When I asked Miss Soon-to-be-2 what she wanted for her birthday, she asked for a cake.  More than once.  So, I set out to make her a cake that would be fun.  Mum had seen a pinata cake made on TV, which sounded perfect for my smash-happy toddler.  I sat down to research it and found that many people had issues with the cake not working.  After trawling the internet for solutions, I finally had a plan of how to make my cake.  And surprisingly, it actually worked, so here I am to share the process with you!

With a few photos added as well, of course!

First I started with a basic cake, made pretty low and wide.  I allowed it to cool, then iced with white chocolate.  I built a wall around the edge with chocolate pieces broken from a Smartie-filled block, then drizzled white chocolate over that, then topped with peanut m&ms.  The idea was to create a wall to hold the lollies in.

After waiting for the chocolate to set, I placed a pile of lollies on top of the cake.

Next, I had to make the dome to go over the top.  I took a large metal bowl that sat nicely over the cake and greased it lightly with olive oil.  Make sure there are no thick patches of oil, as this will come off onto the chocolate.  I put the oiled bowl into the freezer for about an hour.

I used two packets of white chocolate melts, and melted them down over a saucepan of steaming water.  Once fully melted, I took the bowl out of the freezer and poured the melted chocolate inside.  I then swished the chocolate around until the interior of the bowl was covered, and popped it back in the freezer.  For an hour.

The next part was the scary bit – would the chocolate come out of the bowl?  I had read mixed reports, so was worried, and had my husband preparing some warm teatowls to aid the process.  However, when I flipped the bowl and sat it over the cake, the chocolate just slid out of its own accord. Yay!

All that remained was to decorate.  To hide the messy edge at the bottom, I stuck unmelted chocolate melts on with melted chocolate.  Then my big idea was to dye the white chocolate with food colour and paint on the cake with it.  But adding the food dye made the melted chocolate all gluggy, even while sitting over steam.  I used it anyway …

The not-so-perfect writing was painted on with dark chocolate and the little faires added to the top for fun.

Then we used a cupcake to hold the candles.

And finally the big finale – smashing the cake wide open.  The birthday girl was surprisingly reluctant to to smash the cake at all and needed big sister and dad to help.  Once they saw the result though, its been the talk of our house ever since!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the story and good luck if you decide to make your own – the kids will love it!

Side note:  The chocolate as icing on the inner cake was not a great idea, as it was impossible to cut!  I made a second cake for her the next day (had people over to celebrate) and used pre-made white icing instead (dyed pink) and that was much better while still being dry enough to sit the lollies on.


  • Incredibly gorgeous!!!!!
    What a fantastic idea! Its such an amazing cake that i’m sure anyone, young or old, would love to receive. It has been made so beautifully! I love how the tinted “gluggy” chocolate looks. The flowers actually remind me of old Venetian glasswork. Stunning! I can’t praise it enough!!!
    Thank for sharing this idea with such lovely pictures. And thank you for the inspiration!

  • I LOVE this idea. I saw two different methods to create the chocolate dome, the first was the method you used, and the other involved dipping a balloon in the chocolate. I attempted both with a small bowl and a small balloon to ensure that I could actually make the dome for my son’s birthday in a few weeks. The method you used worked wonderfully. However, the balloon method did not. I put the chocolate on while it was still too hot and just as I was ready to set the balloon down to let the chocolate set, it popped. There were bits of chocolate on every surface in my kitchen, including myself. It was such a mess. Needless to say, I will follow your method when I make the pinata cake for my son. I know he will just love it.

  • This was the most successful cake I’ve ever made. I followed all your instructions and it turned out perfectly. My son loved it and all his friends were soooo impressed. I’ve even passed all the directions on to another friend for her sons birthday! Thanks!!

  • Probably a bit late for a reply but just on case you ever want to colour chocolate again you need to use powder colour otherwise the liquid in the food dye will seize your chocolate as you found out .
    Great cake though , I am going to use for a Ninja Party , with a more Ninja theme of course Thanks for shaing.

  • Hi Cathryn – I’m doing a white choc piñata cake for my friend’s hens night (the shell will be the bridal dress). I’ve done a couple of dry runs using white chocolate and then white choc melts but neither worked – the melts didn’t melt and the white choc melted beautifully but also melted when I tried to remove it from the bowl. What melts did you use? Thanks, Amanda

  • Hi Amanda – I used the Nestle White Chocolate Melts that you get from the supermarket (Woolies here in WA). How are you melting it? If you’re working in a bowl over boiling water, try adding a couple of melts at a time and stirring until melted, then adding some more. I have been melting in the microwave lately because it reduces the chance of contamination by water. if you use the microwave, be sure to only do short bursts and then stop and stir to avoid hot spots. With removing it from the bowl, I have the best success with a metal bowl, make sure it is oiled and frozen before adding the chocolate. Most times it comes out without any heating. I hope that helps a little and good luck with your cake 🙂

  • Hi Amanda,
    I’m als trying tot make a small dome wit drak chocolat. I followed your instructions, but he oil warm after adding te chocolat and when i freeze it won’t come out. How do you make sure that he chocolat won’t go to the middle and the oil doesn’t warm?

  • Hi Linda, when you add the chocolate to the bowl, make sure you pour it slowly and swirl it around, not just dump it in the middle. This should mean you get the outside edges to set on contact as it touches the frozen bowl. If it doesn’t stick at once, you need to keep swirling it around the bowl until it does, before you put it in the freezer. Also, you might need less chocolate if the bowl is small. I have found that in warmer weather I have had to swirl it for longer or even just stand in a colder part of the house to get it to stick before putting back in the freezer.

  • Hi Amanda,

    Just wondering if there was a reason you used chocolate melts instead of a chocolate block?


  • Hi Laura,
    I used chocolate melts because they seem a bit more plastic than regular chocolate, and the dome is a large area to hold together. I’ve made a number of these cakes since I posted the original (Miss Soon-to-be-two is now 6), and I did try using yummier chocolate once but it cracked. This may have been from other factors (thickness, humidity, etc) but just to be safe I tend to use the melts and resign the dome to being a decoration more than a food.
    Cathryn 🙂

  • Hi I’m wondering if u made this cake on the day or in advance if in advance how did u store it thanks :);

  • Hi Cathryn, I am going to attempt this, but wondered what the best size cake tin to use is as I imagine if going too big the dome is more likely to crack. What size is the one in here? Also I need to transport it and could possibly be a warm day – do you have any tips? If I make the dome in advance, say 3 days should I keep it in the fridge?
    Thank you so much, yours looks amazing!

  • Hi Jo, this one was made in a 10″ tin and I just sized the dome by slipping the bowl over the tin to make sure it would fit. You should be fine to keep the dome in the fridge for a few days and it might help with keeping it cold enough while transporting too. I’m in Western Australia and make most of my cakes in mid to late spring (due to birthdays) when it is pretty warm but not hot. I haven’t had a chocolate dome melt yet, and have had a couple at outdoor parties where they had to sit for a while and were still hard enough to smash. Good luck!

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