This M&M rainbow mosaic birthday cake is a perfect cake for any rainbow lover. The cake underneath the mosaic is a classic vanilla cake filled with coconut buttercream.
Vanilla cake is a very versatile recipe that can be used as a foundation for other cake recipes. This cake is delicious, has a tender crumb, and a good fit for any occasion. The cake is good on its own and can also be stacked or use for tiered cakes. It can also be used under fondant or modeling chocolate. The use of the candy on the cake makes it very colorful and kids love it.
My Baking Journey
The first vanilla cake I made was in high school in my food and nutrition class. The only way to make the cake batter was by creaming the sugar and butter or margarine with a wooden spoon. This made cake-making so laborious and time-wasting. This discouraged me from baking cakes until college. There I had a better baking experience because the food lab was equipped with time-saving equipment. I am so grateful for stand mixers- because they have drastically reduced the time for baking and cake decorating. Now I enjoy baking, trying recipes, having fun in the kitchen, and sharing my recipes with you all.
Preparation Before Baking the Cake
The prep work that needs to be done before baking the cake include the following:
- Reading through the recipe thoroughly to familiarize yourself with the ingredients, tools, and processes stated in the recipe.
- Measure all ingredients and set them aside.
- Sift the cake flour and set aside until ready to use.
- Bring eggs and buttermilk to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
- Prepare three 6 inches round cake baking pan with non-stick spray or homemade pan release.
Ingredients for the Cake
Cake flour is preferred over all-purpose flour because it provides a unique texture to the cake. Do not interchange cake flour with all-purpose flour in the recipe.
Baking powder is a leavening agent that needs to be replace within a few months since they lose their rising power.
Salt brings all the taste together and I like to use plain sea salt or table salt since they are free from iodine and other anti-caking agents which sometimes affect the taste of the cake.
Unsalted butter is recommended since different brands will have different salt content in their salted butter. Therefore, using unsalted butter gives you the freedom to control the amount of salt used in a recipe.
Granulated sugar adds sweetness to the cake, help aerate the cake butter and lighten the overall cake texture.
Flavoring used in the recipe is pure vanilla extract which adds a nice flavor and taste to the cake.
Buttermilk is used in the cake to bring a tangy taste to the cake which balances out with the sweetness. The buttermilk also gives the cake a softer texture.
Eggs used in this recipe are large size and they should always be at room temperature.
How to Make the Vanilla Cake
There are different ways of mixing the cake butter and for this recipe, I used the creaming method. The creaming method is cake-making, where the sugar and butter or margarine are mixed until fluffy and light. After which the dry and wet ingredients are added to the creamed mixture and baked. The butter should be at room temperature and not very soft or very cold. The sugar and butter should be mixed for about 3 – 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. The eggs are added one at a time to ensure they are all well mixed. Then, the dry ingredients and the milk are added.
How to Make the Coconut Buttercream
This buttercream icing is easy to make and the coconut flavor pairs well with the vanilla cake. I used my basic buttercream cream recipe as the base for this recipe and added coconut milk and coconut extract.
Supplies for the Assembling the Cake
- Cake board and circles to placing the cake on.
- Icing scraper or bench scraper for smoothing the cake.
- Offset spatula for icing or applying icing onto the cake
- Turntable (optional) for easy decorating.
- Ruler for measuring the height of the cake.
- Rainbow M&M candy for decorating the cake.
How to Make the Rainbow Mosaic Cake
Before you start to assemble the cake, plan the design or patterns you will be creating on the cake. The design used was triangles to create the rainbow mosaic on the cake. If you want to create a complicated design, then you can sketch the design on paper and transfer it to the cake. When you have the design ready, then use the candy to create a visual look of the design on a board. This helps guide you when you are sticking the candies onto the cake. Put the candy into color categories for easy use.
Filling and Icing the Rainbow Cake
Now is the time to level the cake if there is any dome on the cake to make it flat for easy assembling. Fill the cake layers with some of the buttercream and stack them. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting all around the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until the cake has chilled and set. Frost the cake with a thicker layer of frosting to the sides of the cake and top to bottom. Smooth the sides of the cake with icing scraper to achieve a smooth surface for the design.
Measuring the cake
After frosting the cake, measure the height of the cake to see how many of the M&M patterns you will need to reach the top of the cake. This helps to ensure that your design fits perfectly to the cake’s height without any gaps on top. If there is a gap, then add more buttercream on top of the cake to achieve the desired height. Place the candy onto the cake using the pattern created as a guide. Start from the bottom of the cake and work your way up. Make sure there is no space between the cake and cake board when placing the candy on the cake. When you get to the top of the cake, fill in as shown in the cake design.
Instead of using candy, you could also use different colored buttercream and piped them with star or round tips to create the design on the cake.
Fondant or modelling chocolate cut out can also be used to create similar effect.
- If you do not have any cake flour or plain flour, then make your own cake flour by using all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour, and then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the remaining all-purpose flour. Mix the flour, sift the flour twice and measure the quantity required for the recipe.
- Homemade buttermilk is easy to make and works just like the store-bought buttermilk. Below are the instructions for making homemade buttermilk. In a measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice, and then add enough milk to make a cup. Stir and allow to stand for about 5 minutes before using.
If you have any questions about this recipe, I will love to hear about them in the comment section below. Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag me #theduchezkitchen- I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook? Find me @theduchezkitchen.
Thanks for reading. As always, know that God loves you and stay blessed!
Happy baking and decorating!!
Rainbow Mosaic Birthday Cake
For the Vanilla Cake
- 3½ cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
For the Coconut Buttercream
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter (soften)
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons ( ¼ cup) coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
For the Decoration
- 1 bag (20 ounces) M&M candy
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F or 180 °C. Prepare three 6 inches round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray or homemade pan release and set aside until ready to use.
- In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour into it. Add baking powder, and salt to the flour and whisk together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy about 3- 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for a minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition on a medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and mix well for 30 seconds.
- Reduce the speed of the mixer and add a third of the dry ingredients, alternating with half of the buttermilk. Repeat with the dry ingredients and buttermilk until they are fully mixed. Add the last third of the dry ingredients and mix well. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until smooth.
- Divide the cake batter among the 3 prepared cake pan. Place the pans on the center rack of the oven and bake for about 30 -35 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted into the cake and comes out clean and dry. Bring the cake out of the oven and allow to cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack to cool completely
For the Coconut Buttercream
- In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a medium bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter on a medium-high speed until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add the coconut milk and extract and beat until well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix the frosting on medium-high for about 3 minutes until light, fluffy and smooth.
Assembly the Cake
- To assemble the cake, place a nonslip mat on a turntable and then tape a 6 inches cake cardboard circle to an 8 inches cardboard circle and place the cake board on the turntable.
- Apply a small amount of buttercream to the center of the 6 inches cake board. Place the first cake on the board, add buttercream, and spread it evenly on the cake and place the second cake layer on top of the frosting and repeat the process until all the cakes are stacked.
- The last cake layer should be placed flat side up that is the bottom should face up. Press down on the stacked cakes lightly to help the cakes stick to the icing. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream and smooth it with a cake scraper. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes or 10 minutes in the freezer. Add the final thick layer of buttercream frosting and smooth it.
- Place the candy onto the cake using the pattern created as a guide. Start from the bottom of the cake and work your way up. Make sure there is no space between the cake and cake board when placing the candy on the cake. When you get to the top of the cake, fill in as shown in the cake design.
- Place the cake in the fridge to set the decorations. Take a photo, serve, and enjoy!