As promised, here’s a quick post about Poppy’s third birthday cake.
I baked two chocolate bundt cakes, using my dad’s favorite chocolate cake recipe (see below). After they cooled, I positioned them side-by-side on a 13×19 cake board. Looking down on the cakes, I trimmed chunks of cake out of the left sides of both of them, opening them up to look like the number three. To make the middle part smooth, I trimmed them flat and in half, parallel to the bottom/top of the cake board so that the middle part was the same thickness as the top and bottom of the three.
Using my favorite chocolate frosting recipe (see also below), I quickly and imperfectly frosted the cake. Because you will be covering every inch of it, there’s no need to smooth it out very much. The biggest thing you want to focus on is coating the cake with a thick enough layer of frosting that the M&M’s will stick well, keeping in mind that a bundt cake has dips and points that affect the thickness.
Once you’ve frosted the cake, begin placing the M&M’s right away. This part will go smoother and more easily if you work quickly before the frosting dries. Therefore you’ll want to have your M&M’s organized beforehand. I imagined that simply dumping the candies into a big bowl would make placing them on the cake easy enough; but my husband thought sorting the colors ahead of time would be easier. After trying it both ways because he sorted some but not all that I needed, I personally prefer his approach.
Decide on the angle that you want your rainbow stripes covering the cake. I used my decorating spatula on its side to create a line in the frosting to follow for my first row, ensuring a straight line. Also, I placed the M&M’s blank-side-up.
Be sure to have plenty of candies on hand. I had four medium bags and quickly ran out of the green colored chocolates. That was a pain.
Pay close attention to the inside of the three. You make find that, because of the angles, it’s easier to make a single colored line branch into two lines to keep the appearance of straight lines.
If the frosting begins to dry, like mine did, rendering it difficult to adhere the chocolates, you can rough the frosting up again with your finger or spatula, or you can apply some frosting to each candy before placing it, just as if you were gluing it on. I preferred just to roughen the frosting up, but I got interrupted enough while finishing the cake that I eventually needed to “glue” each candy individually.
Be sure to follow the ROYGBIV pattern, and it will surely look amazing when you finish!
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. cooking oil
1 c. boiling water
2 tsp. vanilla
Sift dry ingredients together. Add buttermilk, oil, and eggs, and beat well. Add vanilla and boiling water, and beat well. Bake at 375 degrees until tested done.
The bundt cakes needed to bake in the lower third of my oven to avoid burning on top before the inside was finished. I checked the cakes after about 35 minutes.
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter, and stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk if needed. Add vanilla.