Piñata drip birthday cake

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So this week my babies turned 4. How time flies when you’re running around after 2 Disney princess-obsessed little ladies. For months the request had been for a yellow, sprinkle cake (very similar to last year’s cake) but then suddenly last week, with 3 days to go this changed to a blue Cinderella cake. After a mad panic, and scouring eBay I found a Cinderella cake topper that would work with what I already had planned (and luckily the blue-ness was quickly forgotten). I decided I wanted to make a few changes to last year’s cake so I thought it might be fun to make it a piñata cake with some sweets in the middle and to also add a drip topping as this is something I had tried a few months ago and felt confident to try again. Luckily the finished article was deemed a success by my harshest critics and the inclusion of Cinderella brought squeals of delight.

I had originally wanted to include some ombre icing so researched recipes that brought me to this one which I used for the majority of the cake. Unfortunately in the rush of trying to finish it I ran out of time, rushed the icing and managed to colour it in exactly the same shade of yellow however there’s always next year! Although I had made a drip cake before I used this tutorial which includes a YouTube video which I found really useful. Even though it’s recommended not to use gel colours, this was all I had and it turned out absolutely fine. I crumb coated my cake in a slight deviation from the original recipe. You’ll need 3 x 20cm round cake tins. Any other tools you have such as a turntable or icing smoother will be very useful but actually I survived with a spatula and icing bags!

Ingredients:
For the cake
350g unsalted butter (softened)
350g caster sugar
6 large eggs
350g self raising flour (sifted)
1 large bag of sweets of your choice (e.g. Smarties, jelly sweets etc.)
Sprinkles of your choice

For the icing
450g unsalted butter (softened)
900g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk
Colouring of your choice

For the chocolate ganache drip
100ml double cream
150g white chocolate (chopped)
Colouring of your choice

Method:
1) Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of 3 x 20cm sandwich tins.
2) Cream 350g butter and sugar together until light and creamy.

3) Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and adding a spoonful of flour with the last two. Fold in the rest of the flour.

4) Divide evenly between the tins and bake for 25 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed with your finger. Cool on a wire rack.

5) When the cakes are cooled mix the butter with the icing sugar, vanilla and 4 tablespoons milk beating with an electric mixer until light and creamy (I added the icing sugar in batches to help prevent covering the kitchen in icing sugar!)
6) Carefully cut the cold cakes through the middle, horizontally, to make 6 layers. Put one layer on a board or plate, spread with butter cream and top with another layer. Spread round the edge with butter cream.

7) Cut a 10cm round out of three of the remaining layers – you can freeze these to eat another time. Put a cake ‘with a hole’ on top of the filled cake. Spread with more butter cream and put another cake ‘with a hole’ on top. Repeat.

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8) Fill the hole with sweets. Spread buttercream on the top ring and place a whole layer of cake on top.

9) If desired, crumb coat your cake with a layer of buttercream and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden.

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10) Colour your buttercream using your choice of colour. If attempting to ombre ice your cake divide the rest of the icing into equal 5 portions, then put two portions together. Colour the larger portion to be the palest colour. Colour the other portions in various shades of your chosen colour by gradually adding more colouring.
11) If ombre icing, cut the end off 4 plastic piping bags to make a 2cm hole. Fill with your icings. Pipe a layer of the darkest one all round the base of the cake and then spread it with a palette knife to make a smooth layer. At this point if you’re adding any sprinkles use a spoon to gently press/scoop the sprinkles around the base of the cake. Alternatively cover the cake in one colour/shade of icing and use a palette knife or icing smoother to smooth the icing over the cake.
12) Repeat with the other icings, finishing with the palest as the top layer and then spread it over the top of the cake.
13) If you’re leaving your cake plain and not adding a drip topping you may choose to put some boiling water in a cup and dip in a teaspoon and then run it round the top of the cake to make a grooved effect. Place the cake in the fridge while you make the chocolate ganache (if using).
14) To make the ganache bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Place the chopped white chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over. Stir until you have a smooth, runny ganache (I did have to give mine a quick 10 second blast in the microwave). Add any colouring you’re choosing to add.

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15) Put the ganache into a piping bag, using a tall glass or mug to help hold the bag upright. Remove the chilled cake from the fridge and pipe the ganache around the top edge of the cake, letting it drip to different lengths down the sides. Add some sprinkles to the drips if desired. Pipe the remaining ganache over the centre of the cake, spreading with a palette knife, or spoon. Decorate the top of the cake with your chosen decorations and chill the cake in the fridge for 45 minutes, or until ready to serve.

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