Willy Wonka Birthday Cake

5 from 6 votes
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Willy Wonka colorful Birthday Cake with KitKat bars and green ribbon
Willy Wonka Cake

There is not a single possible way you can be looking at the picture of my latest Willy Wonka Cake  and be grumpy, so Happy Monday to all of you! I do apologize that you can’t reach through the screen and take a bite, or sneak a candy though, because this is one fun, happy cake! It’s neon and it’s here to stay, baby!

This latest creation came about when I found out that Mike’s friend at work, Phil, was turning a year older. We’ve witnessed  the Olympic Torch come through town (read it now, my funniest post EVER on this site) with him and his family, his lovely talented wife has painted the kids faces at my son’s birthday party and he and my husband generally get up to anything but work, at work.

So when we found out the day, I set about making a cake that sums his delightful character up.

Welcome to the Willy Wonka cake, for the big kid who hasn’t grown up yet.

close up of Willy Wonka Cake with KitKat bars and green ribbon

This was a seriously F-U-N cake to make, a good time, a hoot and a holler creating something so bright and colorful. Have I mentioned how easy and forgiving this cake is? Using the KitKat’s around the cake is something I saw a couple years ago on the interwebs and promptly tucked it into the back of my mind on those few grey cells that comprise the Make It Sometime List in my brain.

And it literally came to the forefront in a couple seconds when I was brainstorming of what to make for Phil. The cakes that did the rounds a few years back had M&M’s in them, which are also a great choice. And it was what I was initially going to do.

But while walking in the grocery store my eyes came to a halt on huge Willy Wonka Candy display. And the cake was born.

You need:

two layers of baked cake

9-10 packages of your choice of Wonka Candy

11-12 KitKat bars


First you need to bake up my favorite chocolate cake recipe, in two 9 or 10 inch pans.

round chocolate cake with Chocolate Buttercream Icing

I usually pre-bake the cake and freeze it, much easier to work with, especially when you have to trim it!

When you have the two layers baked up, make a batch of my Chocolate Buttercream Icing. The one batch is enough to frost the cake. Put a small middle layer of icing between the cakes and put one on top of the other. You DO need to take a knife and carve the sides of this cake to make sure that they are fairly even, otherwise the Kitkats won’t do a good job of standing straight along the edges. When that is done,  frost the sides and top. It doesn’t have to be pretty since we are covering up all the surfaces.

Take your 11 or 12 Kitkats, depending on the size of your cake and line them up on the outside of the cake like this.

A little trick here is to freeze the Kitkats, because if you don’t, you leave fingerprints on the chocolate outside. In order to avoid this, freeze them! It won’t effect the taste at all.

Ready your Wonka Candy! I had two different types of Gobstoppers and Runts.

Vertically lined up KitKat bars on the outside of the cake. Wonka Candy are ready in a red plate

Loosely wrap your ribbon around the KitKat….

Loosely wrapping the ribbon around the KitKat bars around the chocolate cake

And Pull! Pull! Pull! Until the Kitkat’s stand up straight and are tight against the cake. You can exert quite the pressure at this point without breaking them if you have a nice wide ribbon.

Tie it up tightly, helping push the KitKat’s into the icing to stick a bit better.

Pulling Until the Kitkat's stand up straight and are tight against the cake then tie it up tightly

Start filling up your cake top, which is the best part of this whole cake, what could be more fun than loading up a cake with candy?

filling up the cake with Wonka Candy

And here is the finished product!

Willy Wonka colorful Cake with KitKat bars and green ribbon

I played around with the candy, finally deciding that the bananas sticking up gave the top a nicer texture and more levels for eye candy.On another note, you can freeze the cake, then top it with candy, then return it to the freezer, which allows you to make it early but not have the candy get squishy from being on the cake too long. I did it overnight and it defrosted perfectly the next day, with a crunchy candy topping.

Have fun with this one folks, but keep the secret of how easy it is to make between us friends, deal?


The Nothing’s Better Than a Candy Cake Magpie

close up of Willy Wonka colorful Cake with KitKat bars and green ribbon


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 How to assemble a Willy Wonka Cake with a rich, sweet, dark, moist, best chocolate cake and Willy Wonka Runts candy and candy bars. #willywonka #cake

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Willy Wonka Cake

How to assemble a Willy Wonka Cake with a rich, sweet, dark, moist, best chocolate cake and Willy Wonka Runts candy and candy bars.
5 from 6 votes
Willy Wonka colorful Cake with KitKat bars and green ribbon
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder not Dutch processed
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla


  • Kick the tires and light the fires to 300 degrees. 
  • Get the chocolate and chop it up.
  • Melt the chopped up chocolate in the hot coffee until it is completely dissolved and set aside. 
  • Whisk together your dry ingredients. 
  • Beat your eggs for 2-3 minutes, until they are thick and lemon colored. 
  • Time to add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Once those are in, add the coffee/chocolate mixture slowly.
  • Then it's time for the dry ingredients, dump them in and mix at a moderate speed until they are combined completely. 
  • Grease and parchment line your cake pan.
  •   Bake at 300 degrees until done.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 506kcal, Carbohydrates: 81g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 504mg, Potassium: 333mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 54g, Vitamin A: 110IU, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 3.4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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  1. Janna says

    We were so worried! Our go-to chocolate cake has been your “old fashioned chocolate cake“ recipe and my daughter and I went to make it tonight and it was gone. 😲
    After a little hunting we are so glad to find the same cake recipe hidden in here! This is easily your best chocolate Cake recipe…..we love it and get RAVE reviews no matter how we ice or fill it. 🙂

  2. Nora says

    Can I use any other kind of drink other then coffee for this cake?

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