Grant and I celebrated our anniversary yesterday.
I'm telling you what, getting married in July is a perfect recipe for hot weather, both in Tennessee where we tied the knot and in Virginia where we now reside.
We really chose the perfect place for our honeymoon - Glacier National Park in Montana - what an amazing escape from the humidity and nastiness of summer in the South. Wish I was there right about now......
So 11 years, a couple of deployments, a couple of moves, and five kids later, here we are!
And we celebrated with cake!
Well, we had a date too, our first completely alone in over 9 months (no tag-along Miranda this time!), and that was really amazing. We went to the Outback for dinner - hadn't been there in ages - and when we finished and still had some time to kill, we......this is kind of embarrassing.....went to Target.
I know, how romantic.
Well, it was too darn hot to even think about being outside for more than 30 seconds, and the mall area nearby is all outdoors (brilliant design, people....who wants to walk outside in any adverse weather?).....
and Target was right there.
You know the best part, though? We could actually walk side by side and hold hands. I can't even remember when we did that last......we're always juggling kids and strollers and diaper bags......and it was so nice to just walk around in the air conditioning together.
And buy a new sports bra.
(I got to go in a dressing room alone!!! And I spent my entire time in there chuckling at the conversation I was overhearing between a mom and dad trying to maintain control of their 3 or 4 young kids while the mom tried on clothes. I could totally identify with their struggle.)
But the cake. Oh, this cake.
It really is up there in my list of favorites.
Hershey's dark chocolate cake, white chocolate buttercream frosting, crushed Oreos, Oreo cheesecake, more frosting, more Oreos, another layer of cake, everything covered in frosting, and garnished with mini-Oreos.
I love everything about this dessert. The cake is moist and tender and so darkly chocolate (you could use regular cocoa powder for a lighter chocolate cake if you were so inclined), the cheesecake provides a wonderful contrast to the cake flavors and texture, and the frosting is out.of.this.world. It doesn't really taste like white chocolate, but it's definitely different from a regular buttercream. It's supposed to mimic the Oreo cream.....which I think it does pretty nicely. And it's awesome on chocolate cake.
A perfect celebration cake. And 11 years of marriage is worth celebrating.
Update: Grant has now declared this is his favorite cake of all time. And you know that's saying something, because that man loves cake.
Oreo Cheesecake Cake (adapted from Erin's Food Files)
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
7 coarsely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used expeller pressed coconut oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp. instant coffee granules (optional)
6 oz. white chocolate (I used Baker's Premium White Chocolate)
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4-1/3 cup heavy cream or milk
6-8 additional crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, for assembly
Mini oreos for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 325°. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Fold in crushed Oreos.
Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of a 9" springform pan. Pour batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Remove outer ring of cheesecake pan, but leave metal bottom. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. (I just refrigerated - it worked fine)
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. If using coffee granules, dissolve them in the boiling water. Stir water or coffee into batter. (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Place white chocolate in double boiler over pot of simmering water just until it begins to melt. Stir to fully melt, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, cream butter. Once chocolate has cooled, beat in with butter. Continue to mix at low to medium speed while adding vanilla. Gradually add in cream/milk and powdered sugar, alternating until frosting reaches desired consistency.
Place one layer of cake on cake stand. Frost top with a thin layer of frosting, and a sprinkle of crushed Oreos. Remove cheesecake from freezer, unwrap, and remove metal bottom of the pan, then peel off parchment paper. Place cheesecake layer on top of the cake. If the cheesecake is wider than the cake, and it is necessary to to trim it, wait approximately 5-10 minutes for the cheesecake to soften, then trim it with a knife. Frost top with a thin layer of frosting, and a sprinkle of crushed Oreos. Place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake, and coat entire cake with a layer frosting to act as the crumb coat. Be careful not to get any crumbs in the bowl of frosting! Refrigerate approximately 30 minutes, then frost with as much of the remaining frosting as necessary. Top with mini Oreos, crushed Oreos, or any decoration of your choosing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.