Over the last year I have taken all four of the Wilton cake decorating courses. I love to make sugar flowers, make cupcakes and cakepops – all the stuff that make people happy and fat. It’s my release; my creative outlet.
My pal Shari posted a picture on my Facebook wall this week of a cake with M&Ms all over it, inviting me to make it. (She knows I’m addicted to M&Ms – so much so I simply can’t have them around me at all. I can’t be trusted.) And as it was Max’s birthday, I knew he wouldn’t want a cake with sugar flowers all over it, so I asked if he’d like that one. “Sure” is about as enthusiastic a response as you’ll get from a turning-18-year-old teen, so that was all the push I needed to make it. Little did I know that:
b. It would be the cake that got the biggest public reaction I’ve ever had.
c. I would have to blog the instructions the day after its debut due to the number of requests.
1. Bake a cake. Seriously, any cake. Your favourite cake mix is fine. I recommend a chocolate cake (this whole thing is kinda themed chocolate). Tips: If the cake mix has oil in it, put it on a paper towel when cool, so the oil is drawn through and doesn’t over-moisten the cake when cold. Also, this is best if made in two 8in round pans. In the US a single mix is enough. In Australia, you’ll likely need two mixes. (I used the Kroger $1 cake mix, devils food cake. Seriously. You can use any cake mix or your own recipe.)
2. Trim the cake so that it’s flat. Then ensure when you stack the two cakes on top of each other, they are the right height less an inch or two from the length of the KitKats. This is actually pretty easy. I use my Wilton cake leveller, which was under $10 and is a quick and easy way to level the cake. But of course a large knife, flat palm and steady hand will do perfectly well.
3. With your favourite buttercream (here’s an Australian recipe. I wouldn’t recommend trying cream cheese frosting due to the need for some reliable stiffness to stick the decorations on with), fill the middle of the cake, and attach the top and bottom. Then lavishly frost the entire cake. (Irony: Your cake will probably ice up perfectly because nobody will see it 😉 That said, if you happen to get some crumbs in the frosting it won’t matter because you’ll be covering it anyway.)
4. You will need about 6 packets of King Size Kit Kats. (Keep them in the fridge until you use them, so the chocolate is more resistant to your touch.) Snap them into pairs and place them around the sides of the cake, pushing them into the frosting. Tie a long piece of ribbon in a bow around the cake. The ribbon provides additional support to the structure as well as being decorative.
5. Scatter a good proportion of M&Ms across the top of the cake (I used the “5 on the cake, 2 in the mouth” technique).
6. With a small bit of frosting, attach alternative colours of M&Ms to the bottom of each KitKat around the cake.
Final Tips: Cake is best decorated and eaten on same day – the buttercream tends to soften the KitKat wafers a little bit if left overnight. Putting the KitKats in pairs around the edge of the cake is a great way of guiding the cutting of the cake. It also makes it very easy to cut the cake, and unlike other treat cakes, everyone will get at least two KitKat fingers, and a handful of M&Ms.