Here’s the Recipe for That Adorable Toy Robot Cake From Netflix’s ‘Nailed It!’ (Exclusive)

TheWrap has a sneak peek at one of the trickiest recipes from upcoming “Nailed It!” companion cookbook

Toy Robot Cake Nailed It Holiday
Abrams Image/Netflix

Few “Nailed It!” recipes are as infamous as the Toy Robot Cake featured in the fifth episode of the Netflix baking competition’s first “Holiday!” installment, “Toying Around.” While many contestants tried — and failed — to perfect this adorable little guy, the “Nailed It!” team is offering viewers the chance to totally nail the seasonal treat with a recipe from the show’s upcoming cookbook, “Nailed It!: Baking Challenges for the Rest of Us,” which TheWrap can reveal exclusively ahead of the book’s launch next month.

Per its official description: “In the official ‘Nailed It!’ companion cookbook, Magical Elves, the powerhouse unscripted production company and creators of the series, share the tips, tricks, and detailed recipes behind the incredible cakes and baked goods from your favorite episodes, as well as simplified versions of some memorable challenges to give even the most inexperienced baker a fighting chance. With recipes ranging from stress-free cookies and cupcakes you can whip up with ease to the most intimidating cakes we’ve ever revealed behind Door #2, this book contains everything you need to put your skills to the test—and have an absolute blast along the way, whether your creation is a mouthwatering masterpiece or a delicious disaster.”

TheWrap’s exclusive preview of the Toy Robot Cake recipe from “Nailed It!: Baking Challenges for the Rest of Us,” written by the creators of the Netflix show along with Heather Maclean and published by Abrams Image.

For those unfamiliar with “Nailed It!,” the Nicole Byer and Torres-hosted Netflix competition features home bakers with a terrible track record taking a crack at recreating edible masterpieces for a $10,000 prize.

The sixth season of the Magical Elves-produced “Nailed It!” is streaming on Netflix, and the official companion cookbook is now available for preorder.


Nailed It! Holiday! Season 1, Episode 5, “Toying Around”

Makes one 4-layer cake

Beep-beep-boop-boop! Perhaps the most famous creation from Nailed It!, the toy robot is a four-layer, sweet red velvet cake with a head and arms sculpted from crispy rice cereal, covered in silver fondant, and featuring red and green eyes. It’s also a joy to attempt because no matter how it ends up looking, it tastes delicious! This version of the recipe was adapted by Red Velvet NYC for the Nailed It! At Home Experience produced by Netflix and Fever, so it’s a bit easier to create in your home kitchen than the gigantic version our contestants attempted on the show, which makes it a perfect option to bake for your own holiday celebrations.


1⅓ cups (175 g) cake flour

1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (200 g) sugar

⅔ cup (165 ml) vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon red food coloring

½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon white vinegar


1 cup (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks

4 cups (500 g) powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole milk


1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1½ cups (75 g) mini marshmallows

2 cups (30 g) crispy rice cereal


2 tablespoons cornstarch

12 ounces (338 g) silver fondant

Jolly Ranchers

Spiced gumdrops

Gold M&M’s


9 by 13-inch (23 by 33-cm) baking pan

2 lollipop sticks


Make The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease the pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs and red food coloring, scraping down sides to incorporate fully. Reduce the speed to low. Add the dry mixture and buttermilk, alternating, until fully mixed. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate the last bits of dry ingredients.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar (it will bubble and foam!). Add this to the batter and mix to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

Make The Buttercream

  1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup (125 g) at a time, mixing until well combined.
  3. Add the vanilla, salt, and milk, and mix on high until thick and creamy. If the buttercream is too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the buttercream is too thick, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Assemble The Cake

  1. Remove the cake from the pan. Slice it up as follows: one 2-inch (5-cm) piece the length of the cake, and four equal squares from the remainder. Cut out the robot’s feet from the long piece (see the photo on the left).
  2. Place one square on a serving dish and top with a layer of buttercream. Place another square on top, and repeat, until all of the squares are stacked. Cover the entire cake in buttercream. You’ll use about one-third of the buttercream between the layers, then another third to coat the outside. Save the remaining third in the refrigerator to use later.

Make The Body Parts

  1. In a medium nonstick pot over medium-low, melt the butter.
  2. Add the marshmallows and immediately take the pot off the heat. Stir continuously until the marshmallows melt. Stir in the rice cereal and mix until coated. Pour the mixture onto a piece of parchment or foil on a flat surface and allow to cool.
  3. When cool enough to handle, but not yet cold or too hard, mold the mixture into a head, neck, arms, hands, and legs. Tip: The head should measure about 3 inches (7.5 cm) and arms about 4 inches (10 cm).

Panic Button: Don’t Have Buttermilk 

You can make your own! Simply add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to ó cup (120 ml) whole milk. Stir to combine and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture begins curdling.

Make The Robot Features

  1. Lightly dust a flat surface with cornstarch. Roll out the fondant thin enough so that you can cover the entire robot (about 1/16 inch/2 mm thick, the same thickness as a US quarter). Use a ruler to measure your cake and cut fondant panels to cover the chest, feet, arms, hands, head, and neck.
  2. Cut out 50 bolts for the body, 12 for the head, and 16 for the feet.
  3. Gather the scraps and roll them into coils for the neck; create a mouth, teeth, and a nose.
  4. Apply the fondant panels to the robot’s body, gently pressing them into the frosted cake. Use a drop of water or reserved buttercream to “glue” the bolts and other details to the panels.
  5. Grease two tiny round metal cookie cutters or make squished rings from aluminum foil and place them on parchment on a cookie sheet. Take the Jolly Rancher candies out of their wrappers and crush them. Sprinkle the candy pieces into the rings, separating them by color. Bake at 300 for 5 minutes, or until the candy is melted. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before popping from the cutters. Use these candy circles for the robot’s eyes, slicing them down to size if needed.
  6. Using two lollipop sticks with spiced gumdrops on the ends, make a pair of antennae. If you’re feeling fancy, you can wrap the lollipop sticks in a bit of extra fondant rolled very thin. Stick gold M&M’s on the chest panel using reserved buttercream as “glue.”

3, 2, 1 . . . Ya’ done!

Frosted Tip: Red velvet cake isn’t just chocolate cake with red food coloring. It has a buttermilk and vinegar combination that makes the flavor richer.

See below for TheWrap’s exclusive step-by-step photos of the Toy Robot Cake recipe from the “Nailed It! Baking Challenges For The Rest Of Us” cookbook.

Recipe from Nailed It!: Baking Challenges for the Rest of Us by the Creators of Nailed It! with Heather Maclean. Published by Abrams Image.
Recipe from Nailed It!: Baking Challenges for the Rest of Us by the Creators of Nailed It! with Heather Maclean. Published by Abrams Image.
Toy Robot Cake Nailed It
Recipe from Nailed It!: Baking Challenges for the Rest of Us by the Creators of Nailed It! with Heather Maclean. Published by Abrams Image.
Recipe from Nailed It!: Baking Challenges for the Rest of Us by the Creators of Nailed It! with Heather Maclean. Published by Abrams Image.
Recipe from Nailed It!: Baking Challenges for the Rest of Us by the Creators of Nailed It! with Heather Maclean. Published by Abrams Image.