Oreo Red Velvet Cake
This Oreo Red Velvet Cake is so moist and tender with a delicious variety of textures and flavors. The Oreo crust is the perfect thickness and adds a rich black cocoa and Oreo flavor to the cake. The soft and moist red velvet cake layers have a rich, prominent red velvet flavor that is topped off with a smooth and velvety cream cheese buttercream frosting.
I’m a big fan of Oreo Desserts and I love a good Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake, so of course I loved the idea of an Oreo Red Velvet Cake recipe. It’s like the best of both worlds! After I took a bite of it, I knew I was in flavor heaven!
Why This Recipe Works
- Sturdy cream cheese buttercream frosting. The key to making a cream cheese frosting that is sturdy enough to hold up between cake layers is to use part cream cheese and part butter. If it were just cream cheese, the frosting would be too soft.
- Rich, prominent red velvet flavor. Red velvet cake has an acidic element to it due to the buttermilk and vinegar in the cake which brightens the flavor and balances well with the sweetness of the cake. Red velvet also has a subtle chocolate flavor. The balance of vinegar, vanilla and chocolate in this cake provides the perfect red velvet flavor.
- Easy-to-cut crust. Often cakes with crust have such a thick, hard crust that it’s difficult to cut into. This Oreo crusted cake has the perfect thickness of crust — just thick enough to really bring that crunch and flavor but not too thick that the crust is hard to cut into and the flavor is overpowering.
- Oreos: I used about 40 Oreos to get the amount I wanted for the Oreo crust.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder (also referred to as natural cocoa powder) is acidic and therefore paired with a base (such as baking soda). This is just enough cocoa powder to give us that subtle chocolate flavor, but not too much that it tastes only like a chocolate cake. We still want that nice red velvet flavor to come through.
- Baking Soda: Cakes that use unsweetened cocoa powder will typically call for baking soda since unsweetened cocoa powder is acidic and baking soda is a base — causing a nice chemical reaction that gives us a lift in the cake.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is a key ingredient in red velvet cake because it helps provide the acidic nature of the cake. Red velvet cake recipes typically have white vinegar and a buttermilk paired with vanilla and some cocoa powder (a smaller amount of cocoa powder than you’d see in an all chocolate cake).
- Vegetable Oil: Using vegetable oil in cakes instead of butter will give a much more moist and tender cake texture. This is because vegetable oil is a liquid at room temperature.
- Eggs: Be sure to use room temperature eggs so they incorporate into the batter more easily.
- White Vinegar: I used white vinegar because I didn’t want an added flavor like apple cider or red wine to conflict with the other flavors in the cake. White vinegar in red velvet cake helps bring that acidic flavor through. Don’t worry though! The sweetness of the cake balances the acid. This isn’t an acidic tasting cake!
- Red Gel Food Coloring: Of course we want that beautifully deep red velvet color for our Oreo and red velvet cake!
- Make the Oreo crust. Mix the Oreo crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press the mixture into three 8-inch round cake pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray and the bottom lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325ºF for 3 minutes.
- Make the red velvet cake layers. Whisk the dry ingredients until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the wet ingredients until well combined. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Divide the batter among the three cake pans, pouring directly on top of the Oreo crust. Bake at 325ºF for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Make the cream cheese buttercream. Beat the butter, cream cheese, and salt (in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment) until it’s smooth and light in texture and color. Add the powdered sugar, a couple cups at a time, mixing well before adding more. Add a tablespoon of heavy cream as needed to keep the frosting smooth and not too stiff. Repeat until all powdered sugar and cream are added.
- Assemble the Oreo Red Velvet Cake. Place an Oreo red velvet cake layer, crust side down, on a cake board or stand. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese buttercream evenly over the top of the cake. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the second layer of cake. Place the third cake layer on top and crumb coat the Oreo velvet layer cake in a thin layer of buttercream. Freeze for a few minutes until the buttercream is cold and set. Add the final layer of frosting around the entire cake. Decorate as desired.
A good way to tell when cakes are done is to tap on the oven door and watch the center of the cakes. If they move back and forth, they’re still liquid and are not baked through yet. Once they don’t move when you tap on the oven door, then open the oven and use a toothpick to ensure they’re fully baked. Don’t open oven too soon or cakes will sink in the middle!
Don’t over mix the cake batter when you combine the dry and wet ingredients. Over mixing at this stage can cause the cake batter to get tough, making it harder for your cake to get a nice rise. Also affecting your cake’s rise can be using expired baking powder or baking soda, so keep that in mind when baking cakes!
Gel food coloring gives you a richer, deeper color without having to use as much coloring as you would if using liquid food coloring.
If the frosting is too soft when it’s cold, add more powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments to thicken it.
If desired for decoration, take about a cup of buttercream and color it red using red gel food coloring. We also added about a teaspoon of cocoa powder to the colored frosting to deepen the color. The color will also deepen for a few hours as the frosting sits.
Sifting your powdered sugar prior to adding it to the frosting can help get a smoother texture. Also, be sure to beat the butter and cream cheese until it is smooth and light in color!
Cake Assembly Tips
Keep in mind, this is a very soft frosting, so keeping it cooler than room temperature and keeping your cakes cold will help assembly go smoothly.
Having a small dollop of buttercream under the first cake layer and the stand or cake board will help keep the cake from sliding around as you assemble it.
We piped a bead of red buttercream around the bottom of the cake and used an offset spatula to spread it diagonally upward. We also added the leftover red and white buttercream to a piping bag and used a Wilton 1M piping tip to pipe swirls around the top of the cake and then added Oreos between the swirls.
If you want smaller decorations on the red velvet cake with Oreo cookies, try using mini Oreos instead of regular Oreos!
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
Store the cake covered in the fridge for 3-5 days (due to the cream cheese frosting).
If making the cake ahead of time, let the cake layers cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 1-2 days. You can also freeze the cake layers. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 week. If you need to store the cake for longer than 1 week in the freezer, then wrap the plastic-wrapped cake layers in a layer of aluminum foil and store in the freezer for 2-3 months. Remove from the freezer and let thaw overnight in the fridge. Next morning, remove from the fridge and remove the aluminum foil. Let sit at room temperature until thawed completely but still cool. Then assemble the cake.
To freeze a decorated cake, place the cake in the freezer until set (about 30 minutes). You want the frosting to be completely solid so it doesn’t get messed up when you wrap it. Wrap the entire cake in plastic wrap and store for up to 1 week. For longer than one week, store in the freezer with an additional layer of aluminum foil. Remove from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove the cake the next morning and unwrap.
Store the buttercream in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-3 days. Scoop the frosting into a stand mixer and beat until fluffy again before frosting the cake.
For more information on storing and freezing cakes, check out my How to Store and Freeze Cakes guide!
Yes they do! You will love this flavor combination! In fact, red velvet Oreos used to be an Oreo flavor you could buy once upon a time.
Red velvet flavor is a mild cocoa flavor with a slight tart/tangy flavor note. This is due to the buttermilk and white vinegar in the batter. You’ll see by looking at the ingredient list and proportions that it isn’t a fully chocolate cake, just enough to get a soft chocolate flavor.
Yes you can! Cake is really easy to make ahead of time. You can make the different elements of the cake and store them in the fridge or freezer and then assemble the cake at a later time (or day) or you can even freeze the cake! See my Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing section above.
More Cake Recipes
- Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Lemon Bar Cake
- Coconut Cookies and Cream Cake
- Biscoff Caramel Cake
- Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Pecans
Oreo Red Velvet Cake
- 4 cups crushed Oreo crumbs - (about 40 Oreos)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Red Velvet Cake
- Preheat oven to 325º F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by spraying with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
- Place the Oreo cookies (do not remove the cream filling) in a food processor and pulverize until they’re fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a medium sized bowl.
- Add the sugar and melted butter to the Oreo crumbs, stir to combine.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake pans and press into the bottom of each pan. Bake for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven heated to 325º F to bake the cakes.
Red Velvet Cake
- While the oreo crusts are baking, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, eggs, white vinegar and red gel food coloring. Beat until the mixture is well-combined and uniform.
- Take off the whisk attachment and attach the paddle. With the mixer on low speed, carefully add the dry ingredients, a couple cups at a time until everything is combined and no dry streaks remain. Be careful not to over-mix!
- Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans (adding it directly on top of the Oreo crust). Bake at 325°F for 35-45 minutes, until the centers of the cake are baked and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. (Don’t open oven too soon or cakes will sink in the middle.) Remove cakes from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and salt until it’s smooth and light in texture and color.
- Add the powdered sugar, a couple cups at a time, mixing well before adding more. Add a tablespoon of heavy cream as needed to keep the frosting smooth and not too stiff. Repeat until all powdered sugar and cream are added. If the frosting is too soft when it’s cold, add more powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments to thicken it.
- If desired for decoration, take about a cup of buttercream and color it red using red gel food coloring. We also added about a teaspoon of cocoa powder to the colored frosting to deepen the color. The color will also deepen for a few hours as the frosting sits.
- KEEP IN MIND, this is a very soft frosting, so keeping it cooler than room temperature and keeping your cakes cold will help assembling the cake go smoothly.
- Place a cake layer, crust side down, on a cake board or stand that has a small dollop of buttercream on it. This will help keep the cake from sliding around as you assemble it.
- Spread a thin layer of cream cheese buttercream evenly over the top of the cake.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the second layer of cake, placing the second cake layer on top of the first layer.
- Place the third cake layer on top and crumb coat the entire cake in a thin layer of cream cheese buttercream. Refrigerate or freeze for a few minutes, until the buttercream is cold and no longer soft.
- Add the final layer of frosting around the entire cake. Decorate as desired. We piped a bead of red buttercream around the bottom of the cake and used an offset spatula to spread it diagonally upward. We also added the leftover red and white buttercream to a piping bag and used a Wilton 1M piping tip to pipe swirls around the top of the cake and then added Oreos between the swirls.