While I'm the first to embrace a friend's birthday with an over-the-top party and Champagne, I'm not that big into my own and instead prefer to keep things simple (I've always found the pressure to celebrate to be more intimidating than it is exciting). In past years, I've celebrated with a last-minute, low-key picnic or brunch with friends and today won't be much different, with the exception of one key detail. When G asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I sent him a photo I'd had saved months earlier of my dream cake. From the moment I came across it, I knew it'd be perfect since it combines two of my greatest joys: cake and candy. While I'm still unsure of our exact plans—we haven't even decided whether we're going out or staying in!—at least I know dessert will be perfect. Here's how to make a candy cake:
The best thing about candy cake—aside from the obvious that it's candy on a cake—is how easy it is to make. Whether you bake and frost your own cake at home or purchase it, it's almost impossible to mess up. If you don't frost the cake smoothly or set the candies just-so, it will still turn out beautifully. The candies cover up any imperfections in the frosting, and the more randomly they're placed, the better it will look in the end.
- A cake with white frosting (either purchased or baked from scratch)
- Roughly 1 pound of candy, varying in size and color (I opted for a mix of Sockerbit gummies and M&Ms)
- Additional frosting, as "glue" for the candies
1. Lay your candies out in a way that you can see them all. I began by halving them in two bowls, divided by larger candies and small filler candies, but eventually ended up dumping them all out onto the counter so I could better see my options.
2. Starting with the largest candies first, use a butter knife to swipe additional frosting onto the back to adhere them to the cake, then begin placing them. Make sure you space them out relatively evenly.
3. Repeat this step, gradually working your way down from large candies to medium, then use the smallest (think M&M-sized) to fill in any empty space.
4. That's it! Pour yourself a flute of Champagne and cheers to candy cake!
- While I initially started putting candies all over the cake, I learned that it's easiest to start with the sides of the cake, then work your way up to the top so that by the time you get to the top—the most visible part of the cake—you're already in a good groove.
- Start with the largest candies first and purchase gummy candies, rather than hard candies, so that they can be enjoyed in the same bite as the cake.
- When it comes to the color of the candies, stay mostly within one palette (I chose reds and pinks), but add a pop of something else as filler. This way, it will look cohesive without being too matchy-matchy. (Before adding the pastel blue and purple M&Ms, my cake looked a little too Valentine's Day-y).