Recipe by Orlie Perl

Layered Birthday Cake with an M&M Surprise

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Dairy Dairy
Medium Medium
25 Servings
2 Hours, 15 Minutes

This layered birthday cake will be your go-to cake for your family and friends. A sprinkled cake like this with a surprise inside is loved by everyone.

I made this cake for my niece’s first birthday. Her initials are M.M., so naturally, we made an M&M-themed party. This is a four-layer cake, and it is super easy to make. You’ll see.



  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 3 cups granulated sugar

  • 8 large eggs

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Gefen Vanilla Extract

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons Haddar Baking Powder

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 cups whole milk (2% or skim also fine)

  • 2 cups rainbow sprinkles


  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 9 cups powdered sugar, such as Gefen Confectioners’ Sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

  • 4 drops magenta gel food coloring

  • 4 drops teal gel food coloring


  • 1 cup M&M candies

  • sprinkles, for the outside of the cake

Special Equipment

  • 4 (9-inch) round cake pans

  • 4-inch cookie cutter

  • 8-inch cake board (10-inch also okay)

  • cake turntable (rotating cake stand)

  • offset spatula

  • cake scraper


Prepare the Cake


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease four (nine-inch) round cake pans.


In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar about two minutes, until light and fluffy.


Add eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract and mix on low until just combined, making sure not to overmix.


Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low and slowly pour in your milk. The batter should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter.


Turn off your mixer, and with a rubber spatula, fold in two cups of sprinkles.


Divvy up the batter evenly between the four cake pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Level the tops with a serrated knife. Next, take two of the cakes and cut a hole in the center using a four-inch cookie cutter.


Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze until you’re ready to frost.  

Prepare the Buttercream


In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.


Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until incorporated.


Add salt and heavy whipping cream. Mix on low until desired consistency is reached.



Put an eight-inch cake board onto your cake turntable. You can also use a 10-inch cake board, but with the eight-inch board, the cake will hide the board. (Pro tip: Put a damp paper towel between the board and turntable to prevent the board from sliding.)


Place a dollop of buttercream in the middle of the board and put one cake layer on top (not one of the layers with a hole in the middle). The buttercream will help keep the cake in place.


Add a generous amount of buttercream, about half a cup, to the top of the cake layer. Using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top. Don’t frost the sides of the cake just yet.


Next, add one of the cake layers with the hole in the middle. Frost the top evenly and repeat with the second layer that has a hole (which is the third layer of cake).


Fill the center of the cake with M&Ms until they reach the top, but do not overflow. We want to make sure the top layer lays flat. Because I made this for a baby girl’s birthday, I used a mix of pink, white, and red M&Ms, but you can use whichever colors and flavors you want. Cover the M&Ms with the final cake layer.



Add magenta and teal food coloring to the remaining buttercream. Add one drop of each at a time, mixing after each pair of drops, until you reach your desired color.


Add colored buttercream to the top of the cake and start spreading it around the top and sides. Scrape off any excess; you want a thin layer. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.


Once the thin buttercream layer has hardened, continue frosting until the cake is completely covered. If you have potholes in your cake, add extra buttercream to those spots and smooth it out with a cake scraper.


While the buttercream is still fresh, add sprinkles around the sides. To make this less messy, flip a cake pan upside down on a cookie sheet and transfer the cake from the turntable to the upside-down pan. The cookie sheet catches all the fallen sprinkles instead of them landing on the floor or counter. Easy cleanup!


Get the full tutorial at OrliesKitchen.com

Layered Birthday Cake with an M&M Surprise

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