Tag: food colouring

Piñata cake


For the cake:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder

For the buttercream:

  • 450g icing sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Food colouring; purple, pink, green and blue

To decorate and fill:

  • Hundreds and thousands
  • M&Ms
  • Skittles
  • Haribo sweets
  • Dolly mix

What’s a piñata cake?

Cut into a normal looking sponge cake to reveal a naughty surprise – it’s packed full of sweets!

But how is it done? It’s actually quite easy to hide a hidden centre in your bakes – and we’re here to show you how.

With our simple step-by-step recipe, our piñata cake is much easier to make than you may think. All you have to do is hollow out the inside of the sponge after baking and pack it with a variety of sweets.

You can choose jellied sweets like Haribo or chocolate sweets like M&Ms, just remember to make sure your cake is completely cooled before you add the sweets otherwise they’ll melt inside.

Decorate with different coloured buttercream to make it extra special. We used purple, blue, pink and green, but you could use whichever colours you prefer – you could even go one step further a choose all the colours of the rainbow!

This cake should serve up to 6 people and will last 3 days in an airtight container. This recipe would work just as well with a chocolate cake mixture and you can also fill it with fresh fruits or chocolates – the possibilities are endless!

The cake is named after a classic pinata which kids beat to make the sweets fall out, but we wouldn’t advise taking a bat to this treat: it’s far too tasty to waste. Simply slice into the pinata cake to reveal the surprise. Little eyes will light up seeing the sweets tumble out the middle of this extra special bake.

This cake takes 25 mins to bake and 1hr to fill and decorate.


Step 1

Preheat oven 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line 2x 21cm/9inch cake tins with greaseproof paper.


Step 2

Make your sponges using the all-in-one method, pour all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk until combined. Once combined, pour into the cake tins making sure you they’re as even as possible.


Step 3

Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until springy to the touch. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and decide which is going to be the base and which is going to be the topper. Turn the base upside down and leave to cool.


Step 4

Meanwhile prepare the buttercream. Whisk the butter and vanilla extract and gradually add in the icing sugar until combined. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water, if it’s too thin, add some more icing sugar until it reaches a creamy texture. You don’t want the mixture to be too wet as you’ll be adding food colouring to it later on. Leave to one side.


Step 5

Turn the top cake upside down and mark out a circle on the sponge using a sharp knife. Make sure you don’t cut all the way through the sponge, you want to go half way down and scoop out the insides. Do the same to the base cake.


Step 6

Once you’re happy with both sponges, cover the outside edges of each layer with a light buttercream. You can do this neatly using a small spoon or spatula.


Step 7

Pop the base cake onto your chosen serving plate or board and pack it with different sweets and chocolates. Make a little mound of sweets and when you’re happy with the amount put the topper cake on top like a lid. Press the edges down firmly so they sandwich together.


Step 8

Coat the cake in a light buttercream layer – this is a crumb coat which will stop any crumbs from sticking onto your final decorations. Leave to one side to set.


Step 9

Split the rest of the buttercream mixture evenly into 4 separate bowls. Add a few drops of food colouring to each e.g. purple, blue, green and pink and mix with a spoon until you’re happy with the colour.


Step 10

Spoon the mixtures into individual piping bags and pop them into the fridge to firm for about 5-10 mins, so the colours don’t run or blend when you pipe them onto the cake.


Step 11

Take the piping bags out of the fridge and pipe onto the cake. Start from the outside and work in drawing different coloured wavy lines with the nozzle.


Step 12

Once you’re happy with the top, work on the sides. Start from the bottom and pipe up the cake edges pulling away as you reach the top of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with hundreds and thousands to finish.


Step 13

Serve on a cake stand and cut into the middle of the cake using a sharp knife, revealing the sweetie surprise!


  • 2x21cm/9inch cake tins (3cm height)
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Piping bag
  • Electric hand whisk

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For the cakes

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 130g self-raising flour
  • 20g cornflour
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 30ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the icing

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • Few drops of green food colouring
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp milk

For the toppers

  • 250g white ready-to-roll fondant
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Gumtragacanth or Tylo (optional)

You will also need:

  • 48mm circle cutter
  • Wilton Grass Nozzle, optional
  • Piping bag

That’s goodtoknow

Adding Gumtragacanth or Tylo thickens the fondant and helps set the shape. You will need to add Gumtragacanth the night before using, but Tylo works straight away.


For the cakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3. Place 12 cases in your muffin tin.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter with the vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
  3. Add 1 egg, 1 third of the flour and a splash of milk and beat until just combined. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove and cool in the tins for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack

For the buttercream

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth and shiny.
  2. Once the cakes are cool, spread or pipe using the grass nozzle tip onto the tops of the cupcakes.
  3. To pipe the grass, hold the nozzle to the cupcake and pipe 2cm as you are lifting away from the cake, pull up quickly to stop piping, repeat until the whole cake is covered.

For the toppers

  1. Colour 220g of your ready to roll fondant yellow. Roll to 3mm thick and use the 48mm circle cutter to cut 12 circles. Leave to dry on greaseproof paper (Victoria used the ‘Purple Cupcakes Dome Kit’ to give the tennis balls a round shape.)
  2. Using the white fondant, roll long thin sausages. Brush with a touch of water and lay onto the yellow circles in tennis ball shapes. Cut the excess off with a sharp knife.
  3. Place the toppers on top of the grass buttercream on the cupcakes.

By Victoria Threader

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24 new Halloween recipes to try this year

Halloween has got to be one of the most fun times of the year. Less stressful than Christmas (and whole lot less serious), you can let your imagination run wild with Halloween food – and we did just that!


This year, we wanted to bring you lots of new spooky ideas for your Halloween party and, being goodtoknow, they all had to be quick, cheap and easy! 


A long day in the kitchen with lots of food colouring and as many Halloween decorations as we could get our hands on, our Halloween shoot should give you a few new treats to try this year. 


Witch’s hat biscuits

You will need: Biscuits (ready made or shop-bought), ice cream cones, chocolate and coloured fondant. 

How? See our easy step-by-step guide


Chocolate-covered apples

You will need: Chocolate, apples and food colouring/writing icing. 

How? Melt chocolate over boiling water or in the microwave and allow to cool slightly. Pierce an apple with a wooden skewer and dip into the chocolate. Spoon over the white chocolate, over the bowl, to ensure the apple is fully covered. Leave to dry in the fridge, on a piece of greaseproof paper. Once set, draw faces with writing icing. 

Twist: Colour white chocolate with food colouring.


Ssssssssnake rolls

You will need: Ready made shortcrust pastry, sausage meat, an egg and a pepper. 

How? Cut long strips of pastry and place a thin line of sausage meat down the middle. Glaze one edge of the pastry with beaten egg and roll the other one over the meat, pressing the edges of the pastry together. Curve into a snake-like shape and glaze with the remaining beaten egg. Bake in the oven (200C/400F/Fan 180C/Gas Mark 6) for 15-20 mins until golden brown. Make eyes and a tongue from chunks of the pepper.

Twist: Add tomato puree to the pastry before adding the sausage meat so the snakes ooze ‘blood’

Vampire’s bite

You will need: Packet of jelly, oranges, mini marshmallows and red food colouring. 

How? See our easy step-by-step guide

Twist: Use green jelly to make ‘monster teeth’



You will need: Chocolate mini rolls, black and white fondant, icing sugar

How? Draw a bat wing stencil on a piece of paper, place it over black fondant and cut out several black wings. Make a ‘glue’ from a little icing sugar and water and stick the wings around the mini rolls. Make eyes by placing small black balls of fondant onto larger white balls, ‘glue’ these onto the rolls. 

Twist: Give your bats different outfits (like our smart bow-tied chap above!)


Puking pumpkin

You will need: A pumpkin, a sharp knife and some dips

How? Cut a large mouth towards the bottom of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Carve eyes and a nose with a sharp knife. Place the pumpkin on the egde of a plate, spoon the dip into the mouth and spread onto the plate.

Twist: This can be used as a decoration if you replace the dip with the scooped out pumpkin seeds. 

Terrifying trifles

How? See our easy terrifying trifles recipe 


Zombie-bread men

You will need: Gingerbread men, writing icing, fondant 

How? Easy! Make a batch of gingerbread men and rough them up a bit! Decorate with red, white and black icing and make eyes out of white and black fondant. 

Twist: Make animals shaped biscuits to create zombie animals.


Crunchy pumpkin

You will need: Mini carrots, courgette or cucumber and a selection of dips.

How? Arrange the carrots in a pumpkin shape, cut the courgette for the mouth and add bowls of dips for the eyes. 

Twist: Use salsa for the eyes and mouth for a ‘bloody’ twist. 


Ruby red apples

You will need: Toffee apple ingredients and red food colouring

How? Make toffee apples as usual, adding red food colouring in at the last stage of making the toffee. 

Twist: Make spiders’ webs with the remaining toffee to decorate the plate. 


Slippery jelly worms

You will need: A thick straw and a packet of jelly

How? See our easy step-by-step guide.

Twist: Use different coloured jellies and serve the worms in one big slimy bowl.


Jeepers peepers

You will need: Eggs, food colouring and black olives 

How? Hard boil the eggs and leave to cool. Peel off the shell and slice in half. Scoop out the yolk and mash with food colouring. Spoon the mixture back into the egg white and top with ‘eyes’ made from a slice of egg white and black olive ends. 

Twist: Add bloodshot streaks with a little red food colouring. 



You will need: Large and mini marshmallows, wooden skewers, food writing icing and fondant 

How? Thread three large marshmallows onto a skewer, add a couple of mini marshmallows at the top for the neck, then add the ‘head’. Stick two smaller skewers out of the top ‘body’ marshmallow and thread mini marshmallows on for the ‘arms’ and large marshmallows for the ‘hands’ – repeat for the legs. Add fondant eyes and decorate with writing icing. 

Twist: Give him an evil expression to turn him into a scary zombie.


S-lime-y tarts

You will need: Ready made shortcrust pastry, lime curd, green food colouring 

How? Grease a muffin tin and add circles of pastry. Colour the lime curd with green food colouring and spoon into the pastry. Bake in the oven (200°C/400°F/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6) for 15-20 mins until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool before decorating with sweets and fondant eyes. 

Twist: Use classic jam tarts and label them ‘blood baths’


Creepy cheesey faces

You will need: English muffins, tomato puree and cheese slices 

How? Cut the muffins in half and spread with a thin layer of tomato puree. Take the cheese slices and carve out scary faces. Place onto the muffin and grill. 

Twist: Top a pizza with mini carved cheese faces.

Iced ghouls

You will need: Biscuits (homemade or shop-bought), buttercream icing, fondant, piping bag

How? Fill a piping bag with buttercream and pipe mini ghosts onto a biscuit and decorate with fondant eyes. 

Twist: Place a dollop of jam on the biscuit before piping to make the ghosts ‘bloody’


Hollow heads

You will need: Coconuts, red food colouring, black marker pen

How? Cut a lid into the coconut and decorate with the food colouring and marker pen. Drink the coconut milk or serve your spooky cocktails in them.

Twist: Paint vampire faces onto the coconuts and wrap in a black cloak.  


Sausage mummies

You will need: Ready made shortcrust pastry, sausages, an egg, black food colouring

How? See our easy step-by-step recipe

Twist: Make mini baby ‘mummies’ to create a whole family



You will need: Oranges, a packet of jelly

How? Slice the top off an orange and scoop out the orange inside, making sure not to make any incisions in the skin. Place the orange onto a plate, make up a batch of jelly and pour into the orange and leave to set in the fridge. Once set, gently carve the eyes into the skin. 

Twist: Make an array of scary faces and arrange them in a Halloween scene on your table.

Fruity faces

You will need: White chocolate, strawberries, bananas and black writing icing

How? Melt the white chocolate, allow to cool slightly, then dip whole strawberries and sliced bananas into it. Allow to set in the fridge on a piece of greaseproof paper. Once set, draw spooky faces onto the fruit with the writing icing. 

Twist: A little red food colouring will make these faces even more scary!


Stuffed heads

You will need: Peppers, rice/couscous (a filling of you choice)

How? Make up a batch of filling and slice the top off the peppers, scooping out the seeds. Spoon the filling into the peppers and bake in the oven until slightly roasted. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then gently carve faces into one side of the peppers. 

Twist: Colour the filling with red food colouring for a gory twist. 


Rocky claw

You will need: Dark chocolate, marshmallows, biscuits – any sweet treats really! 

How? Shape tin foil around a large hand, gathering between the fingers to make a mould. Make up some rocky road and pour into the hand mould, press in marshmallows for the ‘claws’ and allow to set in the fridge.

Twist: Dip the marshmallows in red food colouring before adding to the rocky road.

A ‘pear’ of ghosts

You will need: Pears, white and black fondant

How? Slice the tip of the pear to a flat surface. Drape over the white fondant and stick on black eyes with a dab of water.

Twist: Pierce the pears with a skewer and place them in a large, tall glass for table decoration.


Flying bat rolls

You will need: Ready made shortcrust pastry, cocktail sausages (uncooked), an egg, black olives

How? Cut a square of pastry around a cocktail sausage and wrap around, pressing the edges firmly together. Draw a wings template on a piece of paper, carve wings out of the pastry and press into the pastry on the sausage roll. Glaze with a little beaten egg and bake in the oven (200°C/400°F/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6) for 15-20 mins until golden brown. Place black olives onto the bats for spooky eyes.

Twist: Make your own pastry and add a little food colouring to make completely black bats.


Planning a party? Download our Halloween party planner app

See more Halloween recipes

Our best Halloween cupcakes 


Decorations from

The Co-op
Dr Oetker 
Mustard Gifts 


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