Thursday, January 31, 2019

Oreo Whipped Cream Layer Cake

Matthew surprised me immensely this year when it came to choosing a dessert for his birthday. You see, as I've written before, this kid HATES cake. Legitimately hates it. He will tolerates certain flavors but rarely can finish a whole piece. At birthday parties, he accepts cake only as a gateway to get ice cream. For the past few years, he has only requested fruit desserts, specifically apple pie, for his birthday.

So, much to my shock, when I approached him and asked if he wanted me to make him my Caramel Apple Pie for his birthday, he shook his head and said that he wanted a cake. And not just any cake...he wanted an Oreo cake. For some reason, Matthew developed an intense and passionate love for all things Oreo over this past year. I think it started when his 3rd grade class were learning about opinions and debates by having an Oreo taste test where they got to try six different flavors of Oreo cookies and then had to debate the merits and flaws of each one. In the tasting process, Matthew discovered that he loved all Oreos and pretty soon I found myself being suckered into buying fancy flavor packs of Oreos to stick in his lunch - Red Velvet, S'mores, Birthday Cake, Peanut Butter, Peppermint Bark, Lemon, and Apple Pie. Thus, I enabled my son to become an Oreo connoisseur of sorts.

So, really, I should have seen the Oreo cake request coming. But there was more to his request than that.

"I really don't like sugary frosting or anything. It gives me a headache and makes me feel sick," he added.

So, one Oreo cake without super sweet frosting or icing. Got it. The first thing I thought of was an old fashioned icebox cake where layers of cookies are sandwiched between whipped cream and chilled until the cookies soften and breakdown, almost forming a "cake like" texture between the soft whipped cream. Actually, that didn't sound like a half bad idea....let's just turn it into a layer cake form!

A good quality chocolate cake would be the first component of this cake. It has to be chocolaty and rich on its own yet sturdy enough to hold up to being chilled while sandwiching a whipped frosting. And the frosting would be a simple mixture of whipped cream, a touch of sugar, and lots of chopped Oreos folded together. I really like the "Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake" with coffee as a substitute for the boiling water. It's fantastic. So, that's what I used for the cake layer, only I halved the recipe to make a single cake layer. After cooling, I sliced that cake layer in half and then filled it with the whipped Oreo filling. After sandwiching the cake layers back together, I "frosted" it with the remainder of the filling. Then, into the fridge it went to chill and allow those cookies in the whipped cream to soften. Right before it was time to serve, I added a few simple embellishments - a piping of whipped cream rosettes around the top border that are topped with halved Oreos. And, of course, for my future paleontologist, a model T-Rex skeleton for the center of the cake.

Matthew was thrilled.

The whole thing looked pretty cool all lit up with birthday candles. Paul purchased trick candles because you can never have too much birthday boy spit sprayed all over the cake.

Everyone loved the cake. It was quite rich yet simultaneously not heavy (if that's even a thing). We all enjoyed pieces for dessert, then again for breakfast the next morning. Because why not? I should note that I don't think Paul actually had a slice of cake because he was going through a bit of anti-sugar phase at the moment. But the most important thing is that Matthew loved and enjoyed it!

Oreo Whipped Cream Cake
adapted from Hershey's and Serious Eats

For the Cake Layer:
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup very hot coffee (heated in microwave if necessary)

For the Whipped Oreo Filling:
50 double-stuffed Oreo cookies
4 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour, and line the bottom of an 8-inch round baking pan with parchment paper.

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 mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in the very hot coffee. The batter will be thin - no worries! Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the whipped cream Oreo filling and frosting. Carefully cut 6 Oreo cookies in half and set aside. Chop remaining cookies into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups cream on medium-high speed to soft peak, spoon into large bowl and refrigerate. In same mixer bowl, whip remaining 2 1/2 cups cream, sugar, and vanilla to soft peak. Fold into already whipped cream.

Place about 1 cup whipped cream in bowl and refrigerate until ready to decorate cake. Fold chopped Oreos into the remaining whipped cream.

Split the cake into two layers by cutting horizontally. This might be easier if you pop it into the freezer for about 30-60 minutes.

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread about 1/3 of Oreo whipped cream onto cake. Top with second cake layer and use remaining Oreo whipped cream to frost top and sides of cake. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow cookies to soften.

Place reserved whipped cream in pastry bag fitted with star tip (I had to rewhisk it a bit to "fluff" it up). Pipe 12 whipped cream rosettes around perimeter of cake and garnish with reserved Oreo cookie halves. Add a dinosaur to the center (optional).

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