It’s very easy to get sick of chocolate in the run up to Easter so if you’re feeling that way – look away now! I am not one of those people, so this cake was a lot of fun for me to make and enjoy. I love the concept of a pinata cake – it never fails to please people when they cut into it and find some secret treat lurking inside.
Look at all those eggs hiding inside! Fun, isn’t it. If you are feeling adventurous you could put a variety of different eggs inside, but I picked mini eggs as I was planning on decorating the cake with the same sort of speckled design they have.
I’ve gone for a chocolate mudcake here, as it’s a nice strong sponge and good for layering.
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped very finely (I whizz it up in a food processor)
- 470g plain flour
- 80g cocoa
- 495g caster sugar
- 1 & 1/3 teaspoons bicarb
- 4 eggs
- 320ml coffee,cooled
- 320ml buttermilk
- 280ml vegetable oil
First, put the oven on to heat to 160 C and line four 8 inch cake tins. If you only have two, then that’s fine, you can cut the cakes in half once they’re cooled, just be aware they’ll take longer in the oven.
Sift all the dry ingredients into a very large bowl and add the chopped chocolate. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the coffee, oil, buttermilk and eggs. Pour the liquid into the dry and whisk together until very well combined.
Now it’s time to get it into the tins. It’s a very runny mixture so can be a bit tricky to work with – expect there to be a few stray drips! To make the pinata cake, you need two full cake layers, and two layers with a hole in the middle. There are two ways to get those holey layers. The first – bake those two layers as normal, then cut the holes out once the sponges are completely cool (you could use a round cookie cutter, or use a knife round a glass, etc). The second is to use a round mould if you have one, grease it, and put it in the middle of the tin, so the sponge is baked with a hole already in the middle, as so:
Bake the sponges for about 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, and leave to cool. Once they’re completely cold, use a cake wire to trim the tops so they’re flat. Now we can move onto the icing.
I’ve gone with a white chocolate vanilla buttercream, you’ll need:
- 240g white chocolate
- 400g soft butter
- 720g icing sugar
- 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (plus extra for speckled effect)
- gel food colouring of your choice
- 300g bag mini eggs
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (for speckled effect)
- a paintbrush
- Easter chicks
Start by melting the white chocolate, then once it’s cooling, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a good five minutes until very pale. Add the icing sugar in two stages and beat well, until lovely and smooth. It will be very thick, so while the mixer is on a slow speed, pour in the milk and vanilla, then beat on a high speed for another couple of minutes. Now pour in the chocolate and give it another good mix – this is seriously yummy. Finally it’s time to add the colour. Go gently with just a few drops at a time as the gel colours can be quite strong and develop as the day goes on – I added both blue and green to get the duck egg shade.
Now it’s time to build the cake! First, put a full cake on the cake board, and top with a layer of buttercream – don’t make it too thick in the middle as that’s where the eggs will sit. Now, add one of the layers with a hole in the middle, and top with another layer of buttercream, before adding the second cake layer with the hole in. You should have quite a deep well for mini eggs now, so pack them in til they’re just ever so slightly higher than the top of the cake – this way they will support the top cake layer, but you should still have some spare to decorate. Put on another layer of buttercream before placing the other full cake on top. Now you’ve got a lovely tall cake with those mini eggs stashed away inside.
I did a crumb coat next – I find it helps achieve a smoother finish. Once the entire cake is coated in a very thin layer of icing, pop it in the fridge for half an hour or so to firm up. Then cover it properly with a nice thick layer of buttercream and refrigerate again so it’s sturdy.
Finally, it’s time to decorate with that speckled egg effect! Put the cocoa powder in a small cup or bowl. Add a couple of drops of vanilla until you get a runny mixture. Dip in the paintbrush, then aim it at the cake and use your finger to spray the bristles so they splatter the cake with the liquid – straight away it should start to look all speckled – see? Add as much or as little as you like, then top with the leftover mini eggs and some Easter chicks.
You can see I didn’t really keep the decoration very tasteful! But this is a super fun cake. The combination of chocolate mud cake and white chocolate icing is delicious, and no one can resist a mini egg, especially when it’s a mini egg that’s been hiding inside a cake!