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Illusion cake | gravity defying cake | Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins

The illusion cake | gravity-defying cake is an excellent idea for a kid's birthday party. You can also create gravity-defying cakes for grown-ups.

Frosting Prep time - 15-30 minutes | 2, layer 9-inch cakes, yields 12 slices | 4, layer 9-inch cakes, yields 20 slices

Course: Dessert
Keyword: gravity defying cake, illusion cake, m&m cake
  • 2 and 3/4 cups or (330g) all-purpose flour / maida
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks + 2 tablespoons or (226 g + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 and 3/4 cup or (350g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cup (300ml) whole milk
For Marble Cake:
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk
Swiss Meringue Buttercream: (Good for 2 layer 9 inch cake)(For 4 layer, double the quantity)
  • 4 teaspoons meringue powder or 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup or (200g) granulated sugar
  • 4 sticks butter or (1 lb) or (450g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar if using meringue powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For Illusion
  • 3 bamboo skewers or similar stick, I taped 3 bamboo skewers together
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips melted
  • 1 and 1/2 cups m&ms + 1 small empty m&m pack
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line two 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper.

  2. Sift flour + baking powder + baking soda + salt and keep aside. (This step is important to get an airy texture)

  3. Cream butter for 2-3 minutes on medium high speed. To this add oil + sugar and beat at the same speed for additional 2-3 minutes, scraping off the sides till the mixture is light and fluffy.

  4. Add eggs one by one, scraping off the sides. In the end, add vanilla extract and beat well till the mixture incorporates well but do not overbeat.

  5. To this add flour in three batches alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. (Again do not overbeat, but mix well till everything incorporates well.
  6. Pour into 2 greased 9 inch cake pans.

  7. Mix cocoa + milk into a paste without any lumps. Pour into a circular motion over the cake, Take a spoon or a fork and create swirls on the cake.

  8. Bake for about 30-35 minutes till the top is golden brown and till a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

  9. Frost the cake once the cake is completely cooled.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:
  1. (With MERINGUE POWDER) In a mixing bowl, mix meringue powder with 3 tablespoons warm water and cream of tartar and start beating with a whisk attachment on high. Tiny bubbles will form. Add sugar and keep beating on high till the sugar melts and the meringue retains its shape. (When you stop the mixer, the meringue shouldn't cave in.)

  2. (With EGG WHITES) In a mixing bowl, add egg whites and sugar. Keep this over a bowl of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water) and whisk it continuously till the mixture is warm to touch, the sugar melts and the temperature of the egg mixture reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bowl on the stand mixer and with a whisk attachment whisk till the mixture is glossy and stiff peak forms. Once the bowl is cold to touch, start adding butter.

  3. Add 1 stick of butter at a time, beating on medium. Add vanilla and beat well till the mixture is very light and creamy. Once you finish adding the butter, change the whisk to a paddle attachment and beat on low till the frosting is really light and to get rid of the air bubbles.

Recipe Notes

You can bake this in a single 9*3 inch cake pan, and cut it into two for a layer cake. Baking time will be around 50-60 minutes.

For the chocolate cake, I used Hershey's chocolate cake recipe.

After adding the butter, it can look curdled, but keep beating and within sometime the frosting starts looking light.

This frosting can take quite time if using a hand beater. But if using a stand mixer, after every step, you can walk away and keep an eye in between.

If you are worried about eggs not getting cooked well, use meringue powder.
1 teaspoon meringue powder = 1 egg white

The frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or unto a month in the freezer. Before using, let the frosting come to room temperature and beat slowly.