This unassuming party cake has a secret. With its frilly buttercream finish and modest sprinkle topping, it looks like any other delicious cake. However, the real party is inside! One cut into the cake reveals its pastel rainbow layers, before an assortment of candies comes tumbling out. Like a piñata, this cake is filled to the brim with chocolate, gummies, and sprinkles. As if the velvety buttermilk cake and buttercream icing wasn’t a treat on its own, this cake is packed full of sweets for the ultimate party dessert. What a fun, whimsical surprise!
This festive piñata cake is fairly simple to put together and is extremely adaptable for any celebration. Try using either pink or blue candies for a gender reveal cake at a baby shower, a variety of chocolates, all fruit candies, or just stick with the cake recipient’s favorites. The combinations are truly endless.
Pastel Buttermilk Cake
Cake Batter Buttercream
For the Pastel Buttermilk Cake, pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour four 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the butter on medium until smooth. Add in the sugar and mix on medium-high until fluffy and pale in color (3 to 5 minutes). Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and eggs, 1 at a time. Mix until combined and smooth.
With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until the batter is incorporated. Do not over-mix.
Evenly divide the batter into 4 bowls. Tint each with gel food coloring of your choice and mix to combine. Place each different color of batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack from 10 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
For the Cake Batter Buttercream, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the remaining ingredients. Once the sugar begins to incorporate, turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes). Adjust the sugar and cream quantities until desired consistency is achieved.
Note: To decorate an 8-inch cake with the ruffle pattern (as photographed), the icing recipe will need to be multiplied by 1. For a smooth or rustic finish, use the recipe as is.
To assemble the cake, carefully trim the tops of each cake layer until even. Discard the scraps or save for another use.
Using a round cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or the rim of a drinking glass, cut out the centres of two of the cake layers. The openings should be about 3 inches in diameter. These two layers will become the middle layers of cake. Set aside.
Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish. 4. Spread on about 3/4 cup of buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with one of the centre layers of cake and repeat. Place the second middle layer of cake next, then frost the inside of the rings with buttercream.
Fill in the centre with a variety of candies and/or sprinkles. Top with the final layer of cake. Crumb coat then frost the cake with the remaining buttercream.
To create the ruffle design, frost the top of the cake as normal but leave only a thin layer of buttercream on the sides. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with buttercream. Starting at the bottom of the cake, use a zigzag motion to pipe ruffles up the side of the cake. The zigzag pattern should be about 1-inch wide and as straight as possible. Continue to pipe vertical rows of ruffles until all of the sides are covered. Top with sprinkles, if desired.