Print Recipe

Chocolate Milk Piñata Cake

Makes 3 layers!
The basic cake recipe is a riff on a fave Dorie Greenspan cake from her oh so fabulous, Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Author: Roseanne Carrara, Summer of Funner



  • Cake Ingredients
  • 3 c all-purpose flour we use unbleached
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp tsp salt
  • 3/4 lb [3 sticks] butter room temperature
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 additional egg yolks
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c chocolate milk
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate melted
  • Frosting Ingredients
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 4 tbs whipping cream +1-3 tbs if required.
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Piñata Cake Filling
  • a few cups of whatever small candies you'd like!


  • Cake Method
  • Heat the oven to 350.
  • Grease and flour the sides and the central tube of the pans and dab a bit of grease on the bottoms of each pan.
  • Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
  • [Helpful Hints:  1. Use the tube pan insert to outline 3 9-inch circles on your parchment.  2. To make a nice hole in the centre of one parchment circle for your tube pan, fold the circle into four. Unfold and place a circular canning rim in the centre of the circle and trace with pencil. Refold and cut along the circumference of your inner circle. ]
  • Beat the butter in a mixer until fluffy.
  • Add the sugars and beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • Add the eggs and then the yolks one at a time, every 30 seconds or so, and scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 c of the chocolate milk until just combined.
  • Repeat the step above 2 more times.
  • "Fold in" the melted chocolate by blending on a slow speed until just combined.
  • Using a half-cup measure, divide the batter fairly evenly between the 3 cake pans. If you are using a tube pan, you will probably want to add just a bit more of the batter [about .5 c + scraped bowl] to the tube pan to get maximum "empty" space. I "scraped" the bowl only into the tube pan.
  • Use a spatula to spread the batter gently and evenly throughout each pan.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the cake pulls away from the pan.
  • [Our round cakes took 25 minutes. Our tube cake took 35.]
  • Remove cakes from pans, remove parchment and cool COMPLETELY!
  • Frosting Method
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter slightly.
  • Add 1 1/3 c icing sugar, 1/4 c cocoa powder, vanilla, and 1 tbs cream.
  • Add another 1 1/3 c sugar, 1/4 c cocoa powder and 1 tbs cream.
  • Add remaining sugar, cocoa, and 2 tbs cream.
  • Beat until fluffy.
  • Add an additional 1-3 tbs cream if necessary and beat again.
  • Piñata Cake Construction
  • Trim the tops of the cakes if desired. [I don't usually bother].
  • Place one of the round layers on a cake plate.
  • Frost the outer top edges of this layer, creating a ring or "O" of frosting about 1-2 inches wide around its circumference.
  • Transfer tube cake [or additional round layer] to a cutting board.
  • Cut a ring or circle out of the centre of the tube cake so that the outer circle is 1-2 inches wide.
  • Remove the central cake and store for future use.
  • [Optional: Slice the tube cake to create 2 ring-layers and ice in between the ring-layers for more height]
  • Carefully place the ring-layer atop the pre-iced bottom layer of the cake. [It may break, and you may have to do it in sectios. No worries! Just Ice any cracks!]
  • Fill the centre of the ring-layer with candies.
  • Ice the top of the ring.
  • Place the top round layer on the cake.
  • Frost and decorate the cake as desired.
  • Surprise the birthday person by having them slice open their cake!