Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Candy-coated Celebrations: KitKat Cake

Baking for other people is one of my favorite ways to celebrate life and express love. When my kids were little, I marked each birthday with a creative cake - staying up late the night before their special day to sculpt and decorate an elaborate choo-choo train cake, or an erupting volcano cake with dinosaurs for my boys and grand princess castles, sparkly rainbow fish, or barbie-doll cakes for the girls. When I went back to an office-job, I brought a cake each month in to celebrate colleagues' birthdays. And for the kids' school auction, I donated a cake-of-the-month club annually for many years. I love to be imaginative with flavors, styles, and shapes.

KitKat Cake
But one of the most requested cakes I make now is a ridiculously simple candy-coated cake that I privately dub the "Mike Kenney Memorial Cake." I first made this as a birthday present for my colleague, Mike, who had a KitKat addiction. My office mates were a fun-loving, friendly bunch who, on Mike's birthday, dumped about a hundred KitKat candy bars on his desk. And I found a cake design to match.

Since that time, it has become a favorite among my family and friends. Each of my boys asked for it on recent birthdays and on a trip back to the US this spring, my old colleagues begged for it as well. Frankly, I'm sick of making it :) But, because it is popular and so simple that anyone can make it with little time or effort, I'll share the concept here.
  1. Bake your favorite chocolate cake in round cake pans - any recipe, even a box mix if you are so inclined. I prefer two 9-inch rounds I can stack with a layer of frosting in the middle, but if you are really short on time, go for a single deep spring-form.
  2. Frost generously with your favorite chocolate frosting. Again, I won't judge - if you want, pull out a can of the pre-made stuff (but I strongly encourage you to try homemade, it's worth it! Here's a great one Chocolate Buttercream Frosting).
  3. Next, press KitKat candy wafer bars into the frosting around the sides. (Break the bars of 4 thin sticks in half so you are pressing pairs of sticks). To help hold them together, tie a ribbon around the cake (even paper curling ribbon will do).
  4. Finally, fill the top of the cake with small candies. I usually use Reese's Pieces, but have also made variations with M&Ms or Smarties. Wa-la - you have a candy-coated cake that will please almost any sugar-junkie.
Sadly, a couple years ago, Mike suddenly passed away of natural causes at a rather young age. Since then, each time I make this cake, I offer a little prayer for kind-hearted Mike and his family. May he rest in peace.

And may you and your family remember that life is a precious gift and every opportunity to celebrate it should be embraced!


  1. That cake looks wonderful...think I may have to try it out sometime soon. Perhaps we need an 'afternoon tea' meet - as well as bookclub, quiznight, berakfast.......