Last summer, beloved cookie brand Oreo made waves with the announcement of a new product—Oreo Thins. The slimmed-down biscuit clocks in at 7 calories fewer than the original and is slightly crispier, thanks to a higher cookie to cream ratio; flavor-wise, it’s the same snack we all know and love. An Oreo in any form—double-stuffed, red velvet-ized, or studded with fruity cereal—is a thing of beauty, just as it is.
So what happens when an already perfect cookie ends up in the hands of a James Beard Award-winning chef? A luscious layer cake of epic proportions is brought into the world. John Besh, renowned chef, restaurant owner, and cookbook author, recently teamed up with Oreo to create a series of delectable desserts, like the 144 Cake, and we've got our hands on the recipe.
“It’s a take on the traditional Austrian dish ‘baumkuchen,’ which means ‘tree cake’ in German,” says Besh. “The lines in the cake signify the rings in the tree. Underneath, you have this gorgeous chocolate cake and you have layers of all these Oreo thins, both the chocolate and the original, bound by chocolate mousse and then glazed with apricot gel just to make it shiny and delicious.” Intrigued? Try the recipe below
Oreo Thins 144 Cake
For the Baumkuchen
17 oz egg yolks
22 1/2 oz egg whites
13 oz butter, room temperature
1 lb sugar
4 oz almond paste
8 oz cornstarch
5 1/4 oz cake flour
1 1/2 oz rum
Pinch of salt
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
For the Apricot Glaze
4 cups apricot gel
1 cup glucose syrup
2 1/2 cups rum
For the Chocolate Oreo Cake
1 1⁄2 cup all purpose flour
1⁄4 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
1 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
2 1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
3⁄4 cup whole milk
1⁄2 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup boiling water
Chocolate Chiboust filling (recipe below)
Original and chocolate Oreo Thins
For the Chocolate Chiboust Filling (Note: have all ingredients and steps ready to execute before beginning the mixing process)
10 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 ½ oz warm water
1⁄3 cup egg yolks
1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup egg whites
2 oz granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 sheets bronze gelatin ($39; jet.com)
10” cake ring (pan without a bottom, so both sides are open)
1. To make the baumkuchen: Set oven to 550°F. Place a hotel pan filled with water towards the bottom of the oven to create steam. Spray a half sheet tray with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, then spray the top of the parchment paper.
2. Sift together the cake flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, soften the almond paste with the run, vanilla
extract, salt and lemon zest. Once soft, add butter and a quarter of the sugar and incorporate well on low
4. Add the egg yolks, a few at a time, until they are all incorporated. Switch the mixer to high speed and whip
mixture to full volume. Once you reach the ribbon stage (when the whisk is lifted, a ribbon falls from it and does not instantly dissolve into the surface of the mixture), transfer the egg yolk mixture to a large mixing bowl using a rubber spatula.
5. Very quickly, in a clean dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip together the egg whites and remaining sugar to medium peaks (when you turn the whisk upside down, the peaks fold back over on themselves).
6. Carefully fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture, starting with a small introduction of whites to the yolks, then followed by 3 egg white additions, carefully folding so you don’t break down all the volume. Once the egg whites are all incorporated, fold in the sifted flour and cornstarch mixture.
7. Immediately start the baking process by spreading an even layer of batter onto the prepared half sheet, using 1- 1.5 cups of the batter per layer (you want as thin of a layer as possible, while still remaining even). Place the sheet tray in the oven for just long enough for the batter to set, turning as needed for very even cooking.
8. Quickly remove the pan from the oven, carefully brush the cake with the apricot glaze, spread another layer of batter on top. Repeat this process over and over again, until you reach the end of the batter, or the top of the half sheet.
9. Allow the final layer of cake to bake completely, remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cake can be stored in the freezer until needed, or in the fridge overnight very well wrapped in plastic wrap.
10. To make the apricot glaze: Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pot and bring to a boil to combine. Keep warm for the duration of baking the cake layers.
11. To make the Chocolate Oreo Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare one 10-inch pan by lining with parchment baking powder and spraying with nonstick spray (or butter works as well).
12. Sift together the all purpose flour, Oreo cookie crumbs, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together whole milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until well emulsified. Create a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in a third of the liquid, stirring in between additions until just combined. Repeat until all of the liquid ingredients have been incorporated into the dry ingredients. Carefully stream in boiling water in 2 additions, stirring to incorporate.
13. Transfer the cake batter into prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before removing cakes from the pan to cool completely.
14. Once completely cool, level the cake to 1⁄4-inch thickness using a serrated knife. Trim up the edges of the cake by using the cake ring much like a cookie cutter for a perfect fit.
15. Set aside until assembling the cake.
16. To assemble the cake: Remove the baumkuchen from the fridge. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the half sheet tray. Flip the cake out directly onto a cutting board and remove all of the parchment paper.
17. Using a long serrated knife, trim off the edges of the cake and discard (or snack on). Carefully slice the cake into thin, even slices no more than 1⁄4 inch thick.
18. On a clean half sheet tray lined with parchment paper, lay the slices down, side by side with no gaps in between the slices. Continue this process until you have enough together to cover a 10” cake ring. Place the cake ring over the cake, then press down to use the cake ring in the same fashion as a cookie cutter, cutting the cake into a perfect circle. Remove excess cake left over from around the outside of the ring.
19. Continue slicing the cake in thin strips and line the cake ring vertically around the entire circumference of the ring. Use a small serrated knife to trim any cake that overlaps the top of the cake ring, creating an even smooth edge. Carefully brush the entire inside of the cake with a thin layer of apricot glaze.
20. To make the filling: Melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a double boiler and set aside.
21. Bloom gelatin in ice water until just soft, then pull from water, squeeze off excess liquid, and set aside.
22. Whip heavy cream to soft peaks and set aside in a cool place (fridge preferred).
23. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy. Stream in granulated sugar and whisk to medium peaks and set aside.
24. Working very, very quickly, whisk bloomed gelatin into warm water, then in stages, whisk into the melted chocolate followed by the yolks and vanilla extract (yes, the chocolate will feel like it wants to seize up on you, but keep whisking, I promise!). Add a small amount of the whipped egg whites and combine, followed by the rest of the whites in two additions, folding gently to incorporate. Fold in whipped cream, again, careful not to lose volume.
25. Spread some of the chocolate filling into the prepared cake, about 1⁄4 of the way up. Set in fridge for about 10 minutes, or just long enough for the filling to set slightly. Pull from the fridge, and place a layer of Chocolate Oreo Thins evenly over the chocolate filling. Add another layer of filling to reach halfway up the cake and allow to set in the fridge. Once set, add a layer of Original Oreo Thins followed by another layer of chocolate filling up to 1/4 inch of the top of the cake. Place the cake in the freezer until the filling sets completely. Remove from freezer, top with the prepared layer of chocolate cake.
26. Flip the entire cake over so that the chocolate is on the bottom, and the baumkuchen is right side up. Remove the mold and carefully brush the entire cake in the apricot glaze.