My cousin contacted me to make her son’s 4th birthday. She really wanted a rainbow inside cake with the look of a melted ice cream on top of dripping down the cake. You get the idea. Those little round things on top of the cake around the “ice cream” are little cut-up marshmallows. This is also a piñata cake which means once you cut it, candy will gush out of the cake.
I had already figured out how to make this cake. If you watched as many videos as I had on caking, you would know how to do it as well. However there is one thing that differed with many of these blogs and videos. Whether the bottom cake layer has a hole in it or not. After giving it a great deal of thought, I decided that only the middle 2 layers would be filled with candy as I would like the candy to come falling out. If it was already sitting on the cake board because the bottom layer had a hole in it as well, the gushing out effect wouldn’t be quite so prominent.
The end result would be something like this. If you notice the drips in this picture is not quite as dark as the picture above. That’s because the above picture was obviously filtered (not by me). I have no idea what everyone’s obsession is with filtering pictures. Anyway this cake was rather small in diameter (6 inches) and about 4 inches tall, considering each layer is an inch tall, not including the ice cream on top.
- Take 2 batches of my butter cake recipe and split them between four 6 inch pans lined with greased parchment paper. You can just colour the batters separately in each pan right before baking but make sure to colour evenly all the way through. You don’t want to get any marbling effect in your cake.
- Once the cakes are baked, cooled, and levelled, and you’ve decided on which order to put the colours, use a 4 inch circle cutter to cut a hole in the middle of the 2 layers. Don’t throw away the domes of the cakes you just levelled! It’s going to come in handy to make you pseudo ice cream later.
- Smear some buttercream on your 8 inch cake board. Place the bottom cake layer first in the middle of the cake board, followed by the subsequent holed cake layers secured by buttercream in between each layer.
- Right before covering with the last cake layer, be sure to fill up that piñata with any candy you want. Try to go for something that would easily come gushing out, so nothing to big that would block each other. I went for M&Ms and jelly beans.
- Once the hole is filled up, top off the cake with some more buttercream followed by the final cake layer.
- Crumb coat and chill for about an hour in the refrigerator or about 10-15 minutes in the freezer. Then coat with another layer of buttercream and continue to chill in the refrigerator.
- Now for the ganache drip, use a white chocolate ganache and colour it with some gel food colouring of your choice. After it has cooled slightly, fill it into a drip bottle and drip it along the edge of the cake. Since this is going to be a melted ice cream drip cake, you will need to cover the whole top of the cake with the ganache as well. *Remember to test 1 drip first to see how far it will go down the cake so you can adjust the consistency if you want before proceeding.
- As for the “ice cream”, crush up the domes of the cakes you levelled off earlier, mix in some buttercream so they stick together and ball it up into the size of the ice cream you’re looking for. Place the ball of cake crumbs on the spot you’ve mapped out on your cake. Then cover the ball with the same coloured ganache as the drip on the cake.*Why you need to map it out is because you will need to make sure the lollipop stick or skewer you sue to secure the ball and cone on the cake doesn’t come poking out the side of the cake. But not smack in the middle either because you need to leave space for the cake cutting.
- Now this step is important. If you are using a waffle ice cream cone, wait till the absolute last minute to attach the cone. When it’s about an hour before the cake cutting, fill the cone with some cake crumbs as well and stick a lollipop stick or skewer through. Then poke this through the ice cream ball on the cake and into the cake. You will meet some resistance at first because of the candy in the cake, but just try to maneuver through the candy.
Lucky for me, I was a guest at this party the cake was meant for. So I could bring it over and just attach the cone there. When I finished the cake the day before, I actually assembled the whole ice cream, cone and all. The next day when I took it out of the refrigerator, the cone was literally coming apart at the seams. This is because the cone is the type that was rolled to make a cone. Thankfully I had a box of 10 cones handy so I just needed to replace the existing cone. The problem though was that not all the cones in the box were properly in tact. Some of them were even cracked.
After picking a few more cones that were in presentable condition, I decided to just keep them in a container to assemble at the party house later on. This time I stuffed the cake crumbs into the cone along with the skewer and stored it in its container. This also didn’t work out very well because ass it turns out, the cake was the one causing the cone to come apart. I think it was something to do with the moisture from the cake seeping into the cone. So just store the cone in a container, along with some cake crumbs to stuff the cone later (preferably not touching the cone) and the skewer. Marshmallows should also be kept to toss on the cake later.
So essentially, what you’ll be transporting to the venue is the dripped cake with a tumour-like ball on top with the container carrying the cone and other stuff to assemble later. Anyway, if you wish to bake the cakes in different sized pans, all you need to do is adjust the baking times as well as the amount of batter needed.
Another thing to keep in mind is the colouring of your ganache. My problem was that my cousin requested for “Tiffany Green”. When I googled this colour, I got a sort of minty green. It’s not quite “Tiffany Blue”. When I also googled how to get this colour, I found a link instructing to mix royal blue and leaf green. I couldn’t quite visualize this but I decided to give it a try anyway. When you’re testing your colouring, always do it with a small batch separated from your main batch. I decided to colour all my ganache when I didn’t have any more white chocolate chips. Big mistake! I ended up with literally Emerald Green and couldn’t do anything to fix the colour. I even ended up using this to top off my cake. I did have a lot of the cake domes leftover though, so I had enough to get another ball of ice cream.
After trying to console myself for a hours to no avail, I decided to just scrape everything off and start over. Early the next morning, I went out and got some more white chocolate chips as well as some turquoise gel food colouring. The turquoise actually worked really well against the off-white, almost-yellow colour of the ganache, so I managed to get a nice minty blue-green colour as you can see in the picture.
There is one more thing to keep in mind when making a piñata cake. Remember that when you don’t cut deep enough into the cake, or the slice does not reach the exact middle of the cake, the candy wouldn’t gush out like you want it to because the opening wouldn’t be wide enough and the candy would still be stuck in the cake. The slice should also not be too narrow. So what you could do is lightly trace where the customer should cut out the slice so the gushing effect would be satisfactory.
All in all, I would say this was quite a forgiving cake in that I managed to re-do the drips as well as the whole ice cream without having to re-do the entire cake.