Retro Desserts – Milky Way Cake

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Yes, Milky Way Cake. Seriously, what kind of crazy person would melt 8 candy bars with a stick of butter and fold them into a cake batter containing a full cup of shortening? I don’t know who gave my mom this recipe or who created it, but they are my hero. In fact, I’m giving up this whole cooking thing to personally finance and manage their campaign for President.

This recipe was at the top of my mother’s recipe box, wrinkled and flecked with bits of flour and who knows what else. All evidence of a recipe well-lived. It produces a cake that despite all the candy bars, is surprisingly light. It’s the frosting that turns it into an insanely rich confection. If you have a favorite chocolate frosting recipe, give it a try but we always had it filled and frosted with two jars of milk chocolate frosting. It’s so rich that only a ginormous dollop of non-dairy whipped topping (you know the one) can temper the decadence. It occurs to me every time I make this cake that I should whip up a batch of whipped cream to serve with the cake but I can never bring myself to do it. The cake and the Cool Whip (you knew all along) go together, at least in my mind. It’s like eating a plateful of my chocolate childhood and I don’t want to mess with it. If you do, let me know how it turns out.

I’ll be celebrating National Dessert Month by opening up my mother’s recipe box and sharing one of my favorite retro dessert recipes each week.


You’ll need twice as many of the small candy bars if you don’t have regular-sized bars on hand.

Be careful not to overbake these. Because the batter is divided between three pans, you’ll have thinner layers that will bake quickly.

Let cake cook completely before frosting. Warm cakes will melt the frosting. 


8-inch cake pans

Small Pot

Wooden Spoons


Mixing Bowl or Stand Mixer

Frosting Spatula

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  1. This looks great, I love Milky Way bars. But I need clarification. In step three the directions say, “Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Combine shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla in bowl of mixer and mix until just blended.” However, step four says to add the candy mixture then. Which one is the right time to add the candy, butter, and pecan mixture?

    In step three it says, “ Combine shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla in bowl of mixer and mix until just blended.”. But step four says, “…Add flour and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla.” Am I supposed to split the vanilla and add one teaspoon at each location?

    This looks so good I really want to get it right. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

    • Hi Gary,
      Sorry for the recipe confusion! I updated the recipe to make the steps clearer. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you love this cake as much as we do!
      Chef Danielle

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