It is not for the person who is dieting. It is not for someone who is trying to stay away from sugar. But if you have a sweet tooth, this decadent dessert might be just what you want to top off a meal and share with friends.
I was introduced to Milky Way Cake when we lived in Waco, Texas. We frequented a locally owned sandwich and sweets shop and this was one of their signature desserts. I found a recipe in one of my old cookbooks and I added it to my offerings for family get-togethers. Then I became gluten free. No more Milky Way Cake for me. Fast forward a decade and my memory of a favorite dessert just wouldn’t let go. I pulled out that recipe again and worked on making it gluten free. It was good, but I knew I could make it better. After many tries (and too many slices of Milky Way Cake) I think I finally have success!
This Milky Way Cake is full of flavor and it is still completely gluten free. Gather your ingredients and let’s bake!
First you need the right Bundt-style pan. Not just any pan will do for this cake. You will need the large size that holds 12 or 12 1/2 cups. That’s big but it makes enough cake to serve the neighborhood! If you have a standard 10-cup Bundt style pan, don’t fret. Just make some cupcakes.
And then you need the right candy bar. That was a tall order. Standard Milky Way candy bars are not gluten free. One of the ingredients listed on the label is barley malt. Barley malt in a candy bar makes no sense to me but I am not the food scientist. The original bars work just fine if you don’t need to be really careful about gluten. But if careful is part of your GF menu, then you need Milky Way Simply Caramel. I was having a hard time finding them until I did a Google search and learned that Mars has a web page where you can enter information and they will tell you where to find a product. Using that resource I learned that every Walgreen’s in my area sold Milky Way Simply Caramel. Problem solved!
The next step is to prepare the pan. I never liked coating a pan with solid shortening. It makes such a mess! Then I discovered the simple idea of using a sandwich bag. Slip your hand in the bag. Grab a chunk of solid shortening and go for it! Every crevice of that Bundt pan can be covered with shortening and your hand doesn’t get covered at the same time. When done, just turn it inside out and toss it in the trash. And you thought you couldn’t learn anything new. Look at what just happened!
After coating with solid shortening, throw some GF flour on the pan. I mean that in a literal way. Sometimes tossing the flour to the center portion of the pan is the best way to cover it completely. Use a spoon or your hand to toss the flour and make sure it covers the entire pan. When it looks like every crevice is covered, turn it upside down and tap it against the sink or some parchment paper on the counter to get rid of excess flour. Done! Now set it aside and get started with the sweet stuff!
Using a microwave-safe container, heat 6 Milky Way bars and a stick of butter until they can be mixed together thoroughly. The mixture needs to cool just a bit before you add it to the batter, so doing this step first gives it time to cool down. Because I used a wooden spoon, I could even keep it in the glass bowl while it heated. That makes it easier to stir every 30-60 seconds.
Let’s talk about getting the right amount of each dry ingredient. Measuring the flour correctly is crucial–even more with gluten free flour than with wheat flour. While you can sift the flour, lightly spoon it into a dry measuring cup, then level with a knife, the best way is to use a scale. I know what you are thinking. “Another tool to find room for in my already crowded kitchen.” ” I have been baking without a scale for years and I can do just fine without it.” That’s what I thought too. But trust me, it is a tool you won’t regret learning to use. It has made a huge difference in the quality of my baking since I started using it. Just try it; you will like it! For this recipe I used the scale for my GF flour and the sugar.
Make sure your butter for this step is at room temperature. That doesn’t mean that you have heated it up in the microwave and let it melt. Melted butter is not the same as room temperature butter. I let my butter sit on the counter (or in the mixing bowl) for at least an hour. Then I add the sugar and cream as well as I can. This step calls for a lot more sugar than butter and you won’t be able to get it “fluffy”. But you definitely want it to be mixed. You can get it started while you are measuring the flour. That should be the right amount of time for a good “creaming”.
Now we want to add the eggs. There is a trick for that too. Even though you are adding the eggs individually, you can put all of the eggs in a cup with a spout and pour each one into the mixing bowl separately. Voila! Something else you learned today!
Don’t forget to mix well after each egg is added. The mixing adds air and functions as part of the leavening. When all of the eggs are added, you can begin the next step. When a recipe gives you this instruction: “add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately” this is what it means. Add 1/3 of the dry, 1/2 of the liquid, 1/3 of the dry, 1/2 of the liquid, and 1/3 of the dry. If you didn’t take home ec, you might not know that. But now you do, so take your new knowledge to the mixer and start mixing.
After you add the sweet stuff and the pecans, it is going to be tempting to lick the beater and the spatula. But I promise you will want all of that good stuff to be in the cake. Put it all in the pan and let it rest. Gluten free flour works best when it has had a chance to absorb more liquid. So let it rest for a bit. You can rest too. You deserve it.
The cake has cooled. You added a heavy glaze and some extra candy to decorate the top. Now it is time to reap your reward. Stay calm and eat cake!