Gravity-defying sweetie cake

Gravity-defying sweetie cake

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(37 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 35 mins plus cooling and setting

More effort

Serves 12

Anti-gravity cakes are this year's must-have trend for birthdays or parties - this stunning Smartie cake will delight kids and grown-ups alike

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal881
  • fat45g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs106g
  • sugars85g
  • fibre4g
  • protein9g
  • salt1.5g
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    For the chocolate sponges

    • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
    • 200g plain flour
    • 8 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

    • 280g light brown soft sugar
    • 200ml buttermilk
      Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



      There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

    • 100ml strong coffee or espresso
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    To decorate

    • 2½ x 114g packs milk chocolate fingers
    • 8 tubes of Smarties, or other sweets

    For the chocolate fudge icing

    • 100g milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces, plus 50g/2oz for decorating
      Milk chocolate squares

      Milk chocolate

      mill-k chok-lit

      Milk chocolate is classically made from dark chocolate of low cocoa solid content and a higher…

    • 200g slightly salted butter, softened
    • 400g icing sugar, seived
    • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp milk



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

    You'll also need

    • 1 bendy straw
    • 2 wooden skewers
    • 1 paper bag or sweet packet (see tip)
    • sticky tape


    1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.

    2. Measure the buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a jug. Add the egg and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool. These sponges can be made up to three days ahead and will stay moist if wrapped in cling film, or you can wrap well and freeze for up to two months.

    3. To make the chocolate fudge icing, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir every now and then until melted. (Alternatively, melt in the microwave, stirring the chocolate every 20 secs so it doesn’t burn.) Remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool a little. Meanwhile, put the butter and icing sugar in another large bowl and mash with a spatula to combine (this will prevent you covering the work surface in icing sugar), then whisk with a hand mixer until smooth. Sift in the cocoa and pour in the melted chocolate and milk, then mix again until smooth.

    4. Use roughly half the icing to sandwich the cakes together on a cake stand or board. Use a palette knife to cover the entire cake with the remaining icing – don’t worry about being too neat. Use the chocolate fingers to cover the sides of the cakes – do this straight after icing as the icing will set after a while, and the chocolate fingers won’t stick.

    5. Melt the remaining 50g chocolate in the microwave or in a small bowl suspended over a pan of gently simmering water. Leave to cool until the chocolate is a spreadable consistency. You can speed this up by putting it in the fridge – just stir it every 5 mins or so to prevent the chocolate from setting.

    6. Push a skewer into the centre of the cake and slip the straw over the top – this will give it more stability. Push 1-2cm of the straw into the cake. Use a cutlery knife to spread a blob of chocolate onto a Smartie and, starting at the base, stick the Smarties to the straw. You will have to do this in stages to allow the chocolate to set a little before adding another layer of Smarties. Work your way up the straw until it’s completely covered. If the chocolate in your bowl becomes too firm, simply heat again until it is at the correct consistency. Stop when you reach the bend in the straw.

    7. Stick the remaining skewer into the top of the straw so that it pokes out at an angle. Place the paper bag on top – you may have to use a little sticky tape to hold it in place. If any of the straw is exposed, cover it with more Smarties.

    8. Tip the remaining Smarties on top of the cake to flood the surface. Will keep well stored in an airtight tin for 2 days.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    31st May, 2020
    Made for Hubby's birthday in lockdown. Made exactly as recipe and is a superb moist cake. I was well impressed with it and will make again to share when we can.
    MostynWitham's picture
    17th May, 2020
    We just made this for my 10 year old sons Birthday. We didn’t do the smarties but instead we did malteasers on the top all crammed in and the sides we did the fingers but goat a pack of the white choc fingers and every third one we put a white one - the effect was really unique. The cake is wicked and wonderfully moist. We all said it was really like a posh brought cake like you would eat in, say Bettys Tea Room, or such like. Well done for such an easy pro recipe.
    Gem VW
    17th Nov, 2019
    Very nice moist cake and easy to make. Would recommend. It’s not as tricky as I thought would be to make but looks very impressive.
    19th Nov, 2018
    Lovely cake, sponge is light and not dry. Overall effect looks amazing. Perfect for parties. I used the tube from the smarties rather than a paper bag x
    17th Nov, 2018
    Hoping it tastes as good as it looks. I used a smartie tube instead of a paper bag and it looks great. Hopefully my daughter will like it xxx
    1st Oct, 2018
    Perfect moist chocolate cake recipe. I used malteasers instead of smarties but the effect was the same. I also used a chopstick inside a paper straw which worked just as well. Agree about the packs of cadbury fingers. Will definitely make again - got the wow factor all around.
    sassassassas's picture
    25th Sep, 2017
    Love, love, love this cake. Yes, a tiny bit fiddly but so worth it. Hopefully the following comments are helpful: - the recipe requires two and a half packets of choc fingers...that means you need to buy 3 packets, otherwise you run out! - I make the 100ml of strong coffee by mixing 4 level teaspoons of instant coffee in 100ml hot water, and let it cool a little before adding to the other wet ingredients. This gives just a hint of coffee flavour to the cake (in fact, I've only had one person notice) - I use a long tapered candle to support the straw - I've also used all pink smarties (available for Christmas!) and a mix of white and milk chocolate fingers for a change - If you have leftover chocolate buttercream, it freezes really well Have fun!
    19th May, 2016
    I made a chocolate button version of this and it wowed everyone. Had not read the comments beforehand, so I had to dash out for the third pack of fingers in the middle of icing, but it was fine. I just used a chopstick - when I took it out to cut the cake, it was like a chocolate kebab! A really lovely cake.
    10th May, 2016
    I made this cake without any decorations apart from the fudge icing (only needed half the ingredients for this and there was still plenty to fill and top the cake) The cake itself turned out really moist with a good strong chocolate flavour. I will definitely use this recipe again. Also I found that it kept really well and if anything, tasted better a day or two after baking.
    21st Apr, 2016
    Great recipe! The cake is delicious and it the overall effect is impressive. The only fiddly bit was sticking the smarties to the straw.


    Jessica Mills's picture
    Jessica Mills
    1st Jun, 2020
    If making this for a 7 yr old birthday cake, would you omit the coffee? and if so would you just need to substitute for water to get the consistency correct?
    lulu_grimes's picture
    7th Jun, 2020
    Hi, It isn't too strong, but if you want to leave it out then just use water. Lulu
    14th Oct, 2017
    Can you advise me how I might alter the quantities and cooking time in order to make this in a 24cm single round tin?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    20th Oct, 2017
    Thank you for your question. Unfortunately we are unable to give specific instructions for changing the quantities and cooking time without testing the recipe. Can we open this one out to the community, has anyone tried this at home?
    17th Jun, 2016
    Im going to try and make this cake tomorrow for fathers day as it looks awesome. I'm confused about the coffee. As it's ml. Do you make a normal coffee and just add 100ml? Help please! :(
    31st May, 2016
    Hi, The recipe says to add 100ml of coffee. Is that 100ml water with coffee added? If so does the water have to be hot or cold and how much coffee do you add to the water? I really want to make this for a birthday cake so would appreciate any help! Thank you ☺️
    30th May, 2016
    Can't wait to try out this recipe tomorrow. Just a quick question (this may sound silly) it states to use 100ml coffee. Is this coffee mixed with water? If so how much coffee do you use with the 100ml of water. I would really appreciate some advice! Thank you.
    15th May, 2016
    Can I make this cake as a vanilla sponge cake? My daughter hates chocolate cake.
    Joesyjo's picture
    7th Jul, 2017
    I use my tassimo machine and make an Americano. Then I just use 100ml of this.
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