Shattered Glass Cake

I have a confession…I loved the shattered glass Halloween cupcakes I made last week so much that I decided to make a shattered glass CAKE!!

It somehow looks more bloody than the cupcakes, but it tastes just as delicious.

If you’re looking for a more intense (and slightly gory) cake, some sugar glass shards will do the trick!

image of shattered glass cake made with sugar glass and strawberry jam

The end result is wild, especially if you incorporate some strawberry jam into the mix.

How to Make Edible Glass Shards

While any recipe involving a candy thermometer may seem intense, I promise making edible glass is easier than you’d think.

You basically dump all your ingredients into a pot, and stir the mixture it until it reaches 300 degree F. This is known as hard ball stage, which just means the sugar mixture will be hard once it’s cooled.

You really need to heat the sugar to this temperature, or else it won’t fully harden. This means you won’t be able to shatter it into a million perfect pieces for your cake.

It’s important to watch the temperature too, because if you heat the mixture for too long, the sugar can begin to caramelize, and you’ll end up with yellow “glass!”

Edible Glass Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • candy thermometer

To make the edible glass shards,  mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup corn syrup, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan or pot.

Bring mixture to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees, stirring constantly.

When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely firm to the touch.

Break into shards using a hard object (I used a clean hammer for this, but a meat mallet would work too!).

MVI_0614_Moment (2)

The Surprise Inside: Strawberry Jam

As if the bloody glass shards weren’t already enough, I decided to be extra and fill the cake with strawberry jam. It makes for an amazing surprise inside, especially if you cut it open for a halloween party!

To fill the center of the cake, use a 3 inch circle cutter to remove the centers of two of the layers.

Begin assembling the cake using an uncut cake layer.

Frost with an even layer of vanilla buttercream, then top with one of the cake layers.

Gently frost the cake ring, the stack with the other cut layer.

image of filling vanilla cake with strawberry jam, to look like blood

Spread an even layer of buttercream on top of the second cake ring, then smooth frosting into the cut-out center of the cake.

Mix one squirt of red gel food coloring into the strawberry jam, and then carefully pour into the center of the cake.

image of shattered glass cake, filled with strawberry jam to look like blood

Fill to the top, then place the last cake layer on top. Then try to control your excitement until you’re able to cut into the cake!

Adding the Glass Shards to the Cake

Once the cake is frosted and smooth, it’s time to add the finishing touch.

I chilled my cake for about 10 minutes in the fridge before adding the sugar shards, to make it easier to stand them upright in the frosting.

I carefully (even though it’s sugar, the edges are actually quite sharp!) pressed the sugar shards into the top of the cake. As I did this, I used a decent amount of pressure, to make sure the shards went into the cake layers a bit.

I wanted to make sure they would stay in place, and not fall over as the cake sat out.

To be totally honest, I let my sugar cook a tiny bit too long, and my sugar shards had a yellow tint! I was really upset at first, but then did a bi of creative problem solving.

That’s pretty much all baking is, right?? I decided to drizzle some of the remaining red jam between the shards.

photo of topping this shattered glass cake with edible strawberry jam blood

It totally hid any yellow hue, and looked even more intense! I was so into the look, I even let some of the jam drip over the edges of the cake. I loved and was mildly horrified by the final look.

Yield: 24 servings

Shattered Glass Cake

Shattered Glass Cake

This shattered glass cake is perfect for Halloween!! It's made with sugar shards and strawberry jam blood, and it's absolutely horrifying (in the best way)!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (10 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (8 grams)
  • 1 cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton (or about 7 egg whites) (235 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (345 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)
  • gel food coloring (if desired)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (678 grams)
  • 11 cups powdered sugar (1375 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (75 grams)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract (18 grams)

Sugar Glass Shards

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • candy thermometer

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 14 oz. jars of strawberry jam
  • red gel food coloring (if desired)

Instructions

Vanilla Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  5. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on low speed for about 15 seconds (the key is to mix until the ingredients are JUST incorporated, so that the batter isn't over mixed). 
  7. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (about 450 grams per pan).
  8. Bake for 34-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  9. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers from the pans.
  10. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the vanilla buttercream frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  3. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Sugar Glass Shards:

    1. Mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup corn syrup, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan or pot.
    2. Bring mixture to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees, stirring constantly.
    3. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely firm to the touch.
    4. Break into shards using a hard object (I used a clean hammer for this, but a meat mallet would work too!)

To Assemble The Cake:

    1. To fill the center of the cake, use a 3 inch circle cutter to remove the centers of two of the layers.
    2. Begin assembling the cake using an uncut cake layer.
    3. Frost with an even layer of vanilla buttercream, then top with one of the cake layers.
    4. Gently frost the cake ring, the stack with the other cut layer.
    5. Spread an even layer of buttercream on top of the second cake ring, then smooth frosting into the cut-out center of the cake.
    6. Mix one squirt of red gel food coloring into the strawberry jam, and then carefully pour into the center of the cake.
    7. Fill to the top, then place the last cake layer on top.
    8. Apply a thin coat of frosting around the cake, to fully cover the cake layers. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
    9. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper.
    10. Insert sugar shards into the top of the cake, and drizzle with leftover strawberry jam.

Notes

One batch of cake batter makes about 1800 grams, so when I'm making a cake with four layer, I add 450 grams of batter into each pan.

Once the layers have fully cooled, I sometimes like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife.

These cake layers can be made in advance!! Learn more about how far in advance they can be made, and how to properly wrap them in my post on how to make cake layers ahead of time.

Since this frosting will be used to decorate a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process.

You can also stir the frosting in a bowl with a rubber spatula, pushing it from side to side, to get rid of any air bubbles.This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

The frosting recipe above is 1.5 batches of my American buttercream, which is the amount I usually make for 7 or 8 inch cakes. This makes enough buttercream to add a generous amount between the cake layers, and to have leftover buttercream for any special decorations. If you have extra buttercream you don't use, it can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24 slices

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 849 Total Fat 33g Saturated Fat 20g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 11g Cholesterol 86mg Sodium 313mg Carbohydrates 137g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 1g Sugar 116g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 4g

12 thoughts on “Shattered Glass Cake

  1. Another question, what can I use instead of light corn syrup. I saw on websites that you can make sort of the same ingrediënt by water and sugar or honey or water and dextro (grape Sugar). But I don’t know if it works the same or is a good alternative in your recipe?

    1. I’ve never actually tried it! it caramelized quite a bit though, so I’d be nervous it might have a very crisp outer layer!!

    1. It’s pretty thick, so I placed mine a couple days in advance and it was fine! I haven’t really tested it out with thinner “glass” or for longer period of time though <3

  2. How many hours can this cake sit with the jam in it? Would it still be okay if I made this cake on Friday morning and cut into it Saturday night?

    1. Hi Brit,

      I usually frost the inside of the cutout area with a thin layer of buttercream before adding in the jam, so it doesn’t really come in direct contact with the cake layers! I’ve made this in advance before and the cake layers were totally fine 🙂

Let me know what you think!