Gender Reveal M&M Cake

I've been super excited to share this gender reveal M&M cake!
We found out early thanks to genetic screening testing, which has the baby's sex as a bonus.  I was dying to know if the baby would be a boy or girl; while I primarily wanted a healthy baby, I was hoping a little bit for a girl because the clothes / decorations would be fun, and we had a girl's name picked out very easily (we couldn't agree on a boy's name).

We had to play quite a bit of phone tag with the office for the results (this took days!) as we kept missing each other. When they said "healthy baby girl," I couldn't help but tear up a little bit with relief that the genetic screen was clear.
Even though we weren't going to have a big gender reveal party, we wanted to let our families know in a fun way, and I knew I wanted it dessert related of course.
I asked B if I should do an ombre cake or an M&M cake for the gender reveal, and he of course wanted the M&M cake ("That one *he points to Pinterest pic* ... with all the M&M's epically gushing out!!" was the way he phrased it)

Turns out it's hard to find pink M&M's, so we had to to go on a bit of a trek around town, but I think it was well worth it to get actually pink M&Ms instead of using red. We ended up going to party city because normal groceries and drugstores didn't carry uniquely colored M&Ms, and I didn't want to buy a huge pack from Amazon.
Recipe adapted from Liv for Cake and Food Network

I originally wanted to make Swiss Merengue buttercream, but it didn't turn out sadly (I wasted over an 1 hour beating it without peaks forming), so I made do with my backup American buttercream cream recipe. I think it was because I didn't have a stand mixer, only a electric hand mixer which doesn't generate the same speed. 

Oh well, I still think it turned out pretty, especially with the colored piping and my little DIY pennant sign (made of chopsticks, floss, tape, and leftover scrapbook paper).
For the actual gender reveal, since we were so far away from family, we just had a massive group Facetime / Skype session.

We told everyone wore wear pink or blue clothing to show their guess for the baby's gender - funnily enough, all the women wore pink and all the men wore blue!
We cut the cake and presto! Pink M&Ms! We cannot wait to welcome our baby girl <3

Gender Reveal M&M Cake


Ingredients
VANILLA CAKE
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

BUTTERCREAM
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
pink and blue gel food coloring

ASSEMBLY
3/4 cup M&Ms, to fill
1/4 cup strawberry jam

Directions
VANILLA CAKE
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 6" cake rounds and line with parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well to mix. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, hand mixing to avoid overbeating.

Bake for 35mins or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean  (of note I used two diff pans and one pan took 45 min to bake so base it on when the center comes out clean) . Let cakes cool, remove from pans, then slice the dome tops to level them off.

BUTTERCREAM
With a mixer, cream together sugar and butter. Add vanilla and cream and beat, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency. Set aside (will be white).

ASSEMBLY
With the bottom cake level completely cut out a 3 inch circle in the middle using a knife. Remove the center. With the top cake level, cut out a partial 3 inch circle halfway, making sure not to completely go through the cake, and remove the center part that's cut out.

Place the bottom layer on your plate or serving platter (you will not be able to lift the cake once assembled). Fill cake cavity in the bottom layer with M&M candies generously.  Generously spread strawberry jam between the cake layers. and place the top cake level on top, making sure the cavities line up and all the M&Ms are inside.

Set aside two small buttercream portions and add pink food coloring to one and blue food coloring to the other. With your white buttercream frosting, apply a thin crumb coat layer to cover the cake to serve as a base. Set in the fridge for 30 min. Remove the cake, and finish frosting the white layer. Using a 1M tip and piping bag, pipe the pink and blue frosting. When you cut the cake to serve, the M&Ms will spill out!

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