Will your guests get a trick or a treat when they cut into this Halloween Piñata Cake?
I know, I know I’m cutting it fine with this one. You’ve probably been Googling and pinning Halloween cakes for the last month or so. But then again maybe you’re as disorganised and busy as me? Halloween really crept up on me this year. If so, then don’t panic! This Halloween Piñata Cake is just the recipe you need! You can easily bake, fill and ice it today (or tomorrow if you really want to cut it fine). Let’s get started…
Trick or Treat?
I’ll admit I’m a little late to this party but how cool are piñata cakes?! When they first started popping up on Pinterest I didn’t pay that much attention as more often than not they were marketed as children’s birthday cakes. But then it dawned on me, their surprise element made them perfect for trick or treat season!
Taking a step back for a second…for those of you who don’t know, a piñata cake looks like a normal layer cake on the outside, but when you cut into it, you find a centre stuffed full of sweets, sprinkles and other treats! (If you’re lucky…) They are the perfect cake for Halloween because you can decide whether or not you want to treat your guests or if you’d rather play a trick on them! Instead of filling with sweets you could fill it with plastic spiders instead, or why not have an oozing, bloody centre?!
If you’re hosting a big Halloween party it might be fun to have two cakes both of which look identical on the outside but one filled with tricks and the other filled with treats!
Step by step
Making a pinata cake is a little bit more involved then your average layer cake. But if you follow these simple steps then you will realise it doesn’t have to be time consuming or stressful.
Step 1 – bake 3 layer cakes using the recipe below.
Step 2 – take the cake layer you would like to sit on the bottom and push a circular cookie cutter halfway through the cake. Scoop out the cake. Repeat this with the layer you’d like to be the top of the cake.
Step 3 – using the same cookie or pastry cutter, cut out the middle of the final layer of the cake.
Step 4 – secure your bottom layer to your cake board with a little buttercream. Fill the hole with your trick or treats.
Step 5 – spread a little buttercream around the top edge of the bottom layer and place the middle layer on top. again fill the hole with your trick or treats.
Step 6 – spread a little more buttercream around the top edge of the middle layer. Stack the trick or treats high in the middle so they sit above the middle layer. Place the final layer cake on top making sure all of the trick or treats are hidden in the middle of the cake.
Step 7 – ice the outside of your cake!
As well as the trick or treat centre, I wanted this Halloween piñata cake to look like it had gotten all dressed up for the occasion. I covered the cake in a layer of chocolate orange buttercream I had coloured jet black, then piped buttercream roses around the base and on the top. I LOVE how gothic the finished cake looks. It’s so chic and elegant. And so BLACK!
You’d have no idea that hidden inside are three bright layers of orange flavoured sponge and a whole host of goodies! This is one cake in full Halloween costume! Doesn’t it look fab?
As well as looking good this cake tastes good too! The sponge is a citrussy orange madeira cake which lends well to being carved up and hollowed out (a bit like a pumpkin!) Where there’s orange there must be chocolate so I’ve then used my favourite chocolate buttercream recipe and added the juice of half an orange to make a silky smooth chocolate orange buttercream. The dark colour of the chocolate also makes it easier colouring it jet black as it doesn’t require quite as much food colouring as normal buttercream!
- For the cake
- 300 caster sugar
- 300g butter
- 6 eggs
- Juice and zest of one orange
- 450g self raising flour
- Pinch of salt
- Purple, orange and green gel food colouring
- For the buttercream
- 225g milk chocolate
- 50g cocoa powder
- 7 tablespoons milk
- 350g butter
- 450g icing sugar
- Juice of half an orange
- For the centre
- Sweets of your choice!
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (160 C), and line three 7 inch cake tins with grease proof paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and the sugar until soft.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time until and beat well until the mix is creamy and pale.
- Add the zest and juice of the orange and mix until combined.
- Sift the flour and salt into the bowl and fold through until the flour is fully incorporated.
- Divide the cake mix across three bowls and colour each bowl of mix a separate colour.
- Pour the cake mix into three separate cake tins and bake for 35 mins until springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, melt the chocolate either slowly in the microwave or a bain marie.
- Place the chocolate to one side and allow to cool slightly but make sure it stays pourable.
- Heat the milk gently and stir in the cocoa powder.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, icing, cocoa powder and milk.
- Slowly add the melted chocolate beating well.
- Finally, beat in the orange juice.
- Spoon half the mix into a piping bag with a star tip nozzle and leave the rest in the bowl.
- Take the cake layer you would like to sit on the bottom and push a circular cookie or pastry cutter halfway through the cake. Scoop out the cake.
- Repeat this with the layer you'd like to be the top of the cake.
- Using the same cookie or pastry cutter, cut out the middle of the final layer of the cake.
- Secure your bottom layer to your cake board with a little buttercream from your bowl. Fill the hole with your trick or treats.
- Spread a little buttercream from your bowl around the top edge of the bottom layer and place the middle layer on top. again fill the hole with your trick or treats.
- Spread a little more buttercream around the top edge of the middle layer. Stack the trick or treats high in the middle so they sit above the middle layer. Place the final layer cake on top making sure all of the trick or treats are hidden in the middle of the cake.
- Using the remaining buttercream in your bowl, crumb coat the whole cake then finish with a smooth layer of buttercream.
- Pipe large roses around the base of the cake.
- Finish the cake by piping roses on the top of the cake, starting at the centre and working outwards.
- Finish any gaps or edges with piped stars.
This has to be one of my favourite cakes that I’ve made in a while. The design is just so simple yet so effective and it genuinely tastes as good as it looks!
My only top tip would be to make sure you have some really good food colourings before you start. Liquid food colouring just isn’t going to cut it here. You will need Wilton or Sugarflair gels. Don’t be afraid to use lots of them too. I know they aren’t cheap but you won’t regret it when you the faces of your friends and family as you cut into the cake!
Also, if you want to make this a real treat (adults only), then why not swap out the orange juice in the buttercream for an orange liqueur like Gran Marnier? I won’t tell if you don’t!
More Halloween Inspiration!
I can also highly recommend these Halloween layer cakes from some of my favourite UK based food bloggers!
- I love this stripey layer cake from Kerry Cooks
- This peanut butter cake from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary has my spider senses tingling
- Little Sunny Kitchen’s chocolate cake is decorated with the cutest pumpkins
- Domestic Gothess, queen of the Halloween cake has made this epic bleeding heart cake
- For something a bit more grown up try this Pumpkin Bundt with chai glaze from Supergoldenbakes