Candy Bar Cake

May 08

My new Candy Bar Cake is sure to knock your socks off with layers of chocolate cake baked on a shortbread cookie crust, filled with peanut butter nougat, chopped roasted peanuts, and salted caramel, and topped with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache.

Birthday Cake

I turned 35 last week! Another year older, another year wiser (I’m hoping), and another year of making my own birthday cake 🙂

It’s true. I make my own birthday cake – every year – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, last year, however, I did let my son Westin make a cake for me… but I also made myself a cake. I couldn’t help it. It’s something I love to do. Plus, two is always better than one, right?!

When planning my cake, I ran some ideas by my bestie, and one of my favorite taste testers, Lisa. We have similar taste when it comes to sweets, so I knew if my idea sounded good to Lisa, it would be a hit. Among my grand cake ideas was a candy bar inspired cake – something sweet and salty, with a combination of textures and flavors.  

Candy Bar Cake

I love so many candy bars but narrowed down the inspiration for this cake to two of my all-time favorites – Twix and Peanut Butter Snickers. I love the shortbread cookie inside the Twix bar, so I baked my favorite chocolate cake on top of a the shortbread cookie crumbs I used in my Samoa Cake.

To fill this cake like a Twix and Peanut Butter Snickers, I used Milk Bar’s peanut butter nougat recipe with roasted peanuts and a homemade salted caramel sauce. The combination is truly incredible! I then topped the cake with my favorite peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache and tons of Snickers.

This cake is a serious winner! In fact, both my mom and Lisa claimed it as their new number one cake!

Hope you love it as much as we do!


Candy Bar Cake





Yield One 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Chocolate cake layers baked on a shortbread cookie crust, filled with peanut butter nougat, roasted peanuts and salted caramel, and topped with a whipped peanut butter frosting and a chocolate drip. 




For the Shortbread Cookie Crust

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups, minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water or hot coffee

For the Peanut Butter Nougat (recipe adapted from Milk Bar)

  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup creamy Skippy peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Salted Caramel

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt

For the Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe adapted from Annie's Eats)

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch of coarse salt

For the Chocolate Drip

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


For the Shortbread Cookie Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line each pan with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes until creamy. Stir in the flour. If the mixture is too crumbly, you can add another tablespoon of butter.
  3. Evenly divide the shortbread cookie crumbs into each cake pan. Using the back of a spoon, press the shortbread cookie crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top. 

For the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. 
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for about 30 seconds.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients and whisk for a few seconds.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Once all the wet ingredients are added, continue to mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 15 to 30 seconds. Don't over beat this batter. It will be thin.
  5. Pour the batter evenly onto the already baked shortbread crusts (about 15 to 16 ounces of batter in each pan). Bake the cake for 23 to 25 minutes.

For the Peanut Butter Nougat

  1. Combine the first measures of sugar (4 tablespoons) and water (3 tablespoons) in a small saucepan. Gently stir together until it feels like wet sand. Do the same thing with the second measures of sugar (6 tablespoons) and water (3 tablespoons) in another small saucepan.
  2. Place both saucepans on the stove and begin to heat them up. Heat the first saucepan (the one with 4 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons water) over medium heat. Heat the second saucepan (the one with 6 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons water) over medium low heat. Heat the first sugar water mixture to 115 degrees C (239 degrees F), keeping track of the temperature with an instant-read or candy thermometer.
  3. While the sugar is heating up, whip the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until soft peaks form. If the egg whites reach medium soft peaks before the first sugar hits 115 degrees C (239 degrees F), slow your mixer down and let the sugar catch up. Or, if you notice that the sugar is nearly at 115 degrees C (239 degrees F) and the egg whites are still a ways from becoming soft peaks, turn the heat way down under the first measurement of sugar water. Ideally, you want the egg whites to reach a soft peak at the same time the sugar water hits 115 degrees C (239 degrees F).
  4. Once the first sugar measurement reaches this temperature, remove it from the heat and very carefully pour it into the egg whites while the mixer is on low. 
  5. When all of the sugar is successfully added to the egg whites, turn the mixer speed back up and turn the heat under the second sugar water mixture to medium. You know what this mixture of sugar water to reach 120 degrees C (248 degrees F). Once it reaches this temperature, remove it from the heat and very carefully pour it into the egg white mixture. Let the egg white mixture whip until cool. 
  6. Once the egg white mixture has reached room temperature, turn the mixer off and fold in the peanut butter and chopped peanuts. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. 

For the Salted Caramel

  1. Mix sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring the water and sugar mixture to boil over medium heat, but DO NOT STIR. (Stirring encourages crystallization). Let the mixture cook until it caramelizes into a golden brown color. It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.
  3. Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Pour in just a tiny bit at a time, especially at the beginning, and mix to combine. You can start adding more and more as you go along.
  4. Mix in salt and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Set the caramel sauce to the side and let cool to room temperature before using.


  1. Combine the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until light, fluffy and stiff peaks form, being careful not to over mix.
  2. Transfer the whipped cream to a separate bowl. In the now empty bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar to the bowl and mix in, slowly at first until incorporated, then increasing the mixer speed to high. Blend in the vanilla extract and salt, and continue to whip on high speed until very fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 
  4. Use a large spatula to gently fold about a half of the whipped cream into the peanut butter frosting. Once the first addition has been evenly incorporated, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain.


  1. In a microwave safe bowl, pour the cream over the chocolate chips and heat for about 45-60 seconds. Stir, and if needed, heat for another 30 seconds to melt the chocolate chips completely. Let cool slightly before using.


  1. Spread a small dollop of frosting on your cake board. Place the first cake layer on the board, with the shortbread cookie crust on the bottom.
  2. Spread about half of the nougat filling on top of the cake layer. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure it is level. Drizzle some of the salted caramel over the nougat.
  3. Place the second cake layer, shortbread cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the nougat and caramel. Repeat step 2.
  4. Place the final cake layer, shortbread cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the second layer of nougat and caramel. If the cake feels too unstable to crumb coat, place the naked cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set the fillings and stabilize the cake.
  5. You'll then spread a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake to lock in any crumbs. This is called the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure the crumbs get locked into this coat of frosting. After the frosting is set, continue to frost the cake with the remaining peanut butter frosting. 
  6. After the cake is frosted, chill it in the freezer for another 1o to 15 minutes before adding the chocolate drip. 

Courses Dessert

Cuisine Cake

15 thoughts on “Candy Bar Cake

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  1. Hi! I’m trying to decide which of your cakes to make for a family get together. I love your cakes and have made several. I need to make it and assemble it ahead of time. I really want to make this cake, but just curious if you knew how well the nougat freezes? I think everything else would freeze well, but I’m not sure about that. What do you think?

  2. I made the chocolate drip, but it was so thin and drilled all the way down the cake so I had to take it off ágain 🙁 Any suggestions ?

    1. What kind of chocolate did you use? Milk chocolate gets super runny and only needs 1/4 cup cream to 1 cup chips, but dark chocolate or semi sweet chips needs a bit more. I usually do 3/4-1cup cream to 1 cup chips. You can use less cream next time and also let it cool even longer. It thickens as it cools.

  3. “I made this once for a family gathering and now everyone insists that it be at every gathering! It’s so easy; you use a box cake mix! For chopping the chocolate bars, I put them in the freezer, then hit them with a hammer while still in the wrapper”

  4. I just want to say, I just discovered your site, and all of your cakes are just absolutely breathtaking! I am making a Samoa cookie cake, taking bits and pieces from different sources. I am going to use your idea of baking the cake layers on top of shortbread crusts, like this candy bar cake recipe. For the shortbread recipe, it seems like there is too much flour for the amount of butter, 3 cups to 12 tablespoons. Are those measurements corrent? It just seems too dry based on my previous experience with shortbread?