Last year, I spent over 2 hours decorating my daughter Ellie’s birthday cake. This year, I did it in 20 minutes.
I was inspired to make this cake by the blog Texas Monkey. Check out her original post because in addition to this cake, she has photos of several similar, but completely different cakes that use the same technique. A cake bordered by a cookie or candy and filled to the top with something delicious and colorful can be used for many occasions for children and adults alike.
More than one of my friends asked me if there was actually any cake in this cake and there was. I used my “go to” recipe for vanilla layer cake and a vanilla buttercream frosting almost exactly like this one except that I don’t sift my powdered sugar and I use about 5 to 5 1/2 cups of it. You can use whatever cake flavors you like. You can even use a box mix for the cake, but I insist that you make your own frosting. Canned frosting tastes like yuck.
I baked the cake into two 8-inch layers. When they were completely cool, I sawed off the “dome” that forms on most layer cakes so that the cakes were perfectly flat on the top and bottom. TIP: I sandwiched leftover frosting between the two domes of cake to make an enormous 8-inch whoopie pie for dessert the night before the party. Not very pretty, yet almost as popular as the cake itself…almost.
I put a dollop of frosting on the serving plate to glue down the first layer and covered the edge of the serving plate with wax paper. Then I covered all that with one perfectly flat layer of cake. I put a layer of frosting on the first layer of cake then covered that with the other layer of perfectly flat cake. Next, I frosted all around with most of the remaining frosting reserving about 3/4 of a cup for adding the M&Ms around the base.
NOTE: This is a really good tutorial on how to do a simple frosting job on a cake. Simple is all you need for this cake because the Kit Kats and M&Ms hide any imperfections in the frosting.
To make the edge, I cut full-size Kit Kats into 2-bar segments. It is very important to use full size Kit Kats, NOT the snack size because the snack size isn’t tall enough to form a container for the M&Ms on the top. I pressed the Kit Kats to the side of the cake to cover all around. It took just less than 12 packages of Kit Kats to accomplish this.
Next, I tied a pretty ribbon around the whole thing. The ribbon serves a double purpose as a pretty decoration that also ensures that the Kit Kats don’t budge.
The tall end of the Kit Kats created a well at the top of the cake that Ellie and I filled with M&Ms. Ellie particularly enjoyed this part although she took it quite seriously.
When all of the frosting is obscured by colorful M&Ms, I pulled out the wax paper, dotted frosting all around the ridges of the cake, and topped each dot with an M&M. If you are anal retentive like me, you might make sure that the color pattern repeats all around. That’s not crazy is it?
Anyway, when the last M&M is placed you are done.
Store the cake at room temperature for up to 24 hours. If you must refrigerate it (which I do not recommend), let it rest at room temperature for several hours before serving. Cakes with a lot of butter are dry when cold. Room temperature buttery cake is moist and delicious.
The cake cuts quite easily although you should be prepared for a little M&M avalanche. What a great problem to have, right?
This cake served about 14 people. When you do go to slice it, the Kit Kat segments make a nice even measurement of how big your pieces are. Enjoy!