St. Patrick's Day Lucky Charms Cake

Can you tell I've been on a cake kick? They are just so fun. 

For the two years one of my classmates, Carey, has invited people over for a traditional corned beef and cabbage Irish dinner which is so delicious. This year I wanted to make a dessert for it, but was disappointed to find that most St. Patrick's Day desserts play off the whole mint green theme, which isn't my favorite--some mint desserts can be so overpowering and I prefer to stick to peppermint candies or mint Oreos if I have a craving. Instead, I came up with this cake based off my favorite breakfast cereal (which I rarely allow myself to buy for self-control reasons)--Lucky Charms! It's a funfetti cake (rainbows) with gold sprinkles on top (pot o' gold) and marzipan "charms" decorating the outside! It doesn't even have to be for St. Patrick's day but the theme works pretty well! You could even make the frosting green to make it extra festive.

For the cake I used the same recipe as seen here from Molly Yeh, but adapted it a bit to make it gluten-free. The instructions and ingredients are pretty much the same (click here for instructions) but I subbed gluten-free flour (cup 4 cup brand) for cake flour and made it in a 7-inch pan. This is my second time using a 7-inch cake pan and I gotta say I'm a fan; it's enough cake to feed a room full of people without that feeling of "OMG I have SOOO much cake leftover I'm going to blow up trying to finish this before it goes stale." Also, at least for this recipe, using gluten-free flour makes for a more dense cake, almost like a pound cake, which I really liked; it's cake you can sink your teeth into! For those using regular flour the cake will be a little taller and a little less dense but other than that the results are indistinguishable. 

Couple reminders: line your pans with parchment and spray or butter/flour them, and add sprinkles to the top of the batter before you bake to make them extra colorful. Also if using a smaller pan they will take longer to bake--begin checking with a cake tester at 30 minutes. Chill your cakes to room temp before wrapping in cellophane and freezing for at least 30 minutes-1 hour. 

Now for the decorating! I used a powdered sugar/butter frosting here that is a little less buttery than the one seen here. My measurements were:

  • 3 sticks of butter, softened and creamed with a mixer
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • powdered sugar--start with 2 cups then slowly add more until you get the desired consistency. I used about 2.5 

Frost in between the layers and then a crumb coat followed by the final coat. Use a bench scraper to smooth, top with gold sugar sprinkles. 

To make the "lucky charms" take small pieces of marzipan (a little larger than a malted milk ball I'd say) and color them yellow, pink, red, green, orange, purple, and blue. Note that a little color goes a long way, especially if you use gel food coloring! 

Roll out each colored ball using a rolling pin or your hands, and cut out shapes using miniature cookie cutters (I got mine on amazon here). I had to look of a picture of all the marshmallows to remember what colors they are--orange star, blue moon, pink heart, red balloon, purple horseshoe, yellow pot of gold, green clover, and rainbow. The rainbow was the only one I couldn't figure out how to make for this cake. 

Marzipan is a sticky dough, so if your shapes aren't popping out of the cutter cleanly take a slightly damp (clean!) q-tip and lightly wiggle the shape free. I used about 8-9 of each shape on this cake. 

Since there were no purple horseshoe or red balloon cutters I improvised by cutting thin strips to make horseshoes and re-shaping a teardrop cutter into a balloon shape (below). 

Best part! Stick on your charms around the cake! They should stick without any help, but you can slightly dampen them with the back with a paper towel if you need to. 

Leftover cake = breakfast the next morning. 

Leftover cake = breakfast the next morning. 

<-- Here's the darling hostess Carey holding the cake! It was her birthday this week so it was a double celebration. Note the repurposed "0" candle with a sharpied "27" on it because #medschooldebt is real.  

Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day! Xx