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Piñata Cake

How I end up with any baking recipes on here, I’ll never understand. I’m so bad at it, but for some reason, I keep trying.

gorgeous pinata cake

Case in point – this hot mess of a cake.

I know, it looks good on the outside, but if you only knew what it looked like on the inside!

What the heck … I’ll show you!

hot mess

That’s right – this is the lovely cake I baked – from a Boxed Mix! Seriously, could anything be easier to bake than a cake mix? Small children succeed with box mixes all the time!

Even though I greased the pans and let the layers cool the required about of time before turning over, it looked like that! What the heck? I did my best to salvage it by leaving it on the rack, covering it with plastic, and refrigerating half the day.

Thankfully, the frosting I made turned out perfect and was the glue that magically held it all together. I found the recipe for the super cute and clever Piñata Cake HERE. As you can see, it called for a homemade cake, and I thought I was taking the safer route with the boxed variety. Oh well, at least it looked good. Not only is this the perfect cake for Cinco de Mayo, but it would be adorable for a birthday party any time of the year.

extra coconut

I did change the original recipe a little. I found the amount of coconut the recipe called for was way too much, so I’ve reduced that. Look at how much extra coconut I have! I feel that I have no choice but to bake some sugar cookies to use them up. #nothappy#hatetobake

I did follow the frosting recipe to the letter, thank goodness!

break the pinata cake

I brought the cake to my dear friend and neighbor, Lisa’s, annual Cinco de Mayo party last night. I cut the first piece out and hoped for the best. I was certain the whole thing would collapse, but it somehow held up. Although, I did not wait around to see what happened when the subsequent pieces were removed. :-/

Oh well, a piñta is supposed to fall apart, right?

pinata cake

Piñata Cake

Two 8-inch cake layers

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
6 large egg whites
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, at room temperature

Filling and Decoration
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Blue, orange, yellow, purple, and pink food coloring
2 cups small unwrapped candies; such as Mike & Ike, M&M’s, Good & Plenty

Frosting: Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a heatproof standing mixer bowl above the water.

Add the sugar, lemon juice, salt, and egg whites to the mixer bowl and whisk together by hand.

over heat

Set the bowl above the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar completely dissolves.


Transfer to the standing mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat at medium-high speed until cool and the whites hold stiff peaks, about 10 minutes.

Toss in a couple of chunks of butter at a time, making sure the pieces are incorporated before adding more. After all the butter is added, continue beating at medium-high speed. The mixture will deflate and appear curdled. Continue beating until the frosting comes back together to a smooth and spreadable consistency. If the frosting is very soft or begins to break, refrigerate until set but still spreadable, then beat again before using.

Filling and Decoration: Dye the coconut: In four plastic containers with lids; Put 1 cup of the coconut in one container with 8 drops of blue food coloring, seal and shake until the coconut is evenly dyed. Put 3/4 cup of coconut in each of the remaining four containers and use the same procedure to dye the remaining coconut, orange, yellow, purple, and pink.

cut out

Assembly: Put one of the cake layers on a cake stand and cut a 4-inch circle out of the center, reserve the small cut-out cake round and frost the top.

fill with candy

Cut another circle out of the other cake layer, place it on top and push down slightly. Fill the center hole with candy.

Cut the reserved cake round in half horizontally to make 2 thinner rounds.


Use one to fill the hole on top of the cake. (Seriously – how is this cake ever going to stay together!?!)


Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

parchment collar

Cut a strip of parchment about 30 inches long and 3 inches wide. Wrap this parchment around the cake like a collar, leaving 1 inch of frosting exposed around the bottom perimeter of the cake.

blue coconut

Pack some of the blue coconut onto the exposed frosting to make your first strip of color. Use a pastry brush to wipe away the excess coconut that accumulates on the platter. Do this as you add each color to keep the colors from getting mixed together, as you’ll be using the blue and orange twice for the cake.


Lift the collar up another 1 inch and do the same with the orange coconut. Remove the collar and fill the remaining inch of frosting on the side of the cake with the yellow coconut. For the top, make 1-inch-wide rings, starting on the outside and working your way in, with the purple, pink, blue, and orange coconut until the top is completely covered. Refrigerate until nearly serving time. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing or “breaking open the piñata.”

Serves 10 to 12

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1 Marissa { 05.06.16 at 11:16 AM }

It still looks awesome!!

2 Linda Hopkins { 05.06.16 at 11:38 AM }

Missy, how about Bombay photobombing. Thought you’d love that!

3 Anne { 05.06.16 at 2:10 PM }

Hi friend!! That hot mess looks amazing!! Somehow, you pulled it off! I’m back in town from Stafford’s graduation, so let’s get together soon! xo

4 Tram { 05.06.16 at 3:40 PM }

It still looks AHHHHHMAZING!!!!

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