You’ll feel lucky with your first bite of Lucky Charms cereal milk cake! This delicious vanilla cake, made with cereal milk in the batter and topped with vanilla frosting is sure to please your inner child.
Darlings, have you ever baked with cereal milk? Ever since my first foray into cereal milk baking with this tres leches cake, I’ve wanted to use it more often. With Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner, and an impulse buy involving a 2-pound bag of marshmallows (more about that later), now seemed like the perfect time.
What is cereal milk?
Cereal milk, if you’re unfamiliar, is a mixture of milk infused with toasted cereal. The original idea was crafted by Christina Tosi, of MilkBar fame. It’s a good one, so of course, the baking community has embraced it!
For this cake recipe, I use Lucky Charms to fit the theme. You may substitute any other cereal if you’d prefer and omit the marshmallows. Or substitute any cereal you’d prefer and add the marshmallows. This is one of the few perks of adulthood.
To make the milk, you toast the cereal, let it cool, and soak it in milk. Strain the cereal from the milk, and that’s it! You can even make this a few days before you plan to use it.
What does cereal milk cake taste like?
This was the Godfather’s first question when I talked about this recipe. We’ve yet to try the original MilkBar cake! Based on our experience with the tres leches, I figured it would be vanilla with a twist, and that’s exactly it.
The cereal-infused milk adds a lovely toastiness to the vanilla cake batter. It makes the cake nostalgic and new all at once. The testing panel for this recipe included 3 generations of visiting family and got thumbs up all around. Pretty exciting if you ask me.
So if you want to know what this tastes like, it’s a toasted vanilla cake with classic vanilla buttercream.
Decorating tips (and a note about the marshmallows)
Make the cereal milk a day in advance if possible. If you’re like me, you’re busy, and separating the steps really helps. Normally, I make thin layers of cake with lots of filling, but a concern of mine was making the cake too sweet. Two layers of cake were perfect, but you could probably go up to 3 if you wanted.
I paired this cake flavor with a classic American buttercream frosting. The frosting is vanilla flavored, but I did use an extra teaspoon or two of cereal milk I had on hand to thin it a little and really emphasize the cereal milk flavor.
Since I used Lucky Charms cereal to make my cereal milk, I thought it would be fun to decorate the outside of the cake with marshmallows. Of course, I wanted extra marshmallows and – since I couldn’t find the brand-name marshmallow bag – bought online.
In case you didn’t know, a 2-pound bag of dehydrated marshmallows is HUGE. Expect to see more cereal marshmallow recipes in the near future.
As a side note, I’ve found plenty of other uses for these marshmallows too, including math sorting and graphing activities with the littles and some art. So maybe this wasn’t such a crazy impulse purchase after all!
Just be sure to add the marshmallows to the cake the day you plan to serve. Over time, they will soften as the dehydrated marshmallows absorb moisture from the frosting.
How to make a rainbow inside a cake
Aren’t the slices in this cake beautiful? I love adding fun little surprises in cakes when it matches the theme. A rainbow definitely matches this cake’s theme.
To make a rainbow effect inside the cake, we first think about how we plan to cut the cake. Square catering slices don’t work as well here; this effect is designed to work best for wedge slices.
Start by dividing your filling frosting into multiple bowls. You’ll need less frosting for your center color and a little more for the outer color. Pipe the colors in rings to fill the center of your cake. If you have more than 2 layers of cake, make sure you plan for enough frosting for each layer of filling.
I used the extra filling frosting to make the multicolored swirls on top.
You can, of course, choose to make classic rainbow colors, but I went for a slightly different color palette today and love how it turned out!
Happy cake baking, darlings! If you love this recipe, please share it and tag me. Your beautiful creations always make me smile.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups marshmallow cereal (like Lucky Charms)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups cereal milk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 pound unsalted butter, softened (see notes)
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or reserved cereal milk if you have it!)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- food coloring (optional)
- additional cereal marshmallows for decorating (optional)
- Make the cereal milk: Toast cereal in a 300 F oven for 10 minutes. Cool completely, then combine with the milk and allow to sit at least 30 minutes. Place a fine-mesh sieve or colander over a large bowl and strain the cereal from the milk. If you aren't using the milk immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter and flour 2 8" cake pans. Set aside.
- Cream the sugar and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add about a third of your flour to the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Follow with a cup of the cereal milk, then another third of the flour. Stir the batter until just combined after each addition, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the remaining cup of cereal milk and then finish with the last cup of flour.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the pans.
- Bake 38-43 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean or with only a moist crumb or two.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cake to sit for 10 minutes before turning cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting (see notes).
- Make the frosting: Once your cake is cool, make the frosting. Cut your softened butter into cubes and place it into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the salt and powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, stirring on low to incorporate. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Once you reach 4 cups of sugar, add the cereal milk or vanilla extract. Stir the frosting on low 5 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Add more sugar if the frosting isn't thick enough, or milk if it's too thick.
- If you are making the rainbow effect in the middle of the cake, remove some of your frosting and divide it into as many different small bowls as you need. Color the frosting in your desired colors. Once you level your first layer of cake, pipe the colored frosting in rings to make the "rainbow" effect in the filling once sliced. Top with the second leveled cake layer, then continue with frosting and decorating as desired.
- Toasting the cereal is an optional step, but it makes a huge impact on the depth of cereal milk flavor in the cake. The toasted cereal will provide more flavor to the cereal milk than untoasted.
- To keep the cake extra moist, I like to turn my cake layers out onto plastic wrap and wrap them. I then let them cool in the plastic wrap for a few hours, usually overnight, and then I decorate.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1043Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 480mgCarbohydrates: 196gFiber: 2gSugar: 164gProtein: 7g
These nutrition values are estimates. Exact values will vary depending on the ingredients, brands, and quantities used.