Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Party Like It's MCMXCIX!

We're kind of dorks. (That might not be a news flash, but I thought I would state it up front, in case you didn't read this.) That's why I was pretty geeked (pun intended) to find these "Roman Candles" a few months back at Marshall's for $3.99. I tucked them away, feeling they would be perfect for my math nerd husband's birthday cake.

For his birthday, he requested this Toffee Cake, and I agreed to make it, because it was his birthday, and also, because he's pretty awesome. When he was looking for cake recipes, he decided to skip bookmarking any that called for a stand mixer since we didn't have one at the time, and he selected this particular recipe that called for a boxed Devil's Food Cake mix. Then, in a somewhat ironic turn of events, I finally got my stand mixer!! (See, I told you he was pretty awesome.) Brett's birthday cake was its inaugural usage, and I have to say that this was such a joy to use with a boring old boxed cake mix, I can hardly wait to make something from scratch. (You know, when I have more time... like when I'm not busy preparing for our tropical vacation sans children. Eeeeeeeee!)

Even though I linked the recipe from cooks.com, I'm going to take the time to type it out here. Why? Well, I lost one recipe (that I know of) for some white chocolate strawberry muffins that I posted here and I have forever been looking for a substitute since then, and falling hopelessly short. So, in the event that I really want this recipe again, (and I am sure I will!) I will have a fail-safe. Smart, huh?

  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
  • 1/2 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (I used a bit extra.)
  • 6 oz. caramel ice cream topping (Again, I used extra.)
  • 3 bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip
  1. Bake cake according to package directions in a 9" x 13" pan. (To make the cake look a bit more elegant, I decided to make it a layer cake instead of baking it in a 9" x 13" cake pan.) Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom.
  2. In a sauce pan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour over warm cake, letting it sink into slits; then sprinkle with the crushed candy bars. (I skipped doing this in between my two layers, but I did add extra caramel sauce.)
  3. Let the cake cool completely, then top with Cool Whip. Decorate the top of the cake with more toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping. Refrigerate.

For display, it was placed on a new-to-me glass cake stand that I had picked up at a rummage sale for $1 the very morning that I was planning to make the cake. Serendipitous, indeed! I was a bit harried, though, since it was the last day of school for Mia, and I didn't end up trimming the two rounds to make them even and flat. It turned out not to be a big deal, though, because the Cool Whip made excellent, easy-to-work-with frosting. I had never used a tub of Cool Whip for frosting before, but I expect to use it again because it was very simple to apply with my angled spatula and it covered up a multitude of baking sins (like those uneven layers I mentioned.) I was thankful to have reserved a small amount of Cool Whip to do touch-ups, as we were traveling to Brett's brother's house to celebrate, and it got a just a tiny bit messy looking on the way there. (My strange method that I came up with for transporting the cake worked very well: I stuck the cake stand into a large pot so that the stand rested just on the outer edges. This was I was able to hold it in place and rest my hands on the handles of the pot during the drive, and remain reasonably comfortable while doing so.)

In addition to looking pretty, this cake was very moist, too, thanks to the caramel sauce that was drizzled into slits cut into both of the layers. I topped it all off with the extra caramel sauce and some smashed up Heath bars, Brett's favorite candy bar. (By the way, pummeling candy bars with a rubber mallet is very cathartic. Just make sure they are sealed in a baggie and then wrapped in a towel, and you're good to go.) On another side note, the left over condensed milk was very happily used for condensed milk paintings, which Mia had been asking me to do again, so that was a happy coincidence, and it meant no waste (because obviously, we will eat the remaining caramel topping soon...). Everyone agreed that the cake was delicious, but the Roman numeral candles were truly the Pièce de résistance!

{All you need to know is that I am younger!}


  1. Okay, I didn't click on the link to the candles, so when you said Roman Candles I was thinking fireworks.

    Which wouldn't have been a great idea practically speaking, but in an impractical way would have been extremely memorable.

    1. I assume that they came up with the name for the pun factor, but no, I didn't find or purchase any fireworks at Marshall's! While I wouldn't trust myself to set them off safely, that would, indeed, make a pretty memorable birthday experience.