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Heavenly Candy Bar Nougat Cake

Southern cooks know a good cake when they see one and when they taste one! They specialize in towering layers of perfect crumbed sweetness filled with fruits, nuts, or whippy cream enveloped in swirls of frosting. Sunday afternoon dinner is a celebration of family, friends, and football. Cake is often at the center of the celebration.

A favorite southern cake in Mimi's Kitchen is a Southern Living delight. It is made by melting Milky Way candy bars in butter followed by sugar, buttermilk, and more butter. Southern Living suggests frosting the cake in a chocolate frosting but I prefer piling on Fluffernutter before covering the top with chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Like most vintage cakes the beauty of this one is its simplicity. Vintage home bakers rarely fussed with piping skills and expensive kitchen utensils. They made attractive and delicious cakes with what they had on hand.

Anyone can make attractive vintage cakes; no apologies or feeling sad because your cake decorating skills do not measure up to professional pastry chef standards.

The original recipe suggests baking this cake in three 9-inch round cake pans. I prefer baking it in two 9-inch rounds or in cupcakes. The two rounds naturally make thicker layers which bring out a richer nougat taste. Cupcakes are always fun and easy to serve.

So grab a bag of Milky Way Fun-Sized Bars and a container of Marshmallow Cream aka Fluff and make cake.

Heavenly Candy Bar Nougat Cake

9 Fun-Sized or 21 Mini Milky Way bars

½ cup butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1½ cups buttermilk

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10-12 miniature peanut butter cups

Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by first cutting a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper to fit into the bottom of your pan. To cut out your parchment paper simply trace the bottom of your cake pan onto parchment paper with a pencil, and cut along the line.

Use a pastry brush or paper towel to spread a layer of very soft butter on the bottom and sides of your cake pan. Line with the prepared round of parchment paper, smoothing out to remove any creases or air bubbles. Brush another layer of butter over the parchment paper. Add a couple tablespoons of flour and shake it around the pan until the interior surface is lightly and completely covered. Turn over the pan and firmly knock out any excess flour.

Set prepared pans aside.

Melt candy bars and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

Beat sugar and softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer about 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

In a medium sized bowl sift together flour and salt. In a liquid measuring cup stir together buttermilk and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in melted and cooled candy bar mixture and vanilla. Spoon batter into three (or two) greased and floured 9-inch cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes for three layers or 30-35 minutes for two layers. These times are approximate. Test for doneness by inserting a wooden pick into the center of a layer. The cake is done with the pick comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Mix the Fluffernutter frosting according to the recipe below and set aside until the layers are completely cooled.

When the layers are cool and the Fluffernutter is mixed then place a layer on a cake plate. Slip pieces of waxed paper between the layer and the platter to keep the platter clean from frosting. These papers will be pulled out when the cake is frosted, leaving a clean serving plate.

Use about one half of the frosting between the cake layers. Place final layer on bottom side up for a completely flat top. Smear a thin layer of Fluffernutter over the top and sides of the cake and then refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. This thin layer is called a crumb coat. It will protect your final swirled layer of frosting from picking up unsightly crumbs.

Finish your cake by swirling billowy layers of Fluffernutter over the top and down the sides of your cake. Pull the waxed paper strip away from your cake and throw away.

Top the cake with a mound of 10-12 coarsely chopped miniature peanut butter cups. It not only tastes great but it also serves as a warning to people who are allergic to peanuts. I find it is a good idea to clearly advertise that your baked goods contain known allergens such as peanuts and almonds if you are serving a crowd.

Fluffernutter Frosting

1 7-ounce container Marshmallow Creme

¾ cup smooth peanut butter

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1¾ cup confectioner’s sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2- 3 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and butter at low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium to thoroughly mix the sticky stuff. Add powdered sugar. To avoid it flying all over the kitchen, add some sugar and stir it in with a spatula and then use the mixer to finish the job. Add a tablespoon of milk; mix. Add more sugar and stir it in with a spatula before using the mixer. Add the rest of the sugar and then add just enough milk to make the frosting smooth and spreadable. Beat in the vanilla. Fluffernutter may be used on nougat, chocolate, or yellow cake or cupcakes.

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