VANILLA buttercream
- Using a pastry scraper or spatula, gently smooth out the sides of the cake in one swift motion: Place your scraper/spatula gently against the cake and in one motion, turn the lazy susan 360 degrees so that your scraper/spatula ends back where it started. You will drag oreo and vanilla buttercream along with you and that is NORMAL, you want the two to blend together. Put excess buttercream that you dragged off the cake into a bowl for future finger dipping
- Keep smoothing it out until you’re happy with how it looks, then smooth out the top of the cake.
- Final optional step: Sprinkle shards and crumbled oreo cookies on top as you wish
Did you make this recipe?
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