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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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Megan Specht says

    So excited to make this for my son’s 7th birthday this weekend! Does it matter what kind of roast for the coffee?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Nope, any non-flavoured coffee will do!5 stars

  2. Theo says


    I tried this recipe several times already it turned out great, thanks…everyone loved it.
    Im thinking of using the basic chocolate recipe for the Willy Wonka to create a red velvet, will this work out if I add red food colouring to it?



  3. Gemma says

    hi this recipe sounds amazing, sorry if I sound thick but I’m new to baking.. so is that 11 cups of coffee? or 2 cups of coffee? and is that 11 teaspoons of salt? am i being thick? i’m sorry if its clear and i’ve not read it properly! xx

    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 process
    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

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      The slashes can be confusing, those are all one quarter, , one and a half cups, etc. So coffee is 1 and a half cups!5 stars

  4. lucy says

    hi! i wanted to make this for my classes end of the year party. how long do you bake the cake and will the coffee make the cake bitter?

  5. Tracy says

    I have made this chocolate cake recipe a handful of times. It is absolutely the best chocolate cake recipe, hands down. I will never bother with another recipe again, because this one can’t be beat. The chocolate icing is to die for as well. Thank you so much for sharing. I do find the cake a bit tricky to cook properly…sometimes successful and sometimes it dropped on me. But even though it might have dropped, the taste was just as good. Now, I’m planning to try cupcakes with this recipe. I’m wondering if I should keep the temperature at 300 degrees or raise it slightly?5 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      I would raise the temperature, give it a try! I’ve raised it before to 350 and it’s worked out!5 stars

  6. marisolc28 says

    Hi. I love this idea. I made one b4 but was from the box and bought frosting so I’m looking forward to making all this from scatch now my question is what kind of coffee can u use or does it really matter? Thanks.

  7. ezinneeze says

    Hello, please I want to make a similar cake for a number 3 and 0 pans(8 by 12inches each) how many kitkats Will I need and how many grams of candy will I need?

  8. Kermie4 says

    Wow!:)  I made this cake for my sons 15th birthday!:)  It was soooooo good!:) Very easy to make too!  I did freeze the cake as recommended, much easier to work with!!! He choose skittles for the candy in the middle!!!  Also used the chocolate buttercream icing!…Super easy to make!!!  Cake was a big hit!!! Thanks for the recipes!:)

  9. Canberra7 says

    Hi there… Love your website! I’m going to attempt to make the Willy Wonka cake for my son’s 7th birthday next week 🙂 How long approximately does the cake take to bake??… I’m an inexperienced baker!!

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Canberra7  Check the cake at 30 minutes, a knife inserted in the center should come out clean and the top should spring back when pressed on.

      • Canberra7 says

        Hi there. The cake was a big hit at my son’s birthday yesterday! The kids loved it & there were lots of compliments from the adults who had a piece….Thank you for the great idea & recipe!

  10. Gordon Perks says

    Just think of the sugar rush for the kids. They will be hopping until their next birthday.

  11. Shubhi Sinha says

    It’s my parents’ 20th anniversary tomorrow! Think baking this would be appropriate? 😉

  12. OutbackMum says

    Hi, I am in a remote area in Australia and as such, there is only so much I am able to buy up here. I am about to do a 160km round trip tomorrow as my sons 6th birthday party is Sunday and we need to get everything tomorrow. Does your cake recipe make enough fo the 2 cakes that are iced together?

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      OutbackMum Yes, it’s a very large cake batter recipe! Good luck, I’m sure he’ll love it!

      • OutbackMum says

        thekitchenmagpie OutbackMum I would like to thank you for several reasons. Firstly, you actually replied to my question and I was able to get everything i needed. I didn’t think you would as this recipe was posted a couple of years ago. Secondly, I made the cake and chocolate butter cream icing (sorry – frosting) exact to recipe and they were perfect. I had to “Australianise” it as I could not get Wiily Wonka candy at short notice but subsituted M’nM’s and Freckles to top the cake (Kit Kats are everywhere). 13 6yr olds loved it and 12 adults did too (only as we were serving cake at party pick up time). The only issue was it was 41 degrees C here  and I think that converts to about 105 degrees F so slight melting when cutting cake. Thirdly, I have since looked at more of your recipes and I think I will be doing a lot more baking. And, last but not least, I had to pass your recipe, website, blog on to 8 other parents today and they are excited as I am. Thankyou so much for what you do. 

        • thekitchenmagpie says

           I’m so glad it worked out for you! I do try to answer all the questions I get on here because I know that everyone is just looking for honest help! I only wish it was 41 C here…I’ll trade you for my -10 and snow! Thanks so much for the lovely words and passing on my site, I always appreciate it!

  13. Tashorchant says

    How long should I freeze the Kit kats for? Thank you 🙂

  14. Cynthia Wilkie says

    How long do you bake the cake for at 300 degrees?? Would you use a dark colored pan or light? Thanks!! My son loves WIlly Wonka and Kit Kat…he’s going to love this cake for his 7th birthday!!

  15. George Bojlevski says

    your the best. awesome image. save time. where did you buy willy lollied?

  16. Joette Worden-Foster says

    My niece is the lead in the willy wonka play…I can’t wait to make this for her.

  17. Melanie says

    This is awesome! I know just the person to make this for, a real candy lover.

  18. DebTheLocavore says

    My 25yr old husband just said that he wants this for his next birthday 🙂

    • Karlynn says

      The guy I made it for must be close to 40 😉 It’s such a fun cake and easy as heck to make!

  19. Kendra says

    Very cool cake! I think I may have to make this for Rand’s birthday.. unless of course you are taking orders…

    • Karlynn says

      It’s soo easy to make Kendra! Send me pics too and hug the birthday boy from us!

  20. Carol says

    I super love this cake!!!!!
    it’s like a dream come true cake! 🙂

    • Karlynn says

      Aw thanks! It’s such a fun cake to make as well. Easy and forgiving of mistakes.

  21. Shae says

    Love the look of this cake!! My son will love this for his birthday. When you cut the cake with the candies fall off the cake or will they stick to the icing. I am worried that once you start cutting the cake it will become a big mess.

    • Karlynn says

      If you do a thick layer of icing on the top and press in as many as possible, it will help hold them in place. They DO fall off as you cut, but you just place them on top of the plate/cake and truly, no one minds 😉

  22. Stuart Rubenstein says

    Thanks for sharing such a cool recipe like this!! My wife loves your blog and recipe.


  23. Brandon says

    This is such a great idea, I have to try it sometime soon! I might try to substitute the candy pieces on top for Whoppers however, I don’t care much for those candies you have chosen (although they look cool!). @BMBills6:twitter 

  24. Lael says

    That is the COOLEST CAKE EVER!
    It looks fancy smancy(those kit kats are so elegant,oddly enough) but the colours
    are so fun!

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