Today is my husband’s 32nd birthday. Earlier this week I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he told me that he wanted one that tasted like a Milky Way candy bar. A quick internet search led me to cakes made with a mixture of melted candy bars and butter mixed into a batter. This just wasn’t what I was imagining. I wanted a cake that tasted like the inside of a candy bar. I came across this recipe for a Milky Way tart that seemed closer to what I wanted. I decided to use a boxed chocolate cake, baked in two 8-inch rounds with a caramel and chocolate whipped cream filling and frosted with the chocolate whipped cream. All was working out fine until I walked away from my mixer for too long and came back to find the whipped cream had become chocolate butter. Running out of time and ingredients, I had to come up with a backup plan. I scoured my kitchen and cookbooks and decided I had the time and ingredients to make a Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting and I would use it for both the filling and the frosting. It was delicious and I will admit that my backup plan was probably better than the original plan. The buttercream was more substantial than the whipped cream would have been and held the cake together during transportation to my in-laws. A garnish of mini Milky Ways and caramel drizzle finished it off just as I had envisioned.
Milky Way Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix, prepared as directed, baked in two 8 inch round pans
1 -8-inch cardboard cake round
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 T. sugar
3 T. water
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
4 large egg whites
1 ¼ C. sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted, then cooled
about 8 mini Milky Way candy bars (for garnish)
Caramel Sauce Preparation:
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
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. 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.
In the heatproof bowl of an electric stand mixture set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar had dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees).
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).
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). 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.
Prepare to layer cakes:
Trim cake tops flat if they have developed a dome shape while baking. Place one layer on an 8 inch cardboard cake round. Spread 3/4 of the caramel sauce evenly over cake. Reserve the remainder to use as drizzle for the garnish. 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. Fill a piping bag (or zip-top bag with a corner snipped off) with about a cup of the frosting. Pipe 8 small mounds of frosting around the top edge of the cake. Drizzle each mound with caramel sauce and top with a mini Milky Way candy bar.