Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chocolate layered Kit Kat and M&M birthday cake

After these holidays my brain feels like it has been given a hard reset: blank. Totally devoid of any important or useful information to function. Empty.

When I was preparing my daughter's schoolbag the other night I couldn't remember what books to put in for Wednesday and whether she needed to wear a gym suit to school or not.
This feeling of vagueness continued as I prepared for the office and kept trying to remember what days I was supposed to meet with what people and on a more practical note, what I had to put in my bag for my dark, winter morning bike ride and day in the office (gloves, ear warmer, helmet.... uhm... bike light... something missing ... ah, my badge...).

But the worst was yesterday morning, when I realized on my way to work that I wasn't sure I remembered the code to get into the front gate (luckily it was broken and open) or my last password on my computer (lucky again, it had expired and the system asked me to put in a new one).

All this got me thinking. Is this what getting old feels like? Or does it mean that I truly managed to get away from it all during this break? I like to think it was the latter of course.

It was a good holiday, if not really relaxing, filled with breathtaking mountain scapes, fresh air and mountain sports (but not snow). I experienced skiing with both my kids together for the first time and it was a moment (truly a moment) of pure bliss that made all those years of ski school torture worthwhile.

Because you ski-school parents know what I mean, right?
The alarm clock going off every morning, no matter  how late you were toasting with champagne and egg nog the night before; pulling tired, cranky kids out of warm cozy beds; getting them into multiple layers of clothes, not to mention the goggles, gloves, helmets and what not; shoving their pudgy feet into stiff, cold ski boots, running out into the frosty air with multiple pairs of skies and poles, little ones whining and stumbling behind you to get them to their lesson on time.
That is, of course, if you are as lucky as we were this year and they actually look forward to skiing. Many of you probably also have a tantrum or a I-need-to-pee in the mix. Been there, done that. 

And then it all starts over again in reverse when they get back, with a little added excitement thanks to exhaustion, cold feet and sugar lows.

Not to mention you are actually paying a ton for this brutal experience. You kiss your Christmas bonus good bye on ski courses, ski passes and rentals.

Multiply this by the number of children you have and by as many years as it takes until your youngest is able to get down a ski slope and you get the formula for that minute of pure bliss I mentioned above.

One minute but totally worth it, really.

Another moment that was totally worthwhile was seeing my daughter's proud face when I walked into the room with her birthday cake a few weeks ago.
Just a single instant that was the culmination of weeks preparing for the holidays and dinners, drinks and recitals plus organizing a birthday pajama party four days (thank you for the timing dear husband) before Christmas and two days before leaving for the mountains (with more suitcases than people - and thank you for that, skiwear - plus Christmas presents* and why not throw in a little tree and stockings too).

But back to the cake. I like to call it the disaster cake, but more about that in a minute.

It was a chocolatey, sugar-laden mammoth of a cake if you ask me, but a total hit with the girls. It is easily adaptable to personal preferences (don't like chocolate? Use white cake and vanilla frosting. Want a pink theme? Use different candy to decorate it) and it is really forgiving.

And when I say really forgiving, I mean it.

Everything that could have gone wrong did. My second cake layer broke into pieces because my frosting went runny (I tried every trick in the book and nothing worked - teaches me not to try a new mascarpone frosting right before a party!) and couldn't sustain the weight. I flipped it over making things worse because it just crumbled more but at least the pieces stopped sliding off of the base. Then, as I was desperately trying hold the whole thing together, I ran out of Kit Kats and had to run to the market with both kids while the cake continued to fall apart in my warm kitchen.

A total nightmare. The only reason I didn't burst into tears was because my daughter was already in tears as she watched her dream cake disintegrate.

But then I somehow pulled it off.

And you would never know if I hadn't told you, right? Well, at least until you look at the picture below and you don't actually see any layers. Not a problem, however, because the guests were in too much of a sugar coma to notice.

Because of the disaster, I don't have any tutorial pictures, but there are a million on Pinterest and the Internet.

For Cake and Frosting click here
10 regular sized Kit Kat bars, split in half
1 large bag M&Ms

For the chocolate cake and the frosting, follow the above link.

When you have assembled the cake and start frosting it, don't worry about appearances. You will be sticking the Kit Kats to the sides of the cake and pouring the M&Ms on top. To hold everything together, tie a pretty bow around the cake and keep chilled until about an hour before serving.

* My daughter, who bless her, still believes in Santa (and I think this year will be a last, but I don't even want to start thinking of that, no matter how crazy those weeks before Christmas are) although she has been doubtful, which has led to a lot of questions being asked and more details than I was prepared to give. When we got to the mountains, after she had literally been sitting/leaning on one of the huge plastic bags full of presents for a four-hour drive, she said: "You know, Santa definitely exists, because how could you get all the presents he brings us into that super full car without us noticing?". Yeah, right... my miracle of Christmas.


  1. Ma che bella ...supercolorata e supergolosa!
    Il commento della tua bimba su babbo natale mi ha fatto sorridere... lei continua a credere e voi ad esser bravi prestigiatori! :)

  2. I've seen chocolate cakes with kit kats round the side before and always wanted to make one! This looks delicious and the kind of thing I would have adored as a child. Yum. (and happy new year!) x

  3. Greetings from a 38C Sydney Australia. A lovely blog post that left me giggling! I too make this cake and it is a hit every time!

    1. Hi Corrie, thanks for dropping by! I bet you are also more successful making the cake ;o)

  4. Oh, I really get what you mean about the brain softening during a long vacation. I had password issues, too! The cake is a blast and definitely NOT what I expected from Italy! You definitely pulled it off with aplomb, ... and a little Christmas magic! Happy New Year! ~ David

  5. Yes, vacation brain!
    It looked like a really fun and easy cake to make but it certainly is not the kind I would usually make and was a little horrified about the amounts of sugar in evey bite. But you only turn nine once, right?

  6. Hey that's great to see the pictures..Enjoyed seeing it...


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