Pinata cake recipe


This is a really fun celebration cake with a surprise centre that is sure to wow your guests.

Preparation time: 35 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

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Serves: 15 people

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For the buttercream
For the filling


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C), 350F, Gas Mark 4.  Grease four 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins, line the bases with baking parchment and grease again. If you only have two tins then halve the cake recipe and make in two batches. Set aside on baking sheets.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract or paste in a large bowl of an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, two at a time and with a spoonful of flour, beating between each addition until well blended.
  3. Sift the remaining flour and baking powder in, add the milk and beat gently to give a smooth batter. Divide evenly between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. If cooking all four at once, then swap the trays around on the shelves half way through cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Snap the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl and melt either in the microwave in 30-second blasts, stirring between each go, or over a pan of simmering water, shallow enough that the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Once melted, remove and leave to cool.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter in a large bowl until pale. Sift the icing sugar over in stages, combining well before adding the next. Beat in the cooled chocolate until well combined to give a smooth mixture. Put 350g of the mixture in a separate bowl and stir in enough blue gel colour paste, a little at a time, to give your desired intensity. Then add 650g into another bowl and colour this yellow (or your next layer up) and add pink to the remaining amount (about 450g). Cover all and set aside.
  6. Once the cakes are cooked through and just springy to the touch, remove them from the oven. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To assemble, using an 8cm straight-sided cutter, stamp out a centre disc from the centre of three of the sponges. Spread 50g of the pink icing on the tops of each of these layers and then stack them on top of each other on a serving plate or cake stand. Toss the sweets and marshmallows together and pour them into the centre hole. Sit the remaining cake on top. Spread 300g of the yellow icing all around the sides and top of the cake, ensuring a smooth and even finish. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until firm. This is a ‘crumb layer’ so the cake crumbs don’t appear in the finished icing effect.
  8. Fill the remaining icings into separate disposable icing bags that have been cut to 1 ½ cm openings. Now, for the petal icing technique. Begin by piping a dot of blue at the bottom of the cake. Then using a small spatula, swipe half of the dot to the right to create a smear. Then pipe another dot of blue on the smear and repeat until you have a complete row all the way around. Next, repeat the process but with the yellow icing, followed by a line of pink. Repeat this colour pattern up the side and then on top of the cake, finishing with a dot of yellow in the middle. This can be prepared up to the day before and kept in the fridge.
  9. Decorate the top with cake bunting, candles and extra sweets if liked and go celebrate.


Fill the centre with fresh fruit like berries, grapes and pomegranate seeds if liked for a healthier alternative to sweets. Or at least a mix of fruit with the sweets can be fun but healthy too.

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