Jelly beans are at the front of my mind this time of year. They are little, sweet, and can really pack a punch when showcased in a substantial way. Covering a cake with them brings a huge burst of color onto the table.
In a simple repeating rainbow pattern, the jelly beans will make a cheery showing for any spring gathering. Covering a cake in candy is so basic, anyone can do it! No master chef skills required… so bake one up and serve a sweetly bright cake that your guests will adore this spring.
To make the 6-layer jelly bean cake you will need; your favorite cake mix doubled, or two boxes of cake mix (any flavor), and 1-1/2 to 2 lbs of assorted jelly beans.
For the whipped cream frosting make sure to have on hand; 2 cups heavy cream (chilled), 1/2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Make the cake following the recipe instructions. Divide batter evenly into 4 pans (we used a 6×3 round cake pans) and bake 40-45 minutes; check for doneness with a toothpick.
Allow the four layers of cakes to cool. Remove any domes from the tops of the cakes. For this cake, we used 3 layers and saved the 4th for snacking on later! With a sharp knife, cut each of the 3 layers evenly in half; you’ll end up with 6 layers of cake.
While the cakes are cooling make the whipped cream frosting. Pour the cream, sugar, and vanilla into a deep bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer attached with the balloon whisk. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, about 10 minutes. It must be stiff enough to spread. Use immediately. If the frosting begins to soften, place the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes, then whip again until soft peaks form.
You’re ready to frost! Place a cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Put strips of parchment under this bottom layer so the frosting won’t get on the plate as you frost.
Spread a thin layer of frosting on first layer. Place 2nd layer directly over the first and again, spread frosting on it. Continue with the remaining 4 cake layers, applying frosting in between each layer and on the top. Apply a crumb coating to the cake and place in fridge to set and chill for at least a half hour.
Apply the final layer of frosting. Place in fridge again to set and chill for 15-30 minutes.
Now we’re ready to place the jelly beans on the cake! We went with a rainbow pattern for our cake; each column was one color. Decide which color to start with and grab a handful of those jelly beans.
Beginning at the top of the cake, take one jelly bean and gently press it into the side so that it stays in the frosting. Work your way down, slightly placing the jelly beans at an angle, and allowing them to touch each other. Continue with the next color/column and work your way around the cake, repeating the color pattern until the entire cake is covered.
When you’re done decorating, put the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to slice into it. Have fun and try out different colors, shapes and patterns. Creating a chevron pattern all around a cake using black and white jelly beans would be pretty. A cake in one bright, solid color will be a show stopper for a birthday celebration, and our simple rainbow design is perfect for any spring gathering.
Photography and styling by Athena Plichta for A Subtle Revelry.