This cake should be renamed as the Kit Kat Guzzler Cake. It's insane how many sticks of kit kat I needed to surround this cake- and there are still gaps in between! I thought I had more than enough, since I was making a small cake but wow how wrong I was. I used a total of 18 individual sticks for a mere 5 inch cake, which wasn't enough.
For the cake itself, I used a strawberry boxed cake mix, not because I was pressed for time but because I wanted to try making a cake not from scratch. I've never used a premix anything before this I swear. But after tasting it, I wished I hadn't used the boxed stuff. Not only was the strawberry flavour absolutely not prominent, the texture was crumbly, making it hard to slice and a mess too. Bleh what a waste of my decorating efforts. No matter how beautiful a cake is, it has to taste good too to be a good cake.
In the middle of the two layers, I sandwiched a smear of dark chocolate buttercream and a thick homemade strawberry jam of sorts based on a tart filling I'd made before. I love the combination of strawberries and chocolate, which was the inspiration for the flavour combination of this cake. (But my impetus for making the cake was to decorate it as such.) The buttercream is pretty good- not too gritty from the icing sugar and nearly had a flawlessly smooth and silky texture. It has a good consistency to frost and even pipe. Needless to say, it was a breeze working with this recipe.
Given a choice, I wouldn't top this cake with M&Ms. I expected them to decolourise, which they did, but I didn't mind as long as I got decent photos of the cake out first, but I didn't realize that they would lose their crispness upon prolonged refrigeration. I decorated the cake M&Ms and all about 10 hours before I ate it, so when I did, the shells of the M&Ms had long became soft. Plus, have I mentioned that they bleed, a lot? Not very appetizing. Never decorating a cake with M&Ms again. Nuh-uh. At least not if I'm going to expose it to moisture for a long period of time.
I wonder what I can use in place of them. Maybe hershey's kisses, peanut butter cups... The downside is that they lack sprightly colours though. Marshmallows? Any ideas?
Kit Kat Cake
makes a 5 inch cake
The recipe for the strawberry filling is adapted from my fresh strawberry tart recipe while the chocolate buttercream is from Martha Stewart. Visit the link for instructions for the original quantity if needed.
Bake your favourite cake recipe in 2 pans and let the layers cool completely before proceeding.
For the strawberry filling:
1/4 pound of strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
juice of 1/8 of a lemon
For the chocolate buttercream:
1 1/5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/5 tbsp boiling water
100g bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3/5 stick butter
1 3/5 tbsp icing sugar
pinch of salt
12 individual packs of kit kat (24 sticks)
M&Ms, as much as you need or any other kind of candy
For the strawberry filling: Crush the strawberries in a large saucepan and place the saucepan on medium high heat until the juices of the strawberries have leaked out and are bubbling. Let the juices keep boiling until they are slightly reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and add a bit of water to it and stir to dissolve. Add the slurry to the strawberry mixture. Boil the strawberry filling until it has thickened. Cut the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let it cool and refrigerate it overnight before using so that it can thicken up properly.
For the chocolate buttercream: Stir together the cocoa powder and boiling water until the cocoa powder has dissolved and leave aside to cool. Cream the butter, icing sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the cocoa powder slurry and melted chocolate and beat to combine. Use immediately or refrigerate to firm it up first before frosting.
Assembly: On the first layer of cake, spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream, then pile on the strawberry jam thickly. Coat the top and sides of the cake with more chocolate buttercream. Arrange the kit kat sticks around the cake. You don't have to leave a gap- in fact, I think it would look prettier without gaps- but you could if you don't have enough kit kats to go around. Make sure that the gaps aren't too huge though, or else the M&Ms will slide through them. Top the cake with showers of M&Ms. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours to let the buttercream firm up, or slice into the cake immediately to absolve any iffy M&M colour issues.