Tastes Like a Milky Way Cake

If I were to name my favorite brand of Mars candy, it would definitely be a fight between the Twix and the Milky Way. There are two things these delicious candy bars have in common:  (1) caramel and (2) chocolate, both of which are one of my favorite combinations in a dessert. In this case, the Milky Way won for turning into a cake version! Actually, it wasn’t even a fight because this cake I made for my brother-in-law’s birthday and his wife had this great idea of a Milky Way torte from Flour Bakery – which I then interpreted into a cake. So the idea was really set already. Either way…

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I wanted a cake recipe that tasted like a Milky Way, not one that was made from lots and lots of Milky Ways (there were many of those recipes out there). They looked equally as delicious, but not my goal of the day. When I came across this recipe from iwannabeafoodie.wordpress.com I was really excited!

For the chocolate cake part, I used an all-time favorite recipe – the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake. This one never fails and is so easy to make. As my brother-in-law said, “this cake is so soft”. It truly is a very moist and soft classic chocolate cake.

Milky Way Cake

Adapted from iwannabeafoodie.wordpress.com

Yield:  two layer 8 inch cake

Ingredients

 

For the Chocolate Cake (from Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake)

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa (Special Dark or regular)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  •  2 cups granulated sugar

For the Caramel Sauce

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp water

For the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites or 8 tsp meringue powder plus 8 Tbsp water
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted, then cooled

About 8 mini or four fun size Milky Way candy bars (for garnish)

Directions

Chocolate Cake

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Caramel Sauce

  1. Combine 1/2 cup cream and butter in a small saucepan and melt. Remove from heat and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture turns dark amber in color. Occasionally brush sides of pan with a brush moistened with water and swirl pan.
  2. Remove from heat and add cream and butter mixture (will bubble vigorously) and stir to dissolve caramel. Transfer to a bowl and chill for about 40 minutes until semi-soft.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric stand mixture set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar (or the meringue powder, water, and sugar). Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar had dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees).
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixture fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled (about 6 minutes).
  3. With the mixture on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If the frosting appears to separate after the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until it is smooth again, 3-5 minutes more).
  4. Beat in vanilla. Beat on low speed to eliminate air bubbles. Add 4oz. melted chocolate and beat on low speed. Stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

Assembly

  1. Trim cake tops flat. Using a Ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner or a piping bag, pipe a circle of buttercream around the edge of one layer. Then spread 3/4 of the caramel sauce evenly over that layer of cake within the piped edge. This should keep the caramel sauce from being leaked from the cake sides. Reserve the remainder of the caramel to use as drizzle for the garnish.
  2. Carefully spread a thin layer (about 1/4 inch) of buttercream on top of the caramel sauce. Top it with the other 8-inch cake round. Frost cake completely with buttercream. Decorate the cake as desired. Drizzle with caramel sauce and top with a Milky Way candy bar.

Of course, one of my favorite parts again was making the caramel. I love watching the sugar dissolve in the pan and begin to boil, then when you add the cream magic happens. Okay maybe not magic, but a really cool reaction when the sugar mixture begins to steam and bubble like crazy.

So it starts out like this, the sugar and water mixture are boiling. It’s not yet amber in color yet, just starting though.

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Then when it becomes amber in color you add the cream and butter mixture.

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And watch the fun happen.

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Eventually, it smooths out and looks like normal caramel.

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And at this point, your kitchen smells great. Set that aside to cool while you make the rest.

The buttercream is a swiss meringue. If you have never made this kind of buttercream before, it’s not hard even though it requires the extra step of dissolving your sugar and cooking your egg whites in a double boiler first. It’s well worth it for this buttercream – it’s light, airy, and not too sweet. Much lighter than regular buttercream with powdered sugar and butter. It starts with the egg whites and sugar, but in my case, meringue powder, water, and sugar in a double boiler. I like using meringue powder because it makes me feel like I’m not wasting a bunch of egg yolks and it’s easier.

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After the sugar is dissolved the bowl gets moved to the stand mixer.

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And then it starts to get fluffy – that’s when you start adding the butter.

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And in the end, you add the melted chocolate.

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Yummmmmmy! Chocolatey goodness. Look how smooth it gets…looks like soft-serve chocolate ice cream.

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Now for the assembly of the cakes – start by cutting off the tops so it’s a nice flat cake. Look at the top scraps on the right side, this is probably the best part of the cake. Just like the top of a muffin.

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And then add your caramel layer to the bottom cake layer.

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I always like to pipe a circumference of buttercream around the edge of the cake for any filled cake so the insides don’t squeeze out when you put the second layer on top. And after the caramel layer is spread on the cake, you can start spreading the buttercream on top. It wasn’t that easy as you can see below.

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But I got it covered in the end.

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And put the second layer on top.

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Some caramel crept out though anyway. Oh well, still yum.

On this day, I decided to try my new cake decorating comb – I got mine from Amazon for about 3 bucks. It’s got three sides that you can use. So you start out by covering your cake with a nice thick layer. Then start at one end and rotate it around the cake. Easy!

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It’s easier with a rotating cake stand though.

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My frosting wasn’t thick enough, but it was good enough for me. Then I did reverse shells on the bottom of the cake and just stars on top. Wilton has a great tutorial for reverse shells. They look harder to do than they are.

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And then garnish with some Milky Ways. I cut mine from fun size bars.

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And of course a happy birthday candle. (My caramel got a little gloppy, not my best work)

Cut it for a great 36th!

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And serve.

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7 thoughts on “Tastes Like a Milky Way Cake

  1. When I asked last week what my family wanted for dinner this week, they said “Milky Ways”…. so I googled and found your recipe. We all loved it! My caramel-making technique needs some work, but nobody here complained. Delicious cake, delicious caramel, AWESOME Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting! With your comments about about spreading the frosting onto the caramel layer in mind, I spread it on the bottom of the top layer instead- a little tricky to flip over, but much easier than spreading frosting onto caramel.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe!
    (Next week, they’ve asked for 100 thousand dollar bars. Have you been there and done that?)

    • I’m so glad you liked the cake. It’s one of my favorite cakes I’ve made so far. That’s a great trick with the buttercream spreading – I didn’t think of that, I’m going to try it next time, thanks! Hmmm, I haven’t made anything like that yet, but I’ll keep you in the loop if I see anything. Thanks for visiting my site!

  2. Pingback: Whoppers Cupcakes | Cupcake Artist

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