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How To Build An Epic Cake (A Recipe From A Seven-Year-Old)

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Yesterday, as we grocery shopped, my seven-year-old stopped, put her hands out and said, “I just had a vision.”

The vision was a cake. “The best cake anyone has ever made.” A cake for the ages. And today, we’re going to share her recipe with you.

You’ll need:

A photo of the ingredients, which will be listed below.

  • Red Velvet cake mix (and the eggs and oil to make the cake
  • Two cans of chocolate fudge frosting
  • Birthday Cake Oreos
  • Mint Oreos
  • That weird Betty Crocker frosting in the aerosol can, in blue
  • Read-made chocolate chip cookie dough
  • Sprinkles (here, she has gone patriotic with red, white, and blue)
  • 2 round cake pans

You don’t need the whipped topping. During the creative process, I convinced her that it was a bad idea, as the cake would have to be refrigerated, and our refrigerator looks like the place where leftovers go to die right now.

Preheat your oven according to the directions on the cake mix you’re using and prepare you pans. We greased and floured the pans as per usual, but I also put down a layer of parchment paper, because I had no idea how her “vision” would play out. Then pat down a layer of cookie dough to cover the bottom of the pan.

A round cake pan with a layer of chocolate chip cookie dough covering the bottom.

Add a single-layer of Birthday Cake Oreos on top of the cookie dough.

Two adorable little hands pushing Oreos into the cookie dough.


Once that step is completed, prepare your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour half of the mix into the cookie dough pan. In your second pan, pour in a thin layer of cake mix, then put a layer of the Mint Oreos on top of the cake batter. Pour the remaining batter into the pan.

Red Velvet cake batter pouring into a pan and covering a layer of Oreos.


Bake the cakes according to the directions on the box. You might need to give it a little more time, just keep checking on it. This was totally an experiment, so we had no idea how long it would have to go in. I think we did thirty minutes. Your mileage may vary.

Once the cakes are out of the oven, give them a while to cool down. When they’re cool, cover the bottom cake (the one with the cookie dough bottom) with frosting. You’re basically using the frosting to glue the top and bottom cakes together, so you could just do the cop, but I went ahead and slapped a crumb coat on the bottom while I was there. Place the other cake on top of the bottom one:

Two cakes stacked on top of each other. The bottom is frosted in chocolate frosting, the top is unfrosted.

Then, slap a crumb coat on the top, and frost the whole thing.

After frosting, garnish the top with the remaining Oreos and anchor them with the blue icing:

A double-layer chocolate cake with Oreos standing on their sides, propped up by mounds of blue frosting. The Oreos form a circle around the outside, with one in the middle.


She chose to alternate the Mint and Birthday Cake Oreos. You may also add the decorative border around the bottom, if you like.

And of course, you cannot forget the sprinkles:

The same cake, this time covered with way, way too many sprinkles.

So, there you have it. My daughter’s “vision.” How did it turn out, eating wise? Well…let’s just say it’s a complex flavor experience. And you can only eat a couple of bites, or the sugar will overwhelm you. But she’s proud of it, and I am, too. Because if you have a creative vision, whether it’s a book or a film or a painting or a cake, you can see it through and achieve your dreams. You just have to believe in yourself.

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  1. Jo

    Your children are beautiful human beings and I am so glad that you share these stories with us.

    August 17, 2016
  2. Sarah

    “a complex flavor experience” was so hilarious, I am laughing while alone in my office, which is always a sure sign of sanity…

    August 17, 2016
  3. Heather (@TorrinPaige)
    Heather (@TorrinPaige)

    “I have had a vision.” Hee! I’m not lucky enough to be a mother myself, but I am lucky enough to be an auntie. My favorite niece (I’m not supposed to have a favorite, I know, but she loves me the most so she’s my favorite) always says, “Don’t worry. I have a plan.” It gives me a feeling of excited foreboding. That’s the best way to describe it. I always try my best to help her with her plan and make it work. More often than not it does, but sometimes? It just doesn’t work out. She is amazing in that when it doesn’t work out – she doesn’t get mad about it. She just tries to figure out what went wrong so that she can fix it during her next plan. I have decided that she will either rule or destroy the world – and I’m okay with either. I think we need to get my niece and your daughter together and just see what happens. Excited foreboding, Jenny. It’s rather thrilling.

    August 17, 2016
  4. Lani

    My six and eight year old children think that cake looks “AMAAAAAZING” and “SO YUMMY” and are demanding we make one ourselves.

    August 17, 2016
  5. Cat

    Your child is a genius. I’m going to try this with white cake, cookie dough, and plain oreos with a chocolate buttercream frosting.

    August 17, 2016
  6. Romana_Noble

    I love this so much. Also, I would do unspeakable things for some cake right about now.

    August 17, 2016
  7. Katharina

    I was reading the whole thing with raised eyebrows, unsure what to expect but it looks amazing! Can we see a picture of the inside of the cake?? I’d love to see how the layers work. If there’s cake left, of course.

    August 17, 2016
  8. Megan M.
    Megan M.

    My 6yo just asked me if I had the ingredients for pineapple upside down cake and then started crying when I said unfortunately, no. Apparently cake is on everyone’s mind lately!

    August 17, 2016
  9. Omg, this cake looks so delicious. I know for my a fact that my kids would devour this cake like nobody’s business. Also, I love the turquoises and red sprinkles (my favorite color combo). I think you would need a good bowl of ice cream to go with this though and now I’m hungry. *sigh*

    August 17, 2016
  10. Jaime

    I second the hope for a shot of the inside once it’s all done! I’m so intrigued!

    August 17, 2016
  11. Indigo

    Your daughter sounds fantastic. 🙂

    August 17, 2016
  12. Pansy Petal
    Pansy Petal

    You are an amazing Mom with a creative daughter! What a fun thing to share. I can so see why one can only take a couple of bites of this wonder. I gained 10 pounds just reading this. 😀 Thank you sharing.

    August 17, 2016
  13. that is a superlative Olympics-watching cake.

    August 17, 2016
  14. JW

    My childhood would have been so different/much more awesome/I’d be so much more awesome if I’d had a mom like you.

    August 17, 2016
  15. You are a fantastic mom and if I didn’t have a just-as-fantastic mom of my own, I’d be asking to be adopted right now.

    August 17, 2016
  16. Neurite

    My own little one is only in the “figuring out how to crawl” stage, and this is making me so excited for the years to come. No idea if his inspirations will involve baking or drawing or dressing up or skateboarding or taking apart our printer or yet another thing I haven’t even thought of. But I can’t wait to see what things he might come up with.

    Your daughter sounds like an amazing, creative spirit. And go you for encouraging and supporting her creativity – and not just in this instance. Because given how confident she apparently felt in proposing her grand vision, you have already taught her that her ideas are valid and that creative visions are there to be embraced, likely in lots of ways throughout her whole life. I tip my hat to you and will take notes to hopefully guide my own parenting.

    And I tip my hat to your daughter, also. I can see 40 from my house and I am still intimidated by baking. I should get over that. Time to bake a cake sometime soon.

    August 18, 2016
  17. Alison

    I have a seven year old daughter, too. Aren’t they the best? Today she wanted to go for a walk at night, after dark. We saw the moon, and some rabbits (there are rabbits in our city) and “moon fairies” (they look like moths). We talked about werewolves and the rabbit in the moon.
    It was such a nice little outing but my first instinct had been to say no, it’s night time, we can’t go for a walk. I’m so glad I didn’t.

    August 18, 2016
  18. Tenko

    That’s beautiful. It reminds me of my childhood culinary experiments.

    August 18, 2016
  19. AnnieB

    I *wish* I had cake visions. That looks delicious and both of you are awesome.

    August 18, 2016
  20. drmaggiemoreau

    How did the baked Oreos turn out? I would think their frosting would melt out into the cake. I would do this cake, but I would crush the Oreos.

    August 18, 2016
  21. mydogspa

    “Complex Flavor Experience” 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I laughed out loud on that one, too. I totally believe it! Looking at the ingredients list, that would not be an unexpected result. BUT: She tried something on her own, which is far more than just making one of the mix cakes. Don’t discourage that, ever.

    And when she’s older, experiment with different chocolate. Who knows, maybe one day she’ll turn into a chocolate snob like my wife:

    Nestle, Hershey’s, German: Let’s just say this chocolate is used when we’re not having any for ourselves. It’s basic stuff.

    Ghirardelli: Our basic go-to chocolate, has a bit of a ‘bite.’

    Costco and Trader Joe’s chocolate chips: Basically Ghirardelli in a different package.

    Valrhona: Good deep chocolate flavor, outstanding in home-made chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream using Sharffenburger cocoa powder. Gawd is that intense, even richer and deeper chocolate flavor than Haagen-Dazs’ Belgian chocolate.

    Sharffenburger: less ‘bite’ than Ghirardelli, good deep flavor but still different than the Valrhona

    Guittard: Least bite, less intense and smoothest of the premium, use when you don’t want that much intensity as the Sharfenburger or Valrhona.

    Callebaut: Got some of this at Whole Foods and tried it in a batch of the afore-mentioned home-made ice cream, didn’t really like it, almost as if it was too mild, not chocolaty-enough.

    Droste: Milder, expensive, we don’t use it hardly at all. OK flavor.

    Cocoa-powders are similar to their solid chocolate flavors, the Ghirardelli is basic with its ‘bite,’ the Sharffenburger and Valrhona are used for special occasions like the chocolate-chocolate chip cookies from the Chocolatier cookbook that has the extra dollop of mollasses: using the Sharffenburger cocoa and Sharffenburger with Valrhona chocolate chips. It’s one very intense chocolate cookie.

    Of course, you can always blend the different brands to obtain different flavors, e.g., find the right ratio of Ghirardelli chips and Guittard chips to find that ‘right’ taste for your home-made chocolate chip cookies. My wife does this for her congo bars: a blend of Ghirardelli and Guittard chocolate chips with the butterscotch chips. (congo bars are basically one giganto chocolate & butterscotch chip cookie using lots of brown sugar that’s baked in one pan and cut into pieces–it’s a favorite finger-size at parties or backup energy when we’re selling my wife’s comic at comic-cons)

    But save that for later, expensive chocolate will eat up the budget and Nestle’s will be good enough for the kids for years yet. Hint: don’t tell them about it so they won’t know the difference. The only trouble is, when you DO know the difference, well, let’s just say they’ll turn into chocolate snobs and refuse to go to fancy restaurants because you can make a better chocolate lava cake than the restaurant can! (True story, we stopped going to Roy’s, a fancy place, because the chocolate lava cake was just not as good as what we make at home with the Sharffenburger. Oh, and Roy’s actually never discovered Vanilla bean ice cream, they used regular vanilla. Bah.)

    So when your Offspring Unit is ready to explore different flavors to expand her chocolate palate, then by all means offer this to her.

    But you can wait a few years yet. It will be much cheaper, and she can explore other taste combinations to her heart’s content. (And PLEASE don’t encourage her to stop experimenting!!)

    August 18, 2016
    • Maggie

      I’m generally pretty happy worth any basic milk chocolate bar, but Palmer’s chocolate is the worst.

      August 18, 2016
  22. Ria

    I loved reading this. Watching kids grow and learn and discover is magical.

    August 18, 2016
  23. Nadia Oliver
    Nadia Oliver

    My best friend is a serious Oreo fanatic. So sharing this post so he can make this. And I want to come live with you and your family. Cause you’re all AWESOME!

    August 18, 2016
  24. My mouth is literally watering. I am bookmarking this page for my birthday and I will convince someone to make this for me.
    And in my opinion, there is no such thing as too much sugar.

    August 18, 2016
  25. candy apple
    candy apple

    It’s beautiful! I’m doing the low-carb thing right now, or else I would try a version. 🙁

    On the plus side of the equation, I only have 20 pounds to go to reach my goal weight. Yay! And then I still probably can’t each much cake. 🙁

    August 19, 2016
  26. Kayenjee

    Just the sprinkles are patriotic? The whole damned thing is patriotic, because ‘murica. I feel like somewhere a bald eagle is smiling.

    August 19, 2016
    • GS

      Yup. Definitely an American thing! I live in Europe, and I looked at that picture and thought… “Well, what have I seen in the supermarket? Right. The eggs. And the oil.” I didn’t even know that there were more than one kind of Oreos (and those were really exotic and super hard to get just a few years ago!).

      August 21, 2016
  27. Teresa B
    Teresa B

    I too want to see a picture of the inside of the cake. That is a great vision. Love the creativity!

    August 19, 2016
  28. Cooking with your kids is one of the best things you can do for them. Life skills, yo.

    I think Wednesday’s cake as presented would put me in a sugar coma, but I’m tempted to scale it back and try one with just one kind of Oreos (just not the Swedish Fish ones).

    August 20, 2016
  29. Cherry

    Tell your daughter that that is the coolest cake ever! (Also, you are a super-cool mom!)

    August 20, 2016
  30. Noisyninja

    I’m definitely trying the cookie bottom on my next cake! Not sure about the oreos, especially the mint, but it still looks amazing!!!!!

    August 27, 2016
  31. fluffy

    In college I once had a dream about reese’s in brownie form. I told the friend who had been eating this awesomeness with dream me, just as like a funny story, but his response was that it sounded awesome and we should try to make it asap. We got peanut butter cookie dough and brownie mix, and learned that dreams really do come true. 😛

    August 28, 2016

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