Tag Archives: celebration cakes

How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How to Make Mini Layer CakesI have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to celebrate this year. Does it feel like the world is crashing down around us and everything is at least vaguely scary? Sure. Is there still stuff to celebrate? You know it.

I mean, all of us are going to have pandemic birthdays this year. Every last dang one. Birthday parties are inadvisable, but cake? That’s non-negotiable. If we can’t have cake in times of both joy and crisis, then what on earth are we even doing here?!How to Make Mini Layer CakesIn that spirit, today’s post is not actually a recipe, but instead is all about how to make a layer cake fit for a pandemic…er, small group. Sure, you could make a single layer of cake for any occasion you have coming up, but some things require a cake that’s stacked up tall, even if it’s on the miniature side. I’ve been making Mini Layer Cakes for years, for everything from birthdays to baby showers to wedding cake practice. It’s super fun and a great way to brighten someone’s day (or your own!) in these rough times.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How Big are Mini Layer Cakes?

The cakes pictured are 4 inches in diameter and 2.5 and 2.75 inches tall, respectively.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How Many People Can Mini Layer Cakes Feed?

Well, it depends. I think of these as being 4-6 servings, but could go up to eight in a pinch. I’m sure some of you are looking at these and thinking they’d only feed two–I suppose it all depends on exactly how much cake you want to eat in one go. Use your judgment.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

What Flavors are Best for Mini Layer Cakes?

The answer here is pretty much anything your heart desires. The cakes pictured are Vanilla Cake + Nutella Buttercream and Chocolate Cake + Strawberry Buttercream; I chose these flavors based solely on what I had on hand.

The general rule for my Mini Layer Cakes is to make roughly half the recipe of any normal 9-inch layer cake. If you need some inspiration, here are some ideas off the top of my head:

Funfetti cake + vanilla buttercream
red velvet cake + cream cheese frosting
carrot cake (without nuts/fruit) + cream cheese frosting
white cake + seasonal fruit or jam + whipped cream frosting
vanilla cake with a little almond extract + mocha buttercream
-vanilla cake + key lime curd + whipped cream frosting
-vanilla cake + lemon syrup + lazy lemon curd + vanilla buttercream with lemon zest
chocolate cake + Oreo Buttercream
peanut butter cake + chocolate frosting
Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}! <—Yes, it works!How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Things You Need to Make a Mini Layer Cake

-a single 9-inch layer of cake
-a half-batch of buttercream
-filling of choice, if not using buttercream
-a serving plate or cardboard round
-a ruler
a 4-inch ring cutter
-a serrated knife for trimming
-an offset icing knife

First things first, you’ve got to have the supplies. This list is pretty similar to what I use for regular layer cakes with a few exceptions. To start, you’ll need one 9-inch layer of cake and a small batch of buttercream…or roughly a half the quantity of most layer cake recipes. I understand that not all cake recipes halve easily (splitting eggs!), so I’ve included halved versions of my vanilla and chocolate cakes at the end of the post.How to Make Mini Layer CakesThe major specialty item here is a 4-inch ring for cutting small layers. Can you just bake your cake in 4-inch pans? Sure, and I have on many occasions, but they tend to produce dramatically domed cakes, and frankly, you’re never going to get as much use out of those pans as you think you will. As a person who has nearly every piece of kitchen equipment anyone could ever need, please trust me on this. It is much easier to bake a single larger layer of cake and then cut it into smaller ones.

With a 4-inch cutter, you’ll be able to get two small layers out of a single 9-inch round layer. If you measure/have a keener eye than I do, you can bake a 9-inch square layer and get four small layers out of it. That way, you can make two mini cakes at once or freeze two of the layers for another occasion. Either way, you’ll have leftover cake scraps, but I don’t see that as a problem.

Don’t have or want a 4-inch ring? Find a 4-inch circular object, trace it onto parchment, then cut out the circle and use it as a stencil.

How to Assemble a Mini Layer Cake

Mini Layer Cake assembly isn’t rocket science, but has its challenges. There is a lot of measuring and evening out of things, but rest assured that you’ll get the hang of it quickly.How to Make Mini Layer CakesStart by using your cutter to cut two small layers out of your larger layer. Make sure that the cutter is as close to the edge of the larger layer as possible, so as to make room for a complete second layer. <—This is important.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesUse your ruler to measure your layers for height. There is a good chance your layers will have an incline, as cakes tend to dome a bit as they bake. Grab your serrated knife and even out the top of one layer. Make sure it’s even (or very close) and measure it again—this how tall you want your other layer to be. Repeat that process to even out that second layer, until they’re identical in height (or very close). Mine are all about an inch tall.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesNext up, stacking. Swipe a tiny bit of buttercream on your plate or cardboard round, then place one of your layers on top. If you’re a messy froster like me, tuck bits of parchment under the cake all the way around for clean edges. Frost the top of your layer, then stack the second layer on top and press down lightly to adhere.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesFrom here, frost as normal. For me, that means a very light crumb coat (thin layer of buttercream), a 20 minute chill, then a thicker layer of buttercream, piping and decor.

Keep in mind that Mini Layer Cakes are smaller and lighter-weight than what most of us are used to, and therefore cannot take as much physical pressure as a larger cake, particularly when frosting around the sides. Be gentle with the cake and with yourself, and remember that there is no shame in having to move layers back into place and frost over flaws. Buttercream is a surprisingly forgiving medium.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesAt this point you can serve your cake. I, however, like to let mine sit for an hour or two ahead of serving, just to let everything adhere nicely. This isn’t strictly necessary, but I find it makes slicing easier and prettier. If you’re refrigerating your cake, make sure to let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer Cakes

How to Transport a Mini Layer Cake

If you’re making a Mini Layer Cake (or any layer cake), chances are you have to take it to a celebrant or they have to pick it up. In more normal times, I box and transport cakes all over NYC. The most important thing in this process is to make sure your cake fits the box beforehand—this is why I have a ruler in my kitchen. My cake boxes are 3-inches tall, so the cardboard round, both layers of cake and any filling and frosting need to be shorter than that when stacked.How to Make Mini Layer CakesOther important things? Keep your box as level as possible. I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping them level while walking and riding in cars and on the subway. It’s just a matter of remembering that pretty much everything (your body, a car seat, etc.) has a natural slope, and then carrying/positioning your box in a way to counterbalance that. Also, remember that cold cakes are easier to transport. When delivering cakes, I refrigerate them as soon as I’m done assembling, and then let them come back to room temp while en route to wherever I’m going.

Please know that I have shown up a few times with cakes that did not look the way they did when I left the house. This is a hazard of the job–rest assured that ugly cake is still delicious. If you make somebody a cake and they don’t like it because it’s a little disheveled, take it back. You don’t need that negativity.

And on that note, if you are inspired to make a Mini Layer Cake or two and need a place for them to go, I’m gladly accepting donations.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes
Are there any Mini Layer Cake tutorials you’d like to see? Thinking of doing one for tiered cakes (wedding cake). Let me know what you think in the comments.How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Vanilla Cake {Half Recipe}
makes 1 9-inch layer or enough for 1 mini layer cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 batch Nutella Buttercream or other buttercream

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9-inch round or square pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar and light brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating completely after each addition. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk. Add remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in its pan for fifteen minutes. Run a small thin knife around the edge of the pans and invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off and discard parchment.

For a Mini Layer Cake, follow instructions detailed in the post above. Fill and frost with Nutella Buttercream or other buttercream.

Chocolate Cake {Half Recipe}
makes 1 9-inch layer or enough for 1 mini layer cake

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso granules (optional, but recommended)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
1 batch Strawberry Buttercream or other buttercream

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 9-inch round or square pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso granules, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and egg, followed by vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the boiling water. Whisk in remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining boiling water.

Pour batter into the pans. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cake cool in pan for fifteen minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Peel off and discard parchment.

For a Mini Layer Cake, follow instructions detailed in the post above. Fill and frost with Strawberry Buttercream or other buttercream.

How to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer CakesHow to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeI had the idea for this Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake after making Double Funfetti Crumb Cake last year and have just been waiting for the right occasion to make it. Why, you may wonder, is today the right day for this cake? Because May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day!Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeGenerally speaking, I’m not a big celebrator of food holidays, but I seem to always remember Pi Day, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day, and Chocolate Chip Day. While these are all silly occasions, I feel like this is *the* time for silly occasions. After all, it’s the 64th day of lockdown here in NYC—Chocolate Chip Day and especially this Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake have never been more necessary.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeI mean, look at that pillowy soft chocolate chip cake! It’s buttery, tight-crumbed, and super moist thanks to half a cup of sour cream. It’s almost enough to restore my hope for the future.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeOh, and speaking of restoring hope in things, let’s discuss the crispy chocolate chip cookie crumb topping! It’s the real star of this show. Think streusel, but instead of cinnamon there’s a bunch of brown sugar and chocolate chips in the mix—it’s actual perfection.

If you want to get fancy, you could brown the butter in the crumb topping. I’m gonna do that next time as part of that hope in the future thing.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeIf you want perfectly clean slices and have slightly more patience than I do, you can wait til the cake has cooled completely before divvying it up. I ceased having extra patience 42 days ago, so the pictured slice is a little scraggly…but as a perk, the chocolate chips are still soft. I will choose melty chocolate over aesthetics any day, anytime. But, like, especially today and right now. The future can wait while I finish my slice of cake.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeHappy Chocolate Chip Day, dear readers.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10-12 servings

Chocolate Chip Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips

Cake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a springform pan. Set aside.

Make the crumb topping. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form. Stir in miniature chocolate chips. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg, sour cream and vanilla; mixture may be a bit lumpy. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the milk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining milk. Use a silicone spatula (or wooden spoon) to fold in miniature chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Use your fingers to evenly distribute crumb over the top. Tap full pan a few times on the countertop to release any large air bubbles. Bake cake for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Cake may be served warm or room temperature. If you’d like, let the cake cool completely, invert it and remove the parchment before placing on a serving platter. Slice and serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeChocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeChocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeI try very hard to keep things simple around here. Recipes, techniques, flavors, everything. That doesn’t mean super easy or uncomplicated—just not over-complicated. No more steps or ingredients than absolutely necessary, you know?Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeThat said, sometimes a simple recipe like this Vanilla Bean Bundt requires several tries, each with a different technique or ingredient, all resulting in…excellent cakes. Really.

You know what’s not simple? Deciding which of those cakes to post.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeEach one began with the same basic recipe that I’ve used for my Orange Cardamom Cake, Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes, and Marble Bundt, but with vanilla bean, of course. My options were:

  1. a cake with one vanilla bean in the batter, one vanilla bean in the icing, and a vanilla syrup made from the empty pods painted on.
  2. a cake with two vanilla beans in the batter and one in the icing. No syrup.
  3. a cake and icing made with vanilla bean paste instead of the real deal. No syrup.

I cannot overstate how delicious all of them were—buttery and bursting with vanilla bean flavor! And those signature specks, of course.

If I felt like I could get away with posting three Vanilla Bean Bundt recipes, I would. Faced with making a decision however, I took into account the flavor, aesthetics, ease and cost of each one, and the winner just barely emerged.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeThe cake I love the most is #1, so it’s the one I’ve posted below. The seeds of one vanilla bean are whirled into the batter, and the leftover pod is used to make a syrup that is brushed onto the baked cake before icing is poured over the top. The syrup is the element that makes all the difference here—it keeps the cake from being even the slightest bit crumbly, gives it a subtle glossiness, and makes it so that you can smell its dreamy vanilla aroma within a 6 foot radius. Yes, really!Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeI also like that the pods in the recipe don’t go to waste. I’ve seen other bakers suggest using empty vanilla pods to make vanilla sugar, but how much vanilla sugar does anyone actually use? You could use them to make extract, I suppose, but that takes weeks or months. This way at least one of the pods is used directly in the cake. As for the second, let me know what you do with leftover vanilla pods. I’m interested!Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeFor those of you wondering about the cost of this whole operation, I won’t lie to you: vanilla bean anything is pricey. I buy my vanilla beans at Costco and Sahadi’s, and they run about $6 apiece. You could use two tablespoons of vanilla bean paste (1 per pod) instead, but the paste is about $35 upfront. A single jar contains enough to make this cake four times though, so it’s worth the investment. Oh, and this is a warning that the dark color of the vanilla bean paste will affect the aesthetic outcome of the cake, but only slightly. It will still be absurdly delicious, as all vanilla bean things are.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeKeep it simple, y’all.Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
makes one 10-cup capacity bundt

Cake:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature

Simple Syrup:
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 scraped/empty vanilla pod

Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap.

Set the cooled cake, still on the rack, over a rimmed baking sheet. Make the simple syrup. Combine water, sugar, and scraped vanilla pod in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

Use a pastry brush to paint syrup all over the cake. Continue brushing until you’ve used all the glaze. Some will run off onto the rimmed baking sheet—that is okay. Let cake sit for 30 minutes to absorb the syrup.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla seeds and salt. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the teaspoon up to 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 2 tablespoon increments. Pour over cake. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Vanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt CakeVanilla Bean Bundt Cake

Peanut Butter Mousse Cake {Three Year Anniversary!}

E2 Bakes is turning three on Sunday!Peanut Butter Mousse CakeIn years past, I would take this time to go on about the number of posts/recipes I’ve written (332/322, if you care about that sort of thing) and how I had no idea that the blog would go on this long. I have a tendency toward sentimentality and I’m working on reining it in, but I’m not perfect yet…so, um, I’ll be brief. And then we’ll talk about Peanut Butter Mousse Cake.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeThis blog is the thing of which I am proudest. I spend more time and energy working on content for this site than basically anything else, but it has been worth every late night and working weekend. I hope to continue baking and writing here for years to come.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeI blog because I love it, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without y’all. Thank you for reading, commenting, providing encouragement and feedback, and making my recipes in your own kitchens!Peanut Butter Mousse CakeThis community has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year. For those of you who are new around here, welcome! I’m glad you’re here.

For those who have been here since the beginning, thank you for sticking with me. Sorry about all those bad photos in the early days 🙂 Peanut Butter Mousse CakeAs for the future, lot of exciting things are coming in year four! Recipes, of course, but also bigger, better, blog-altering things. I can’t say much now, but know that good things are happening and I’m psyched to share them with you soon ❤ Peanut Butter Mousse CakeFor now though, let’s talk about Peanut Butter Mousse Cake. It’s the peanut butteriest peanut butter cake I’ve ever had. So. freaking. good!Peanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakeIt starts with a flourless peanut butter cake. This super-easy cake comes together with just five ingredients, one bowl, and a whisk. It’s rich and dense—since it relies on peanut butter and eggs for texture and structure, it’s like a cross between a cake, cookie, and a blondie. YUM.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeAfter the cake is baked and cooled, it’s topped with a thick layer of creamy peanut butter mousse. If this recipe looks familiar, that’s because it is—it’s the filling from my No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie 🙂Peanut Butter Mousse CakeSpread the mousse layer on and chill the cake until everything is firm.Peanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakeTop it with a thick layer of whipped cream. Yaaaaaaas.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeDon’t forget the peanut butter magic shell and honey roasted peanuts.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeHow gorgeous is that?! I love the triple-layered look.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeAnd the creamy, dreamy peanut butter flavor.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeThis cake is shockingly simple to make (don’t let the length of the recipe scare you away!) and perfect for nearly any occasion…Peanut Butter Mousse Cake
…including very silly ones like this blog’s anniversary.Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Peanut Butter Mousse Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Flourless Peanut Butter Cake:
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Mousse:
3/4 cup heavy cream, very cold
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Peanut Butter Magic Shell*:
1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural)
1-2 tablespoons confectioners sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (preferably refined)
1 teaspoon honey

Garnish:
2 tablespoons honey roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the flourless peanut butter cake. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together peanut butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter 10 times to release any large air bubbles (there may be a lot).

Bake 25-27 minutes, or until puffy and no longer wet-looking. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a thin flexible knife around the edge, but do not remove from the pan.

Make the peanut butter mousse. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat peanut butter, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla until combined and fluffy. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Working in 2 installments, carefully fold in remaining whipped cream until combined.

Pile the mousse on top of the cooled cake (still in the pan). Spread it into an even layer and tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. Stick a layer of plastic wrap to the surface of the mousse. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or freeze for 1 hour).

Remove cake from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap. Run a thin, flexible knife dipped in warm water around the edge of the pan before removing the springform.

Make the whipped cream. Combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip the mixture on low for 30 seconds before whipping on high for 1-2 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Pile whipped cream onto the cake before spreading it into an even layer. Use a knife dipped in warm water to smooth the outer edge of the cake. Refrigerate cake (uncovered) while you make the peanut butter magic shell.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together peanut butter, 1 or 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar (based on your desired level of sweetness), coconut oil, and honey. Microwave on high in 20 second increments, whisking in between, until mixture is smooth and drizzle-able. Set aside.

Chop all or some of the honey roasted peanuts.

Remove cake from the refrigerator. Pour/drizzle some of the peanut butter magic shell over the top, as desired. Scatter on honey roasted peanuts. Let shell set for a few minutes.

Serve cake immediately or refrigerate. For clean slices, dip the knife in warm water and wipe dry between cuts.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:

This will make more peanut butter magic shell than you need, but leftovers may be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator. This makes excellent ice cream topping. Reheat before using.
Peanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse Cake

M&Ms Surprise Cake

M&Ms Surprise CakeI posted pictures of a big M&Ms-stuffed chocolate cake on my social media last week and y’all went crazy for it!M&Ms Surprise CakeI get it—chocolate cake + buttercream + M&Ms inside + more M&Ms on top = MAGIC.M&Ms Surprise CakeThat original cake was for a friend and not intended for the blog, but given the response, I thought you might like to know how to make your own!M&Ms Surprise CakeFirst things first. You’re going to need four 9-inch round layers of chocolate cake. This one is a super easy no-mixer recipe that makes four soft, moist, perfect layers. You may recognize this recipe from my my Chocolate Cake with Malted Chocolate Buttercream—it’s exactly the same except that I scaled it up by 50%.M&Ms Surprise CakePlace one of the layers on a serving plate or your favorite of all your cakestands. Spread a little frosting on top.M&Ms Surprise CakeTake two of the layers and punch out holes in the centers. I use a 6-inch ring for this, but you can use a wide-mouthed glass or even just a paring knife and a circle of parchment. Layer those on top of that bottom round, frosting between and on top.M&Ms Surprise CakeAt this point, you’ll have a three layer cake with a hole in it. That’s where the surprise M&Ms are going to go ❤Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the “walls.” This will help keep the moist cake from melting the color off the M&Ms too quickly. And speaking of M&Ms…M&Ms Surprise CakeM&Ms Surprise Cake…pour in almost 2 cups of them ❤ ❤ ❤M&Ms Surprise CakeM&Ms Surprise CakePlace your last intact layer of cake on top, effectively hiding all that surprise candy. Frost the cake. For a sort-of photo tutorial on that, see last week’s Cinnamon Buttercream post.M&Ms Surprise CakeM&Ms Surprise CakeI decorated the top with even more M&Ms and used the last of the frosting to pipe a border. The dollops are all different sizes and I love it!M&Ms Surprise CakeM&Ms Surprise CakeM&Ms Surprise CakeM&Ms Surprise Cake

Gather all your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers—really, anyone will do. Get them all around the table so they can see this amazing thing you’ve made in all it’s rainbow candy avalanche glory. This cake is delicious—with that much chocolate and butter, it has to be—but the magic is in the presentation.M&Ms Surprise CakeThen again, I was alone when I sliced this sucker open and it was still pretty damn magical. But I also took 200+ photos of it for you, so I suppose you were practically there.M&Ms Surprise Cake

M&Ms Surprise Cake
makes 1 large 9-inch round cake

Cake:
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup + 2 Tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strong, hot coffee

Chocolate Buttercream:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
5 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2-2/3 cup heavy cream

For Assembly:
1 3/4 cups M&Ms candy, plus more for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease 4 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl to sift together flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and eggs, followed by vanilla, buttermilk, and coffee. Whisk in dry ingredients in three installments, just until combined. Divide batter evenly among the pans. Tap full pans on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pans for ten minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edges. Invert cakes onto cooling racks and allow to cool to room temperature.

Make the chocolate buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of heavy cream, until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble cake. Place one round on a serving plate and top with a layer of frosting. Set aside.

Use a 4-6 inch cutter (or a wide-mouthed cup or jar) to cut the centers out of two layers. Set centers aside for another use. Place one cut-out layer on the bottom layer and top with a layer of frosting. Place the other cut-out layer on top and frost. Coat the inside of the hole with a thin layer of frosting.

Fill the hole in the cake layers with M&Ms. Top with the last (fully-intact) layer of cake. Frost cake as desired. Decorate with more M&Ms, as desired.

Layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. M&Ms may lose their color over long periods of time.M&Ms Surprise Cake