Early this summer I moved into an apartment steps away from a grocery store. I can’t think of anything better for someone that works in food and is the biggest fan of every grocery store that’s ever existed. I mean that — I really, truly love going to the grocery store. Especially when it’s early morning or late at night when the only folks perusing the shelves are quiet and swift and I’m left to my own devices, instead of having to snake through shopping carts and wait in line for 20 minutes.
Grocery stores feel like giant, shiny boxes of possibilities. Endless combinations of ingredients can produce a beautiful dessert or a kitchen flop, depending on the slightest measurements. Strolling through the aisles is meditative, and I can get lost for what seems like hours when I really only need two items. I’m not sure if it has something to do with my proximity to the store or my intense feelings of love, but I walk there almost every day and am beginning to wonder if the cashiers remember me and furrow their brows at my strange purchases.
When I went to buy some M&M’s for this M&M cake, I filled up a giant bag in bulk, completely disregarding how much I would actually need to cover the cake. When the bag rang up at $57, my jaw dropped to the floor and stayed there. How could a bag of M&M’s possibly cost that much?!
Well, it turns out they’re pricey little buggers, but fortunately you only need a fraction of what I bought. Plus, you can probably steal most of them from your kid’s Halloween candy. Unless they sort and line up every piece (I did) they won’t notice (I always did).
You’ll be making a basic vanilla cake with a simple buttercream icing to help hold the M&M’s in place. And you certainly don’t have to be as meticulous as I was in placing them evenly around the cake — scattering them around the edges will do. Enjoy 🙂
- butter for cake pans
- 2 cups flour, plus more for pans
- 1 TB baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup canola oil or other light oil
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 400g (14 oz) M&M’s
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine. In a separate mixing bowl, add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and oil and whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Bake the cakes for 35 minutes or until the top springs back to a touch.
- While the cake is baking, make the frosting. Add the butter, half the icing sugar, milk, and vanilla to a mixing bowl and use a mixer to combine. Add the rest of the icing sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
- When the cake has completely cooled, carefully slice off the middle bump of each layer to make the tops flat. Spread the frosting on top of one layer and place the other atop. Frost the entire cake with a spatula or cake spatula, and place m&ms over the cake.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart