Birthday Surprise: Chocolate Milk Piñata Cake

Chocolate Milk Pinata Cake
I made this cake for Toby’s 8th Birthday today!  He requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and Rolos on top. Little does he know that when he slices into it tonight, a whole treasure trove of Rolos, M&Ms and Aero bubbles will roll out and spill off of the cake stand!
Surprise, Mr. T! It’s a Piñata Cake!!!

Chocolate Milk Pinata Cake
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

Cake Ingredients
3 c all-purpose flour, we use unbleached
.75 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
.75 tsp baking powder
.75 tsp baking soda
.75 tsp salt
3 sticks or 2/3 block of butter, room temperature
1.5 c sugar
.75 c brown sugar
3 eggs
3 additional egg yolks
1 tbs vanilla
1.5 c chocolate milk
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 9-in round cake pans and 1 9-inch round tube pan [or 3 9-inch round cake pans – you’ll have a thinner centre for the “piñata” this way”]

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. ]
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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 .5 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!

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Summer of Funner’s Easy Chocolate Frosting

Frosting Ingredients
4 cups icing sugar
.75 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
.5 c butter, softened
4 tbs whipping cream, +1-3 tbs if required.
2 tsp vanilla
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Frosting Method
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter slightly.
Add 1.3 c icing sugar, .25 c cocoa powder, vanilla, and 1 tbs cream.
Add another 1.3 c sugar, .25 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.

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Piñata Cake Filling: a few cups of whatever small candies you’d like!

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.
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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!]
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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!

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