So I know that I haven't done a lot lately but I have quite a few projects coming up. This cake was for my daughter's 9th birthday. I wanted a cake that was fairly easy because I've been trying to find some good scratch recipes. So my main focus was on the cake itself, rather than how I was decorating it. This cake is great too, because anyone could do it. For a simpler version just do the 8 inch bottom tier and cover the entire top with M&M's. Easy peasy.
The top tier was made from the Hershey's recipe, Perfectly Chocolate Cake. I will share this recipe because I absolutely LOVE it!! I've found a scratch chocolate cake that I will use forever!! It's light and moist and delish. It's also very easy to work with. It's everything I've been looking for in a scratch recipe. Yay!!!
"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-in. round pans (I used 6 inch pans for the top tier of this cake and made cupcakes with the leftovers). Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on med. speed 2 min. Stir in boiling water. (batter will be very thin) Pour into pans.
Bake 30-35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
I used a Hershey's buttercream recipe for the frosting too. This frosting was heavenly but wouldn't be good for traditional cake decorating. It's too goopy for real decorating and doesn't hold it's form well. I used it anyway because I love how it tastes, and I knew I'd just be covering the whole cake up anyway.
"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 c. butter or margarine
2/3 c. cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on med. speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups.
I tripled the recipe for the two tiers, but could have gotten away with just doubling it.
The bottom tier was a vanilla cake I found on the bakerella blog. It was very good but I'm not posting the recipe because I probably won't use it again. It tasted great, but it was very heavy and dense. It was moist, but the kids just didn't like the texture well. So I'd say it's good for adults, but not the keeper recipe I was hoping for. In case you are interested, here is where I found the recipe: http://www.bakerella.com/finally-i-found-it/
The bottom tier was an 8 inch tier.
After the cakes were baked I covered a cake board and a 7 inch cardboard circle with foil.
Then I assembled the bottom tier. I put a bit of frosting on the board to hold the cake and started alternating cakes and frosting.
Once all three tiers were assembled, I covered the whole cake in frosting and put it in the fridge.
I thought it would be a nice change to add some fresh strawberries to the chocolate tier, so I cut some up.
Then I started assembling the chocolate tier. I leveled the cakes (incidentally, I made the three tiered layers just under 1 inch thick and the two tiered layers 1 1/2 inches thick).
I used Kit Kat candy bars on the sides. The 8 inch tier took 10 full size bars. I bought these king size packages that came with 3 full sized bars. The 6 inch tier took 7 full size bars.
Because I had refridgerated the cakes before I decorated them, I had to pipe a bit of frosting on the cold cake so the candy would stick. Then I just went around the cake and placed on the Kit Kats. I then used a ribbon to tighten them up a bit and hold them into place. I wouldn't skip the rippon as it really helps keep it all in place.
Because I was stacking cakes, I used a plastic rod to hold the weight of the second cake. I intentionally kept the cake just over three inches high so there was room for the m&m's to cover the top portions.
Because this frosting was so sticky, I was afraid that the cakeboard from the top tier would bring the frosting up with it when I took the cake apart to cut so I did something with this cake that I've never done before. I placed a small circle of parchment paper between the tiers before I stacked them.
I stacked the cakes and they were ready for the finishing touches.
It was a huge success and of course the kids LOVED it! Who wouldn't? The candy on the cake added a nice touch.