Today’s post and recipe are going to be dedicated to several folks. So, shout out(s) to:
Will Smith, Avril Lavigne, Serena Williams, Michael Buble, Gloria Estefan, Zendaya Coleman, Beyonce Knowles Carter, Alecia “Pink” Moore Hart, Avicii, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Hudson, Emmy Rossum, Barry White, Amy Winehouse, Tom Hardy, Tommy Lee Jones, BB King, Scott Hoying, Stephen King, Jason Derulo, Alfonso Ribeiro, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Anthony Mackie and Catherine Zeta Jones.
It’s quite a diverse list, but still: I’m sure most of you can guess what all these folks have in common, right?
All of the above had the great privilege of being born in the month of September.
Just like yours truly.
My birthday is coming up again guys. On September 27th (at 9:01 a.m., to be exact) I’ll be twenty seven.
I don’t feel twenty seven (three years away from 30, yikes.) Being completely honest I sometimes forget how old I am. It’s a day that mostly passes with little fanfare or to-do. I’ve never had a birthday party and twenty seven seems like a little late to start up the practice. But that’s fine by me. I don’t much like parties anyway.
There is however, one thing that so far as the birthday tradition goes, even I am unwilling to do without: a fantastic birthday cake.
That’s something that EVERYONE is entitled to. That’s something that EVERYONE ought to get.
Not to blow my own horn too loud, but… baking fantastic cakes is something that I think I kiiiinda know a little something about. Especially this one. This one’s going up there with the best of the best cakes to come outta my kitchen.
So, the inspiration for this recipe comes out of a Southern Cake cookbook that my mom bought for me a little ways back. From the minute I first saw it, I immediately put a bookmark on the page, determined to bake it for myself once just the right special occasion came around.
If my own birthday isn’t a special enough occasion, then I think it’s safe to say that the birthdays of all the above mentioned stars certainly does. You’ll be seeing stars after the first bite of this cake, I’ll tell you that.
If you were to ask most people- not all, but MOST people- they’d tell you that their favorite candy car is a certain kind made with milk chocolate, caramel, chopped peanuts and nougat. One with huge block letters with the commercials that ask you if you’re hungry, then tell you to grab one.
You know which one I mean. That one. It’s certainly MY favorite. So, I kinda went ahead and made it the focal point of the cake along with another certain candy bar that consists of milk chocolate and almonds. If you prefer another kind of candy bar; say the one that’s made with milk chocolate, caramel and nougat, OR the one with just milk chocolate and nougat that’s named after the book by Alexandre Dumas then I think those would work just as well with this cake as well.
The base is a standard vanilla and it actually has melted candy bars in it, giving just a hint of the chocolate flavor without quite being a marble cake. It comes out oh-so moist, fluffy and of course, rich. The original recipe called for a chocolate marshmallow icing to go in between the cake layers but personally, I thought that was a little bit TOO sweet so, I diverted to my go-to chocolate buttercream that I used for my Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake instead. After that, I took the leftover fun-size candy bars I had, chopped them into quarters and pressed the quarters into the sides of the cake to give it a ‘brickle’ kind of effect. The crumbs from the almond chocolate got sprinkled around the rim of the top.
Now c’mon guys tell me honestly: is this a cake, or is this a CAKE?
Heavenly Candy Bar Cake
Recipe Adapted from The Southern Cake Book
For the Cake
- 9 fun-size or 21 mini chocolate-coated caramel and/or creamy nougat bars (I used Snickers minis and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Nuggets)
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup shortening
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 20 tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
- 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- Pinch table salt
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 ounces milk chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- About 15-20 mini chocolate-coated caramel and/or creamy nougat bars (I used Snickers minis and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Nuggets), chopped
Melt candy bars and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
Beat sugar and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer about 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Combine flour and salt. Stir together buttermilk and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in melted candy bar mixture and vanilla. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack. Spread half of Chocolate-Marshmallow Frosting evenly between cake layers. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.
Using a standing or hand held mixer, cream the butter, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa and salt together until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and mix until just combined, about 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and mix together until smooth and creamy, about 10-15-seconds.
Line the edges of a cake platter with strips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Place one (evenly leveled) cake layer on the platter. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly across the top of the cake with a spatula. Place the second cake layer on top, then spread another cup of the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Place the third layer on top, then spread a very thin layer of frosting around the top and all sides in a crumb coat. Refrigerate cake for about 1 hour, then frost cake with remaining frosting.
Using the chopped candy bars, press into the sides of the cake gently. Refrigerate for about thirty minutes to set.
Remove the parchment strips from the platter before serving.