I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration at the candy store lately. There’s something so wonderful about all those bins of colorful candies – jawbreakers, gummybears and jelly beans (and etcetera) – just looking at them makes me feel happy and energetic. (Or maybe I’m just having a sugar rush. It’s hard to say, really.)
My last trip yielded a giant tub of candy necklaces and an extra large package of strawberry-stripe marshmallows called Puffy Poles. The two looked so pretty when I held them together, I felt certain that they would live harmoniously on a candy-inspired cake.
I already had a clear image of what I wanted the cake to look like, so it was just a matter of choosing a cake flavor and putting it all together. The Puffy Poles are really soft and delicious with a pronounced strawberry flavor, and I didn’t want to take away from that. I ended up making a simple white cake swirled with pastel color. The frosting is Swiss meringue buttercream – it had to be. It doesn’t crust like American buttercream frosting, so you can take your time applying the candies and marshmallows to the sides of the cake.
My method for accessorizing the cake with the candy necklaces is demonstrated in the picture above. I snipped the elastic string with scissors and then gently draped the necklace around the cake’s top tier. It’s good to have another person help you pat the candies gently into the icing while you hold the two ends in place. The elastic is so small and stretchy, it is very easy to let go of the two ends before it’s completely anchored down. I’ll say it again for emphasis – it is VERY easy to let go of the two ends, so it’s a good idea to have a helper,otherwise you may end up with candy beads in spilled down one side of the cake.
Once the beads are in place, you can pull out the elastic string! Viola!
I used two 6-inch springform pans for the bottom tier and one 4-inch pan for the top tier. It made for a dainty little cake, but with the added marshmallows, you’ll still need a standard 8-9-inch cake stand.
I really love the scratch-made white cake recipe I’ve included below, but there’s no reason you couldn’t give any cake the Marshmallow-Candy Swirl treatment. You can find Puffy Poles marshmallow in every color here, and bulk candy necklaces here.
Marshmallow-Candy Swirl Cake
Yield: 14 servings: One double layer 6-inch tier and one single layer 4-inch tier
Prep: 1 hour, total time about 2 hours 30 minutes
3 1/2 cups/287g cake flour (such as Swan’s down, do not substitute homemade cake flour)
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 large egg whites, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups/12.75 oz whole milk, room temp
1 cup/113g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups/298g sugar
Pink, yellow and green food color
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 6-inch pans and one 4-inch pan; line with parchment.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Whisk together egg whites and milk in a separate bowl; set aside.
Beat butter using the paddle attachment until soft and creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
Add flour mixture alternately with the egg white/milk mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture and beat until smooth on medium-low speed after each addition.
Divide batter between three bowls evenly; color each bowl of batter with a food color. Divide batter between pans, pouring in different colors into each pan and swirling them gently with a knife or skewer. Bake 6-inch cakes at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. Bake 4-inch layer for 20-22 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, then turn out and cool completely.