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I’m sure you all have seen Explosion Cakes all over Pinterest and Instagram. They are magical creatures consisting of layers of cake and an explosion of candy when you cut them open.
Fun, right? How do they all come together? I had to know.
I tried to make one of these last Christmas and it was a DISASTER. I was going to take it to a party but had to cut my losses and whip up a batch of peanut brittle at the last minute. Not nearly as festive, but delicious and there was not a piece or peanut left on the plate. But as for the cake, here is my Pinterest Fail:
Sad, sad, sad. My husband tried to salvage it and made into a little multicolored bear. 🙂
I hate when I encounter something determined to vanquish me, so I decided to try again last week and made a Valentine’s Explosion Cake. It worked this time!
Here’s what I learned that I did wrong at Christmas. First, and I know this is bragging, but I make really moist cakes. I do. It’s just the truth. 🙂 The cakes I made at Christmas were just too moist and soft to hold up under the weight of the layers and the icing.
Second, the hole I cut out of the center of each cake was too big. This didn’t leave enough remaining cake to maintain the stability of the finished structure.
Third, I made too many layers. I tried to make six layers and the weight was just too much. The poor thing started leaning as I tried to ice it and finally just collapsed.
So THIS time I decided to make pound cake. Still moist, but much sturdier than a regular cake. Pound cakes are the big boys of the cake world, able to hold the weight required here. I also decided to cut much smaller holes in each layer for the candy. This left more cake intact, thus making the structure more secure. And finally, I only made four layers. Less chance of a Leaning Tower of Cake. 🙂
So, how do you make an Explosion Cake? Let’s get started!
Decide how many layers you want, and then use small round pans to bake your layers. I use this stainless steel set of four pans. They bake and clean up beautifully.
Grease and flour each pan to avoid stickage. I love this spray.
Make the cake batter of your choice, and fill half the pans with the batter. Use food coloring to dye the remaining batter the color of your choice. Then fill the remaining pans with the colored batter. I did two white layers and two pink layers.
Once the cakes are baked, allow them to fully cool on a wire rack. Once the cakes are cooled, use a round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut the center out of all but one of the layers, leaving the top layer uncut.
Place the first layer on a cake plate, then put a layer of icing on the top. Place the second layer, and then put icing on top. Repeat for all the layers you have made with the center cut out.
Once all you have left is your uncut top layer, fill your cake with candy.
I used a combination of Valentine M&Ms, Valentine candy, and red and white sprinkles.
Mix all the candy together and put in a measuring cup or something from which you can easily pour it into the middle of the cake. Here’s a close-up of the candy I used:
Here is an aerial view of the cake filled with candy, before you close it up with the top layer:
Put the top layer on to seal the candy inside. Be sure to invert the top layer so that the bottom of the cake is on the top, giving you a perfectly flat surface.
Then, you want to ice the cake with a “crumb coat” or a “skim coat.” This seals in the crumbs so that when you put the final layer of icing on the cake, no crumbs get in, giving you a messy finish. Once you get the crumb coat on the cake, refrigerate the whole cake for about 30 minutes to set up.
Then ice your cake with the final layer of icing. You can add sprinkles to outside of the cake, or pipe decorations on it. I placed a few red and white sprinkles here and there on the outside of my cake. I don’t like a bunch of crunchiness when I eat the icing. But feel free to do yours the way you like it!
Okay. So far, SO much better than my Christmas efforts. 🙂 The cake is still upright. But moment of truth. Let’s cut it open!
It WORKED! I can’t tell you how excited I was that it worked this time after my Christmas debacle. 🙂
Explosion Cakes look mysterious and hard to make, but they really aren’t. They just take time and patience. Think of all the occasions they would make more fun. Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, birthdays, wedding showers, even gender reveal parties! You’re only limited by your imagination.
So just give it some thought and let your creativity explode! 🙂
I’d love to see pictures of your creations. And I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest!