We really have David Chang and Christina Tosi of the Momokuku restaurant group in NYC to thank for elevating breakfast cereal from a mere bowl of milk to high-end desserts. They’ve been serving cereal milk (you know the flavored milk at the end of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios) as panna cotta and soft serve ice creams at their Milk Bar to rave reviews. It’s created a bit of a sensation. I recently went to Travail, a local restaurant where the food is art and the chefs are entertainers, and what did I see on the pantry shelf, a box of Lucky Charms. We all have fond childhood memories of reading the box as we ate the contents, but most adults I know wouldn’t sit down to a bowl of it in the morning. But, as a dessert? You bet, that makes total sense to me.
General Mills sent me a big selection of their cereals and challenged me to think outside the box, beyond breakfast and sticky marshmallow bars (not that there is anything wrong with that either). I knew right away that Trix was going to be my muse. I always loved it as a kid. Everything from the silly rabbit commercials to that bright pink milk at the end of the bowl. I set out to create a cake using the bright colors and fruity flavors. For my first attempt I hoped to suspend the round cereal in cake batter to create a polka dot interior. As the cake baked I realized all the little colorful balls were floating to the top and I ended up with a layer of cereal confetti. It was pretty, but the cereal didn’t soften enough, so they were still crunchy and not a good texture in the cake. Then the perfect solution came to me…
I decided to grind the cereal into powder and fold it into a white cake batter to color and flavor each layer. I told my 13-year-old he could pick the movie if he separated an entire box of Trix by color.
He gladly set about separating the cereal into the 6 colors. When I was a kid Trix were a swirl of colors, but they’ve recently change the cereal, so there are 6 distinct colors and flavors (Fruity Yellow, Berry Purple, Tasty Orange, Blue Be-Zurple, Berry Green and Red Rooty-Tooty).
I used my coffee grinder to powder about 2 tablespoons worth of each color.
Then I mixed up the white cake batter. You can use a packaged cake mix, but I used this one from the Fanny Farmer Baking Book:
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cups cold water (if you are not adding the cereal to the recipe then just use 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons of each powdered Trix color (Fruity Yellow, Berry Purple, Tasty Orange, Blue Be-Zurple, Berry Green and Red Rooty-Tooty)
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F
Butter and line six 6-inch cake pans with parchment and then butter the parchment.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add each egg white one at a time and mix until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla. Alternate adding the flour and water, starting and ending with the flour (flour, water, flour, water, flour). Mix for 30 seconds after each.
Divide the batter into 6 bowls, add the powdered Trix cereal to each.
Mix until well blended. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pans.
Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pans.
Make the icing:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
To make the icing: combine the butter, cream, and vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the icing is smooth and thick enough to spread. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more cream.
Stack the cake layers with icing between each.
Cover the Trix cake with icing. Here’s a video on how to smoothly cover the cake. You can leave the cake simply frosted or decorate the outside with more cereal.
Use the remaining Trix to decorate the outside of the cake.
Once the cake is refrigerated the cereal loses its crunch, so you want to serve it the same day.