Celebration piñata cake

Celebration piñata cake

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(7 ratings)

Prep: 3 hrs Cook: 2 hrs plus 4 hrs chilling

A challenge

Serves 20
Bake this stunning centrepiece for kids' birthdays or parties - cut open the vanilla and lemon sponges to reveal the hidden sweets inside

Nutrition and extra info

  • undecorated cakes only

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal871
  • fat45g
  • saturates27g
  • carbs107g
  • sugars79g
  • fibre1g
  • protein8g
  • salt1.2g
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Ingredients

    For the bottom-tier cake

    • 500g butter, softened
      Butter

      Butter

      butt-err

      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 500g golden caster sugar
    • 8 large eggs, beaten
      Eggs

      Egg

      egg

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

    • 500g self-raising flour
    • 2 tsp lemon extract
    • zest 2 lemons
      Lemon

      Lemon

      le-mon

      Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

    For the bottom-tier icing

    • 175g butter, softened
      Butter

      Butter

      butt-err

      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 500g icing sugar, sifted
    • 2 tbsp whole milk
    • zest 1 lemon and juice of 2 (from the lemons above)
      Lemon

      Lemon

      le-mon

      Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

    • 200g lemon curd

    For the top-tier cake

    • 200g butter, softened
      Butter

      Butter

      butt-err

      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 200g golden caster sugar
    • 4 large eggs, beaten
      Eggs

      Egg

      egg

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

    • 200g self-raising flour
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    For the top-tier icing

    • 100g butter, softened
      Butter

      Butter

      butt-err

      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 300g icing sugar
    • 3 tbsp whole milk
    • 1½ tbsp freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry powder (see tip)
      Strawberries

      Strawberry

      straw-bare-ee

      Once available in Britain for just a brief period during the summer, strawberries are now a year…

    To decorate

    • 100g icing sugar, mixed with a drop of water to make a runny icing for glue, plus extra icing sugar for dusting
    • 2kg ready-made fondant icing
    • selection of food colouring pastes (we used blue, pink, orange, lilac, mint green and yellow)
    • sweets, such as Smarties (about 12 tubes), to fill the cake
    • 4 cake dowels
    • white pearlescent balls or silver balls
    • candles

    Method

    1. To make the bottom-tier cake, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin with baking parchment. Put 250g of the butter and 250g sugar in a large bowl and, using an electric hand whisk, cream until light and fluffy. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in 250g of the flour, 1 tsp lemon extract, and the zest of 1 lemon until you have a smooth batter. Spoon into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 mins or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, remove the parchment and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining half of the ingredients, so that you have 2 large cakes.

    2. Meanwhile, make the icing for the bottom tier. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a quarter of the icing sugar. When fully combined, add the rest in 3 additions, beating between each. When the icing is smooth, add the milk, zest and juice, and curd, then whisk until fluffy. Set aside until needed, or chill, but bring to room temperature before using.

    3. Now make the top tier. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 (if not already on). Grease and line a 15cm cake tin with baking parchment. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and extract until you have a smooth batter. Transfer to the tin, smooth the surface and bake for 20 mins, then reduce the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and cook for a further 25 mins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, remove the parchment and cool completely.

    4. To make the icing for the top tier, cream the butter and 100g icing sugar together until smooth, then gradually incorporate the rest. Add the milk and strawberry powder, then whisk thoroughly until light and fluffy.

    5. When the larger cakes are completely cool, slice each in half horizontally so that you have 4 sponge layers. Using a 10cm cutter, cut a hole in the centre of each of the lemon sponges for the bottom tier. Sandwich the 4 sponges together on a cake stand, using the lemon buttercream, then cover the whole cake in a thin layer of the remaining lemon icing. Put in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hrs to firm up.

    6. When completely cool, slice the small top tier cake horizontally so that you have 3 sponge layers. Use the strawberry buttercream to sandwich them together on a chopping board, then use the remaining strawberry icing to cover the outside. Leave in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hrs to firm up while you ice the bottom tier.

    7. Now start to make the pale blue icing. Dust your work surface with a little icing sugar. Knead a little blue food colouring into 1.5kg fondant icing until it’s an even colour. Remove 500g, wrap in cling film and set aside for the top tier. Roll out the remaining 1kg to a circle wide enough to cover the bottom tier – you can check this with a piece of string. Gently roll up your fondant onto your rolling pin and unfold onto your cake. Smooth the icing on the outside with your hands, then trim off the excess at the bottom. Cut a small cross in the centre of the fondant where the hole sits and push the remaining fondant carefully onto the inside of the hole, trimming any excess. Fill the centre with sweets of your choice. Place the 4 dowels into the cake at 3, 6 and 9 and 12 o’clock, just next to the hole in the middle, then trim so they are flush with the cake.

    8. Cover the top tier cake in the remaining blue fondant in the same way, then mount onto the bottom cake, enclosing the sweets. Transfer the icing glue to a small piping bag and snip off the end. Use to pipe a drizzle of icing around the base of each tier. Place pearlescent or silver balls around the base of each cake to cover any rough edges.

    9. To make the balloon decorations, divide the remaining 500g of fondant into the number of colours you are using. Use different food colourings to colour each piece of fondant. Roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar and, using small cookie cutters, cut out circles of fondant. Use the icing glue to stick the balloons onto the cake. Decorate with colourful candles. Will keep for up to 3 days.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Dj0894
    15th Oct, 2016
    How do you the shopping list tool up on recipes?
    marzipanfeind
    19th Jun, 2015
    3.8
    My cakes needed quite a bit longer in the oven (as others have commented), but apart from that, the recipe worked well for me. I made the bottom tier chocolate instead of lemon (replacing about 50g of flour with cocoa powder), and did it with raspberry icing (used a whole small pack of freeze-dried raspberry powder, bought online, which was expensive but delicious!). Top tier I did lemon with the lemon icing. The choc/raspberry combo was a big hit! Added a 3rd tier (see tips!) and decorated the whole thing with white icing and different coloured rice paper butterflies. My daughter's face when we cut the cake (for her 3rd birthday), plus the fact it tasted really good made it def worth the time it took to make this!
    workingmum
    17th May, 2015
    3.8
    I used smaller cake tins and it still needed longer to cook than advertised, but the sponges were cooked throughout. I couldn't get fruit powder so I made the whole cake lemon. and it tasted delicious. It took me more than 5 hours altogether; I spread out the jobs over 4 evenings to make it more manageable. I made rope twists of two colours of icing to go round the cakes (as in Good Food's Gingerbread Man Party Cake http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2768685/gingerbread-man-party-cake) instead of piping icing and it looked fab. The dowelling did seem redundant as the smarties themselves held the second tier up so I didn't use them. In the end I had a fantastic looking cake which my daughter thought was "awesome" and went down well at her party. Will definitely do similar again, but maybe change the design.
    marzipanfeind
    19th Jun, 2015
    3.8
    Using smaller cake tins would make it take longer to cook as the mixture would be deeper (unless you scaled down the quantities?) It would cook faster in larger tins as the mixture would be more spread out. I do agree that the timings in the recipe are way out though!
    bhector
    24th Apr, 2015
    I agree with previous posters, this does need way more cooking time than called for. Having said that, the sponges taste really good so far!
    sharpmead
    24th Mar, 2015
    5.05
    Well I was delighted with the finished cake! I didn't end up using the cake dowls at all as I couldn't see what purpose they provided ( see comment below). I just stuck the top cake on with a little icing glue and I also only put it all together a few hours before the party. I started making it on the Thursday and finished it on the Saturday morning and it looked great and tasted great:)
    sharpmead
    20th Mar, 2015
    5.05
    I haven't finished the cake yet, but just wondering what is stopping the top cake sinking into the hole or the bottom cake? I'm not sure what the cake dowls are for either as they normally are used in conjunction with a cake board when you have tiers? I have got to the buttercream stage, both cakes have turned out well, the top cake did take 10 mins more cooking and did overspill the cake tin but seems fine! Icing for bottom cake was a little runny so I just added more icing. I will rate once I've finished.
    emmareddy
    6th Mar, 2015
    5.05
    I made this for my daughter's birthday. It was very popular after the initial crunch when cutting the cake had everyone very confused. Great flavour and texture, I left out the dried fruit flavouring in the icing. The smaller cake did take an extra 10 minutes to cook and I cooked the larger one for a bit longer too.
    michjennings
    18th Feb, 2015
    0.05
    That's three of us here now who've had a disaster with this recipe. You may have triple tested it but it's now been tested by three other people here who've all had poor results.
    shelleyhoban
    28th Jan, 2015
    0.05
    I'm so glad somebody else has had the same experience. I too used fan oven and cake completely raw in the middle for both cakes!! Can't tell you how much money I wasted on ingredients...there appears to be something seriously wrong with either temperature or timing or both...very dissapointed to say the least

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    Jazzcakes
    5th May, 2015
    A bit confused about how the top cake sits on the bottom cake. I don't get how the dowels will hold the top cake up without the help of a board and it isn't completely clear how the dowels go into the bottom cake. I am so so so keen to make this cake but don't want it all to go to pot at the last stage. HELP!
    workingmum
    17th May, 2015
    3.8
    I found that the Smarties themselves were enough to hold up the second tier, so I didn't use dowelling at all. Don't use a cakeboard for the top tier or you won't be able to cut through the entire cake.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    goodfoodteam
    12th May, 2015
    Hi Jazzcakes, to get a cut through and spill out effect, we didn’t use a cake board for the cake, and found that it was stable enough without one. The dowels are pushed into the bottom cake next to the hole in the centre and give it a little extra stability - otherwise the weight of the top cake would be resting on a thin piece of cake below, which could cave in.  Hope this helps, let us know how you get on. 
    Jazzcakes
    12th May, 2015
    Will do, thanks.
    marzipanfeind
    19th Jun, 2015
    3.8
    1. I used wide straight drinking straws that I already had instead of cake dowels to add support to the cake. 2. Twelve tubes of Smarties was not enough to fill my cake, so I added some other pick 'n' mix I had...I think it ended up looking better with a mixture of sweets coming out. 3. I used two of the discs of cake that were cut out from the bottom tier to make a 3rd tier to go on the top. I had enough buttercream left over from the second tier to ice this little cake, plus I had some extra ready-to-roll stuff to cover it. Not sure why the original recipe didn't include this - seems like you might as well do a third tier with the 'waste', plus it looked more impressive! 4. I really recommend chocolate cake (rather than vanilla) with raspberry icing for one of the tiers ...everyone loved it.