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The other night some friends and I ordered a thousand layer cake for dessert in a restaurant. Sadly, the cake had only ten layers, just 1% of what we ordered.

We started talking about whether, with only commonly-available ingredients and kitchen appliances, there was a feasible way to actually construct a thousand layer cake. We figured out that if you could make a very thin crepe, you could make one thousand layers by folding it in half ten times. That, unfortunately, doesn't seem like it would work - it's virtually impossible to fold paper or aluminum foil this many times, so I doubt a crepe would survive. Plus, it would end up being very narrow and very tall.

We also thought about making something out of phyllo dough, but we weren't sure whether we would have any way to guarantee that the end result actually had one thousand layers or whether those layers would be distinct.

Assuming you have a typically-equipped, normally-stocked kitchen and a six-hour time limit, is there a feasible technique for producing a cake that is guaranteed to have at least one thousand distinct layers?

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    What do you count as a 'layer'? 10 cake layers could be counted as 20 layers (if you count frosting/filling layers separately). And there are 'crepe cakes' where you stack up ~20-25 crepes w/ some filling in between. (sometimes called 'mille crepe cake', which would get us back to the 'thousand') – Joe Aug 13 '15 at 19:07
  • @Joe I'm okay counting filling as a layer. For me, a layer is just something that logically is divided from what's above and below it. – templatetypedef Aug 13 '15 at 21:43
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    puff pastry technique is certainly giving good hints there: double already layered material on top of itself... I hope you are okay with 24 extra layers (ten iterations will end you with a 1024 layer cake)? – rackandboneman Nov 15 '15 at 12:11
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I don't know what kind of thousand layer cake you had in the restaurant but only ten layers don't sound like it was a Mille-feuille ("a thousand leaves"). A Mille-feuille is a french pastry that consists of three layers of puff pastry, alternating with two layers of pastry cream. That's basically the same thing as your suggestion with phyllo dough.

Assuming that one layer of puff pastry has about 80 layers, you "only" need to stack about 12 or 13 layers puff pastry (puff pastry is something ordinary in the groceries store, so you don't even have to make your own puff pastry). If you put some (butter) cream / custard / jam / whatever between each layer 12 layers should be sufficent. Voilà! A real Mille-feuille :) It's ~4 times taller than a regular Mille-feuille but certainly lower than 1000 or 500 stacked crêpes.

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