This Brown Butter Pumpkin & Chocolate Oreo Layer Cake is made up of a moist chocolate layer sandwiched between two layers of brown butter pumpkin cake dotted with flecks of Oreo. The cake is then topped with a black cocoa cream cheese frosting enhanced with the nutty flavor of brown butter, then coated with Oreo cookie crumbs. The cookie crumbs give this Oreo Layer Cake its lush velvety appearance and is sure to leave your guests mesmerized with delight.
Well. . .the holiday season is upon us and I have been frantically dreaming up all kinds of cakes and cookies for you. As a matter of fact, I have so many cakes and cookies floating around in my head that I have to admit that my baking schedule may be a wee bit too over ambitious. Then again. . . when is it not?While you might be well aware of my love affair with any and everything sweet and decadent, you might not know of my polar opposite passion – fitness. Exercise really is how I stay grounded and conquer the effects of stress. Which. . .let’s face it, the hustle and bustle of the holidays has the tendency to bestow truckloads of stress upon us. That makes staying active all the more important this time of year.
So in between batches of pretty, little cookies and cakes, I found myself dragging my nearly always weary body to the neat and tidy gym or the gritty and hardcore crossfit box (the term that is used for a crossfit gym because it usually is in a nondescript warehouse). Well. . . that was until one chilly night about a month ago.
You see, I was on the first run of the workout. I always get a bit nervous about these runs because it’s dark outside and the area we run in is not exactly the best lit. And to make matters worse, it’s surrounded by warehouses, uneven pavement, lots of gravel and sharp, rusty metal pieces. It’s also notorious for rats and other such rodents. . .which I just so happen to have a fear of.So, the group tears out of the box and I hear the guy in front of me telling the girl next to him about some rat he saw scurrying towards the fence on a previous run. “Oh great!!! Way to start this run out on a positive note”, I thought. After hearing that, I made it my mission to line up behind my friend Emily. . .that way if any rats decided to dart out, she would be the first in line to deal with their beady eyed wrath (I’m a good friend, aren’t I?).We were trucking along on our run, shimming down a narrow sidewalk, dodging crushed orange construction cones, shrapnel and the like. Just ahead was the last corner we needed to take before we headed back to the box. I was keeping a close eye on Emily so I would’n go flying into her. Remember, this is crossfit. . .we don’t jog! We run! And it’s not just any run. It’s a “you have a giant hunk of meat attached to your back and a sleuth of grizzly bears barreling after you” type of run.I was starting to mentally prepare for the next set of endurance exercises we were about to embark on when my foot was engulfed by buckled pavement. The next thing I knew I was tumbling towards the concrete desperately trying to keep my head up so that it too wouldn’t come crashing down.
My right hand was the first to hit the pavement. Then my shoulder. The next thing I knew. . . .krrrrrrrrrr. . . I was body surfing across the pavement with such velocity I was hoping and praying I wouldn’t slide right into the busy street ahead (or mow Emily over for that matter). I could feel all the gravel and other bits littering the sidewalk scraping up against my skin.
“Oh my gawwwd!! Are you alright?” Emily shrieks. She stops and helps peel my shocked body up off the concrete. “I think so.” Not quite sure what exactly had just gone down. . . well other than myself. All I knew was nearly every body part was now throbbing and I had huge chunks of skin missing from my hands.
“I think I am going to pass out”, I tell Emily. She gets a panicked look on her face.We get back to the box and I try my best to clean myself up and temporarily bandage my wounds. I finish what I can of the workout. . .mostly as a distraction while I wait for the Mr. to finish up. All I can say is I sure was glad fate had led me to putting on that long sleeve shirt that now was littered with tears and holes.
I’m now in physical therapy trying to heal my wrist and elbow. Oh. . .and of course I am eating cake. . .and lots of it. Because really, what could be a better distraction then cake? Two pieces of cake perhaps?If you have browsed around The Road to Honey in the past, you might have noticed a cake that looks suspiciously familiar to this beauty (See it HERE). No, you are not going cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
Two years ago, a Chocolate & Pumpkin Oreo Layer Cake premiered on The Road to Honey. It was a big hit back then and has continued to be a Road to Honey favorite since. But there is one problem. Oreo has decided to keep the Pumpkin Spice Oreos all to themselves and they have not brought these fall inspired cookies back since. Given this, I wanted to reinvent this Oreo Layer Cake using the original Oreos just to show you that it could be just as irresistible as the original.Just like the original, this Oreo Layer Cake starts with a super moist chocolate layer cake sandwiched between two decadent brown butter pumpkin layers. Given I wanted to be able to see the gorgeous, little flecks of dark cookie, I decided to put the chopped up Oreos in the pumpkin layers. The contrast really does give these layers a fun speckled appearance, doesn’t it?
A brown butter cream cheese frosting sprinkled with more chopped up Oreos separates the layers and also lends another textural element to this Oreo Layer Cake. The whole divine thing is then surrounded by a decadent layer of Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting. Now you could replace the Black Cocoa with your standard run of the mill unsweetened cocoa powder if you so choose, but why would you want to miss out on the intense decadence that is all things black cocoa? The intense color that the black cocoa brings to the frosting also helps the cookie crumbs blend in better with the cake.
Now if your frosting skills are anything but stellar, you are going to love this next step which involves pressing the cookie crumbs into the frosting. It really does give the cake a lush, velvet-like, black tie affair appearance. It’s a true showstopper. And the best part. . . no skills needed, just a little patience.
So, let’s grab a slice of cake and a stress ball for a double dose of therapy.
P.S.S. If you enjoyed your time at The Road to Honey, I would love for you to join me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest . In addition, you can receive updates from The Road to Honey directly to your inbox by entering your e-mail address in the box in the top right corner. See you soon.
You might also enjoy these tasty treats from The Road to Honey (click for recipes):
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, (firmly packed)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 10-12 Oreo cookies, cut into pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tbsp black cocoa
- 24 Oreo cookies
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper & butter & flour them.
To make the brown butter: Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure the butter browns evenly. You will cook until the butter takes on a nutty aroma & turns a toasty brown color. Remove the butter from the heat & transfer it & the milk solids (brown bits that settled on the bottom during cooking) to a heat-proof bowl. Set aside & let cool for 15 minutes (the butter still should be melted). If this is your first time browning butter, you can read more about it HERE.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through cloves) in a medium sized bowl.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients (pumpkin puree through buttermilk) & the brown butter until well blended.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients & stir until just combined.
Fold in the chopped Oreos.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove & cool completely on a wire rack.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Line one 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper & butter & flour it.
Combine first 7 ingredients (sugar through salt) in a large bowl. Mix well.
Combine the wet ingredients (buttermilk through vanilla extract) in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & mix until just combined. Don’t overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan & bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove & completely cool on a wire rack.
To Make the Brown Butter: Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure the butter browns evenly. You will cook until the butter takes on a nutty aroma & turns a toasty brown color.
Remove the butter from the heat & transfer it & the milk solids (brown bits that settled on the bottom during cooking) to a heat-proof bowl.
Allow the browned milk solids to settle to the bottom of the bowl, then place the bowl in the freezer.
Chill until just firm (15-20 minutes).
Chop 6 of the Oreos into pieces.
Carefully scrape the butter from the bowl, taking care to leave the browned milk solids in the bowl. Discard the solids.
Meanwhile, sift the confectioners sugar into a medium sized bowl.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the brown butter, cream cheese, & brown sugar.
Beat on medium high until the brown sugar has dissolved & the frosting takes on a light color (about 2 minutes).
Gradually beat in the confectioners sugar until the frosting is light & fluffy. Note: You will beat in the black cocoa separately below.
Beat in the vanilla until combined.
Place one round of cake on a cake plate & spread a layer of frosting on top of it.
Sprinkle half of the chopped Oreos on top & press into the frosting.
Place a second cake round on top of the first & spread frosting on top of it. Press the remaining Oreos into the frosting.
Place the final cake round on top.
Beat the black cocoa into the remaining frosting.
Frost the rest of the cake.
Pulse 18 Oreos in a food processor. Continue pulsing until they form a fine crumb.
Press the crumbs into the top & sides of the cake. To make this easier, I use a butter knife to scoop up the crumbs & gently press them into the cake.
I used Oreo cookies but you could use any cookie that you like. Keep in mind that you will want to use a cookie that contrast with the color of the cake.