This week’s obsession: Lucky Charms Cake
It’s magically delicious!
Actually, there’s no magic involved in this one. This cake idea has been in the works for almost a year now! 365ish days ago, a friend of mine told me I had to watch a particular episode of a Netflix show called “A Chef’s Table: Pastry” where the pastry chef starring in the episode “invents” cereal milk. So I of course watched it with a pen and paper nearby to take notes (like the nerd that I am), and thought it was a pretty cool idea (I disagreed with some of the other opinions expressed by the chef, but hey - we’re all entitled to our own!) and had a huge “why didn’t I think of that?!” moment.
I also thought that surely the cereal milk idea couldn’t live and die with just the Corn Flakes that she chose to use. I mean, take a walk down the cereal aisle at any grocery store and you are going to be bombarded by tons of flavors and colors and shapes. Plus it’s like a whole zoo experience, too. You’ve got tigers telling you “they’re grrrreat!”, and a toucan splashing around in a bowl of “froot”, a bunny telling you that you can only eat his cereal if you’re a child (hello elitism), and whatever the creature was on a Smacks box contaminating the cereal because you’re not allowed to eat them anymore due to salmonella (it must have been a frog). But how to decide which one to use?
Enter: The Lucky Charms leprechaun. Was this cereal a ubiquitous love for all of us as kids, or did I make that up? I think I was the only kid on the planet who would eat just the cereal portion and pick out all the marshmallows to put back in the box because I didn’t like them. (EDIT: I spoke to the man candy and he said he did this, too. It must be fate!) I thought they tasted like crunchy, vaguely-sweet air, which is exactly how I describe meringue cookies (that I also don’t really care for) as an adult. Huh. Maybe I’ve always been a food snob and didn’t even know it! Anyway, back to these charms. My friend just adored Lucky Charms when she was a kid (apparently it was extremely forbidden fruit in her household!) and we began discussing how delicious a Lucky Charms cake might be. And that was the start of it - I have been brainstorming how to put this thing together ever since.
First things first, I had to bake the cake. But I wanted the crumb to have some authentic Lucky Charms flavor to it, so I put some of the cereal sans “marshmallows” into my spice grinder and ground it into a fine powder. I used this soft, sand looking oat cereal powder (did you know that Lucky Charms is gluten free?!) to replace almost a third of the flour in my recipe. Also, I made my very own cereal milk - milk that had a serving of Lucky Charms sitting in it for about 20 minutes so the flavor would steep - and I used the cereal milk in the cake recipe instead of plain milk. I made a little extra cereal milk and used it to make my American buttercream extra creamy and smooth. However, I don’t typically use liquid in my buttercream, so it was not as stable of a structure as I prefer to work with when frosting cakes. It clearly needed more solid particles in it, so I ground up more of the cereal and added that into the buttercream to make it stronger. These choices really paid off, because at the end of it all the cake was a reconstructed bowl of Lucky Charms cereal.
Here’s a long, raw video of me describing the exact same thing that I wrote above in an impromptu interview about this cake:
This friend who inspired me to make this Lucky Charms cake invited us over to watch sunset on the beach in front of her new home before, wandering to a nearby restaurant for dinner, and then back to her place. This was my chance to finally make this cake for her and deliver it personally (and probably eat some, too). I must say that Mother Nature must have known that we were having Lucky Charms cake that evening because she painted the sky in the most charming colors.
You’ll notice that this cake has stripes, which was a fairly easy pattern to make with the right set up. I do want to share a tidbit that I picked up while making this cake as my tip of the week. To make this stripe pattern, you must start by frosting your cake entirely (I chose to do it with my white icing) and then scrape it with a cake comb to leave the spaces open to pipe in your different colors as stripes. The thing you need to do here though, is freeze your cake before you pipe your different frosting colors. If the white frosting isn’t solid enough, when you pipe your dyed frosting stripes in the spaces in between, the white frosting will shift and you won’t get completely straight lines, which is exactly what happened here. I didn't mind my stripes not being straight because this was not a cake that was meant to be perfect - it was a very childhood reminiscence type of cake - but if you’re striving for perfection, be sure to freeze your cake long enough so that the frosting doesn’t budge when you pipe your stripes.
When we got back to their home after sunset and dinner and were ready to dive into the cake, the guys requested actual slices of cake. As you’ll hear in this short video, to them a cake slice is more “traditional”.
But my friend and I had imbibed in a lot of water that had been purified by Jesus during sunset...
...so we took a different approach to the whole eating cake business.
Either way, we all enjoyed the cake in our own way, and had a wonderful evening with friends.
Happy eating, y'all!
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