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If you’re looking for the perfect birthday cake look no further than our candy cake! You’re going to have adults and kids alike requesting a candy cake for their next birthday once they see this one.
8th birthdays are a big deal around here. When I was thinking of what to make for Brighton’s 8th birthday cake I remembered this candy cake Paula made for Ryan’s birthday and knew I could do something cool with it.
This cake was originally posted in 2016. Has been updated to include more information.
What is a Candy Cake?
When we first made this cake I thought a candy cake was pretty self explanatory but after being asked over and over “What is a candy cake?” I realized there are actually a lot of different options for a candy cake. When WE say candy cake we mean a real cake covered with candies. It can be chocolate or vanilla, homemade or come out of a box, anything you want.
How do you make a candy cake?
There are a variety of ways to make a candy cake and I’ll talk about them later. For this tutorial I’ll be explaining how to make a candy cake into an 8. This is easily done with round cake pans. By adding your favorite candies to your cake you can create a cake perfect for all your special occasions.
To make a candy cake first you need to collect all your supplies. I’ll share the candies we used and call out other options that could work as well.
What do you need to make a candy cake?
To make a candy cake you will need the following supplies:
Cake pans – I am using round but you can use any shape/size.
Parchment Paper – I always recommend lining your cake pans with parchment paper to keep your cake from sticking to the pan.
Everything to make your cake – it doesn’t matter if you’re using a box cake mix or a homemade cake and the cake flavors is up to you.
Candy – you’ll need candy for the top of the cake and the sides of the cake – I suggest buying more than you think you’ll need. It’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll need because it will vary depending on the type of candy you use and the size and shape of your cake. For example though, I used about 42 Kit Kat pieces for my 8 shaped cake.
Frosting – again your frosting can be homemade or store bought, vanilla or chocolate frosting. It’s totally up to you.
Cake board or plate – if you are making the 8 cake like I am you’ll want a cake board or a cookie sheet to put it on.
Wire rack – for cooling the cakes.
If you want to use full sized Kit Kats like we did you will need a layer cake. The Kit Kats are a bit tall for a single layer cake.
Let’s Make a Candy Cake!
Grab all your ingredients and supplies including an electric mixer or whisk, large bowl, cake pans, vegetable oil spray, parchment paper, etc.
Once you have your cake batter all mixed you’ll want to split the batter into 4 equal parts. We’ll want a total of four cake layers for our 8 shaped birthday cake. Because you’re cooking less than full cake amounts you’ll want to watch the time closely so you don’t over cook the cakes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and when it comes out clean take them out.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then you’ll want to put the cakes onto the cooling rack and allow them to cool to room temperature or cooler before trying to frost them.
You’ll want to use a large serrated knife or a cake leveler to level the cake as much as possible. Add frosting to the top of 2 cakes and stack them. Now we’ll ice the sides. You don’t need a lot of icing on the sides, just enough for the candy to stick to. Now for the fun part, decorating the cake with your (or their) favorite candy.
Time for cake decorating.
Okay, are you ready for the really fun part? Let’s break down the candies we’re going to use.
Outside of the cake
I used Kit Kats. I split the Kit Kats into individual bars and placed them all the way around the cakes except where the two cakes met to form the 8. You’ll want your cakes placed on the cake board or cookie sheet before yo start placing candies.
You can use other candies if you like something else more. As I think about it basically any candy bars could work. You could do Milky Way Bars, Snickers, Almond Joys… I mean, it doesn’t even have to be a candy bar. You could choose to use a lot of little candies just like you do on the top.
I do recommend starting with the sides first.
Onto the top
I used peanut M&M candies for the top of my cake. I separated the M&Ms into different bowls to make it easier for placing them on the top of the cake. Just like the sides you don’t need a lot of frosting, just enough for the candies to stick to.
Separating the M&Ms into the different bowls also helped me know which colors I had the most of so I could put those on the outside. Don’t worry about getting all the way to the edge of the cake, if there are any gaps you can use frosting, piping bag, and a star tip to fill them in.
Also like the sides you are welcome to use any candies you like. Any variety of M&Ms or Reeces Pieces. If someone was making this cake for me they’d put Milk Duds on it for sure. My daughter, she’d want chocolate covered raisins on it somewhere.
Chocolate candies for some reason seem to be what we reach for first when we’re making this cake but it isn’t a necessity. If you choose to make a vanilla cake you might want to use skittles or nerds or any other non-chocolate candy. This cake is also a perfect way to use leftover Halloween candy or treats your kids may have collected at a parade.
I love making this cake. I love how it looks when it’s all put together and now that I’m looking at it I am excited to try making a vanilla version!
What other types of Candy Cakes are there?
When people asked me “what kind” of candy cake I was making I did some research and learned there are a variety of candy cakes out there. Apparently cotton candy cake is a thing. There are a variety of different versions. Some are made of actual cotton candy and some are like a cute rainbow cake with cotton candy on the top.
I’ve also seen candy cakes that aren’t actually cake at all. They are candy boxes and wrapped candies all put together to look like a cake. Some are using a large Rice Krispies treat instead of a cake. There are so many different options.
There are also the fun piñata cakes that have a hollow center that after it’s baked is filled with loose candies so when you cut it the candies fall out the middle.
As you can see, we used leftover candies and cake batter to whip up some candy cupcakes. They were a big hit with the kids!
So, what do you think? Are you making a candy cake for your next party? My kids would pick it weekly, it’s one of their favorite desserts. I think it’s best when we make it for a crowd so none of us eat TOO much haha. Brighton loved his 8th birthday cake and really, it was a lot easier then you probably think to make it.
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Check out these other fun and delicious cakes we’ve made over the years: