This fan-favorite flavor steps out of the ice cream parlor and into a decadent cake.

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Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Christine Kelly

Recipe Summary

total:
2 hrs 25 mins
active:
1 hr 10 mins
Servings:
8
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A fat slice of Cookies and Cream Cake will taste just like a scoop of the ubiquitous ice cream shop flavor. There's something about the combination of chocolate, vanilla, and sandwich cookie cream that makes it irresistible and a beloved flavor for a variety of treats. Here, we pair a buttermilk chocolate cake peppered with cookies and a delicate Italian meringue buttercream, also flecked with cookie crumbs. The cookie pieces will melt into the batter, providing a bit of texture and the iconic cookies and cream flavor. And, according to our Test Kitchen, the Italian meringue, though time consuming, is worth the effort. "Italian buttercream is my absolute favorite because the meringue base makes for a remarkably light, fluffy, and delicious buttercream," says Test Kitchen Professional Liv Dansky. "I sometimes find American buttercreams to be cloyingly sweet and dense. The additional cookie pieces in the frosting make it that much more delicious." When making the buttercream, you'll want to monitor the temperature of the ingredients—mix the meringue until the bottom of the bowl is no longer noticeably warm, which can be up to 20 minutes. Another tip: Add the butter slowly. If your frosting does curdle, don't panic. Refrigerate it for a few minutes and then continue mixing.

Ingredients

Cake
Buttercream

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray, and line with parchment rounds. Lightly grease parchment with cooking spray.

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  • Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla; mix at medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add buttermilk, and mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup water, and beat on medium-high speed until well incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add crushed cookies, and mix on low speed until evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and edges of cakes begin to pull away from sides of pan, 23 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

  • Prepare the Buttercream: Combine sugar and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When mixture reaches a boil, stop stirring and continue to cook until a candy thermometer reads 240°F.

  • Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; beat at medium speed just until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly pour in sugar syrup in a thin stream. Continue beating on medium-high until the outside of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch and stiff glossy peaks form, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until butter is incorporated and buttercream is light and fluffy. Add crushed cookies, vanilla, and salt; beat to combine.

  • Slice domes off of cake layers with a serrated knife, if needed, to make them level. Place one cake layer on the cake stand, and spread with about 1 cup of the buttercream. Place the second layer on top of the first, and press gently to set it in place. Repeat with another 1 cup buttercream and the third layer.

  • Spread a thin layer of buttercream over top and sides of cake to ensure no errant crumbs ruin outer layer of frosting once you apply it. Place cake in refrigerator for 15 minutes to help the frosting firm up. Remove from refrigerator, and use remaining frosting to evenly coat top and sides of cake. Garnish with additional crushed cookie pieces, if desired.

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